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San Diego Nighttime Zoo Celebrates China!


On June 23, the 19th year of the San Diego Nighttime Zoo will kick off its extended summer hours with its China Celebration. As a tribute to the Year of the Dragon (this particular year is the Water Dragon), the San Diego Zoo will have Chinese themed events throughout the summer.

So from Jun 23 through Labor Day (Sept. 3), you can enjoy the wonders of the San Diego Zoo from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and experience the magic of the Year of the Dragon. Festivities will include a 20-foot dragon-like serpent puppet, Chinese acrobats, trampoline acts, robotic actors, story-telling stiltwalkers and much more:

  • Chinese Dragon: The 20-foot serpent, controlled by puppeteers, will be continually winding its way around Panda Canyon, so be sure to head over to the famous Panda exhibit and lookout for this captivating sight.
  • Hebei Chinese Acrobats: These dazzling Chinese acrobats will be performing The Legend of Dragon Mountain at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. daily in the Hunte Amphitheater. The show effectively combines stunning acrobatic maneuvers, traditional dances and martial arts to create one memorable show.
  • Live Music: The Surfin Safari Bush Band will be performing throughout the summer days in the Front Street Plaza with upbeat, summertime tunes to sing and dance to. The musical group, Dancin Through The Decades will be performing in the Plaza as well as encouraging spectators to sing and dance along to the music.
  • Steam-Powered Giraffe: This robot giraffe retuns from last year with new sketches, jokes and music. Check out this daffy giraffe as he cracks jokes, makes pop culture references and improvises hilarious dialogue. Find him in the Front Street Plaza at 4:40, 5:40, 6:40, 7:40 and 8:15 p.m. every day this summer!
  • Jasmine and Jade Jumpers: Stationed near the Urban Jungle (behind Sydneys Grill) is this insane trampoline act. At 3:15, 4:15, 5:15, 6:15 and 7:15 p.m. daily, you can flip over yourself as you enjoy one of time's oldest fairy tales, The Princess and the Frog, told by the trampoline acrobats.
  • Monkey King: The Monkey King and his friends will be wandering throughout the zoo's Asian Passage telling the brave tale of the Monkey King through animated pantomime acts and marvelous costumes.
  • Camp Critters: The Camp Critters show at the Wegeforth Bowl is the perfect place to take the kids at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily. Watch as animals take charge to train new camp counselors in this hilariously fun show!
  • Front Street Finale: Between 8 and 8:30 p.m., you can enjoy encore performances and snap some photos with your favorite entertainers.

Another bonus during the San Diego Nighttime Zoo is an added 20% discount on any food entrees purchased along with a beverage between 4 and 9 p.m. (excludes alcohol and food carts). This discount is available at Alberts restaurants and works for kids meals too!

The San Diego Zoo at Night is a can't miss experience. Many animals at the zoo are more active in the evenings and at night, so you will have the exclusive opportunity to see many of these animals doing a little more than just snoozing.

A few of my own tips for going to the zoo:

  • Bring water and snacks...You may not always be near a food cart or restaurant, and snacking while you walk is not only great in the zoo but can help you save a buck.  If you do opt for some San Diego Zoo food, Alberts is a great restaurant to have a nice lunch or dinner.
  • Wear comfortable shoes...You will regret not having comfortable shoes when you get back to your hotel and find enormous blisters covering your feet.
  • Beer at the Treehouse Cafe...If you plan on having a beer or two, the Treehouse Cafe is the best deal in the zoo offering 32 oz draft craft beers for $9. They are in a plastic cup, so you can cruise around the zoo with them, and if you save the cup, refills are a dollar off.
  • Utilize the Skyfari...This is the best way to get from one side of the zoo to the other. It's free for Zoo members, but only a couple bucks if you aren't. When you find yourself opposite the exit at the end of the day, the Zoo Skyfari can save your life.

Before you head to the zoo, check out some other great deals to help you save during your visit to San Diego such as the Go San Diego Card, which includes admission to 50 of San Diego's top attractions including the World Famous San Diego Zoo.