Check-In San Diego

A lifestyle guide by the Sofia Hotel

A Summer Evening Among the Beasts: Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Koala at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo —better than a century old and reigning as one of the highest-profile and most respected zoos in the world—is always worth a visit, which is easily pulled off during a stay at Downtown San Diego’s favorite hotel, the Sofia, given we set you up nice and close to Balboa Park. And this time of year, you’ve got even more reason to mosey on over to that mindbogglingly diverse menagerie.

Summer evenings are luxuriously long, of course, and here in San Diego they’re almost intoxicatingly pleasant. To celebrate the season—and profile a brand-new exhibit, Africa Rocks—the San Diego Zoo’s running a special “Nighttime Zoo” through September 3rd: a chance to catch live entertainment and admire glorious creatures from all corners of the planet amid some after-hours festivities. Come check it out during your summer idyll here at the Sofia Hotel!

Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

Nighttime Zoo goes down each and every evening this summer, so it couldn’t be more convenient to weave its beastly charms into your San Diego vacation itinerary headquartered at the Sofia Hotel.

What exactly are those beastly charms? Well, first of all, plenty of live music to get the party going, from the Rock & Roar concerts and Summer Songs acoustic sets to the mobile Chameleon brass band. You’ll also get to goggle at some high-flying trampoline acrobatics during New Friends Rock, take in the music-, laser-, and light-show spectacle of Call of the Night, and watch a delightful parade of animal puppets, JAMBO!

Speaking of puppets, some beautiful giraffe versions join stilt-walkers between 4:30 and 7:30 PM at the Africa Rocks Garden, within easy reach of the music and dancing of the Villagers of Africa Rocks show going on during the same interval.

The younger crowd, meantime, is sure to enjoy the hijinks of Dr. Zoolittle & Friends Explore Africa, held at 5 and 6 PM each day.

Throw in lots of food and refreshments and a range of special Keeper Talks, and you’ve got some truly one-of-a-kind San Diego nightlife to enjoy at the Nighttime Zoo.

Africa Rocks

The Nighttime Zoo celebrations also serve as the perfect excuse to explore the San Diego Zoo’s new Africa Rocks exhibit, which celebrates the ecological diversity of the African continent from crashing ocean surf to teeming tropical savanna.

The Cape Fynbos display includes African penguins and leopard sharks (which also happen to be easily seen natives of the San Diego County coast). The Madagascar Forest comes hopping with a slew of different lemur species as well as those primates’ mortal enemy, the lithe and soft-footed fossa. Hamadryas baboons and gelada monkeys rub shoulders with Nubian ibex in the Ethiopian Highlands, while the shadowy West African Forest shelters the endearingly pint-sized dwarf crocodile. The African leopard rules the roost over in the Acacia Woodlands, also home to beautiful birds—black-headed weavers and bee-eaters—as well as nimble vervet monkeys. And then there’s the rock-bound gang populating the Kopje, which evokes the enigmatic bouldery outcrops of the African savanna: Here you’ll find rock hyraxes, klipspringers, dwarf mongooses, the bateleur eagle, and a little masked mammal that’s inspired an obsessive fan base the world over, the meerkat.

Swing By the Nighttime Zoo in Balboa Park on a Summer San Diego Vacation at the Sofia Hotel

From live music and puppet processionals to up-close looks at some stirring fauna, spare an evening of your summer San Diego getaway here at the Sofia Hotel for the nightly soirée over at the world-famous San Diego Zoo!