Africa Rocks at the San Diego Zoo

Are you ready to rock with the coolest species from Africa?!  Not lions or giraffes, we’re talking about PENGUINS! San Diego’s newest exhibit Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks features African penguins.  Keep reading for your backstage pass to the fun!



On our adventure to the new show, we started with an opening act — the Panda Trek.  Always a favorite to see the black and white bears lumbering around and snacking on some bamboo.  My kids also adored walking through the Lost Forest & aviaries.  Seeing the birds swoop by was a fun way to get up close and personal.


After seeing some of our favorites from around the zoo, it was time to surprise my kids with something a little unexpected.  When I think of African animals, I picture lions or giraffes.  But Africa Rocks presents a side of the continent’s inhabitants we don’t often discuss.  The six new habitats are rolling out, starting with the Cape Fynbos, take visitors from savanna to seashore.


The Venues




Cape Fynbos 

Penguins and leopard sharks are home within gigantic granite boulders.  You’ll also see sandy beaches with calm water, perfect for our penguin friends.



Walking through the Africa Rocks exhibit allowed us to see penguins and their co-headliners the leopard sharks from lots of different angles.  Don’t worry.  The penguins and sharks don’t mind sharing the stage.  But the penguins are just the beginning of the fun!


New Africa Rocks exhibits are opening soon! Click here for more information!

Acacia Woodland 

Looking for a cool cat?  Leopards call the Acacia Woodland home.  The area features a canopy of acacia trees, perfect for the leopard to keep his eye on the world below.   Here you’ll find vervet monkeys and a walk-through aviary.


Madagascar Forest

Geographically isolated, the Madagascar Forest features both rain forest and spiny, dry forest.  In this area, you’ll find lemurs jumping, grooming, and getting ready to rock the “sifaka dance.”



The savanna hosts boulder-strewn islands.  Here you’ll find rock stars living among the rocks, like meerkats, hyraxes, and klipspringer antelope.


West African Forest

Dwarf crocodiles keep it cool in the West African Forest with up to 80 inches of rainfall.  Like an after gig pool party, this exhibit has streams, waterfalls, and pools.


Ethiopian Highlands

Get your tickets for the Ethiopian Highlands, a rugged mountain habitat.  Here you’ll be treated to a live performance from Hamadryas baboons, geladas, and Nubian ibex.


We’re Big Fans of African Penguins

From down below we watched penguins speed through the water like little torpedos.  Then we were able to see them float atop the water & hide in the caves.  The black and white penguins share a lot of similarities to their cold-weather relatives, but they’re a unique species you just have to see yourself!



Travel Tip: Don’t miss the gorgeous waterfall at the back of the exhibit.  In addition to a fun photo op, you can walk behind the water.  On a warm Southern California day, the spray from the water is a welcome relief!


Want to check out more of the line-up of all the unexpected stars of Africa Rocks? Check out this groovy video from our friends at the San Diego Zoo.


Your ticket or season pass purchase assists the San Diego Zoo’s work towards protecting these endangered rock stars through breeding and sustainability.  Rock on with the unexpected stars of the San Diego Zoo in Africa Rocks.  It’s the hottest ticket this summer!

Post Author: Melanie

Hanging with my family, making fun stuff, & going on adventures.

11 thoughts on “Africa Rocks at the San Diego Zoo


    (July 5, 2017 - 3:50 pm)

    Looks like you all had a great time! I love going to see the animals at the zoo! great shot of the penguin by the way!!!

    Carrie Chance

    (July 5, 2017 - 5:32 pm)

    Looks like a really great time. I’ve always wanted to visit San Diego zoo and was just saying so yesterday. We live in Ohio though and rarely get a chance to travel. But I’m determined to make it happen one of these days


    (July 5, 2017 - 6:15 pm)

    We absolutely love visiting the zoo! The San Diego zoo is amazing. Hope I can take my kids there some day.

    Ali Gilbert

    (July 5, 2017 - 6:50 pm)

    I have friends who live in San Diego and they always talk about the zoo. And your pictures make it seem as amazing as they have talked about it. We love penguins and the waterfall sounds really cool too. Will have to add this to my bucket list and check it out on our next San Diego trip!!

    Alicia Taylor at

    (July 5, 2017 - 6:51 pm)

    That’s quite an experience! I love African animals, myself. They have always fascinated my imagination. If San Diego’s weather is anything like our Florida weather, I think I would probably have to make regular visits to that waterfall.


    (July 5, 2017 - 9:57 pm)

    Looks like you all had a great time! we love going to see the animals at the zoo! It is always a fun time.

    Milena Barrett

    (July 5, 2017 - 11:33 pm)

    That looks like an amazing exhibit! I love penquins too!

    Kristin Cheuvront

    (July 6, 2017 - 12:42 am)

    This looks so fun! My kids just love going to the zoo!


    (July 6, 2017 - 1:14 am)

    We spent so much time at the San Diego Zoo when our kids were little but haven’t been there in years now. This exhibit sounds amazing, and it may be time for another visit!


    (July 6, 2017 - 1:51 am)

    Looks like such a fun time! I haven’t been to the zoo in so long. I went all of the time growing up. I need to visit soon.


    (July 6, 2017 - 3:02 am)

    My kids love the penguins at our local zoo, especially when they do the feedings. I would love to visit a big zoo like that one some day!

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