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Outdoor Playgrounds

San Francisco Zoo

2945 Sloat Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94132

Sometimes, kids just want to go see animals doing what they do (maybe so that they can pick up behavior tips for later). At the San Francisco Zoo, there's sea lions and penguins for kids who love water, grizzlies and gorillas and giraffes for the ones who are impressed with size, anacondas and koalas for those who like the tropics. Though Storyland in the Children's Zoo might only appeal to the toddlers, the insect exhibit and petting zoo can keep the older ones occupied for a while. Active youngsters might be able to get out some energy on the Nature Trail or the playground (which has slides and a climbing area), and the hands-on kids might want to see the volunteers showing birds and reptiles between May and September. Little girls might really like the butterfly garden across from the meerkat and prarie dog exhibit, or the rose garden with poppies that look like fried eggs. This Zoo hasn't always gotten the spectacular ratings of some zoos (Oakland) before the recent renovation, but it does have better exhibits and location than others (Santa Barbara), and the otters and hippos can really be entertaining. Combining the San Francisco Zoo with other activities can be a great way to spend a day. After a stroll through Fisherman's Wharf (Pier 43 ½), you can take a free 30-minute shuttle to the Zoo at 10 am or noon, or grab the 1:45 shuttle after lunch at the Rainforest Cafe near the Wharf's Wax Museum. Just remember that the return shuttles arrive at the Rainforest Cafe at 1 pm and 3 pm, so if you got to the Zoo around 2 pm, make sure you know when to catch Muni bus lines 18 and 23, or the L Taraval line. Check the 511 Trip Planner if you're not sure.

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