We had a wonderful time visiting Southern California and the San Diego Zoo for an Inside Look Guided Tour. We chose the “surprise” edition, where you don’t know what animals you’ll be visiting until the morning of the tour.

With the tour being two hours and with a special cart to carry you along on your way, we were able to see many different animals and exhibits. Highlights included an elephant tuberculosis test, giraffe feeding, and polar bear feeding.

All before the zoo opened – and without the crowds!

Elephant Tuberculosis Test

The elephant tuberculosis test was incredible, as our tour guide was telling us about the test, which only happens once a year. A group of zookeepers then started gathering around us in the elephant feed room, prepped medical tools and materials, and then staged an area in front of the elephants. They then called in an Indian elephant and administered a saline test in its trunk. The elephant was trained to assist in its test with a trained behavior. Zookeepers injected saline into its trunk, it then held its trunk above its head for thirty seconds, and then spit the saline into a bag for testing.

It was quite an incredible procedure to watch!

Inside Look Guided Tour Conclusion

It was also super easy to book the Inside Look Guided Tour on the San Diego Zoo website online, where I chose the first tour time at 8:30 am before the zoo opens. One item to note is that you must also purchase a general admission ticket in addition to your tour ticket.

The tour gave me a quick view of almost the entire park, and then after the tour was over, I was able to re-visit some areas.

We also very much enjoyed our tour guide, who was knowledgeable, friendly, and answered all of our questions. Someone you’d want to be friends with!

Ultimately, we spent from 8:30 am to 3 pm at the zoo, walked ten miles, and saw pretty much every one of their 3,000 animals. We also rode the Skyfari Aerial Tram – something you can’t miss!

Hopefully, the San Diego Zoo is able to bring back the giant pandas because then I’d come back quick for another Inside Look Guided Tour.