The San Diego Zoo grew out of several exotic animal exhibitions abandoned after the 1915 Panama California Exposition. A permanent tract of land in Balboa Park was set aside in August 1921, and it was decided that the zoo would be owned and run by the city rather than a private organization. The zoo began to move into the tract the following year and added animals from the Exposition. The San Diego Zoo has been the pioneer to many different zoo approaches including the first “cageless” exhibits. These exhibits used moated exhibits instead of the traditional enclosed pen that most zoos had utilized.
The San Diego Zoo offers many features to guests that are offered in little to no zoos across the world. One of the most notable is the guided tour bus that traverses 75 percent of the park. There is also an overhead gondola lift called the Skyfari, which provides guests with an overhead view of the park. The Skyfari was built in 1969 by the Von Roll Tramway company and shows multiple exhibits across the zoo
There are a few exhibits that the San Diego Zoo is famous for. The Monkey Trails and Forest Tales showcases monkeys and other animals from the rainforests of Asia and Africa. Some of the monkeys include guenons, mangabey, and mandrills. This exhibit offers a new way to view arborous animals by having guests climb up into walkways to see the animals in their natural habitats. Another great exhibit is the Panda Trek. San Diego is one of four zoos in the U.S. which have giant pandas on display and is the most successful in terms of panda reproduction. The first two giant panda cubs in U.S. history to have been born in the U.S. and survive into adulthood were in fact San Diego Zoo animals. Since then, four more cubs have been born in the San Diego Zoo and the exhibit has been expanded.