When I was a kid, we used to fill out a football pool every week. I'd pick teams for arbitrary reasons... Tampa Bay because it was warm there, Jacksonville because I liked the colors of their uniforms and San Diego because they had a good zoo.
I had never been there, but, as far as zoos go, it's legendary. And, 20 years later, now that I finally made it there, it really is worth the hype.
I spent 5.5+ hours in the 100 acre zoo. Which was enough time for me to see most of it, thoroughly. The animal selection was vast* (and fortunately I was there long enough to see most of them active), the staff was friendly, knowledgeable and for the most part seemed to genuinely care about the animals, and the landscaping, botanical aspect of it was amazing.
I would say, aside from my internal gut that struggles with seeing animals in cages, the only negative thing I have to say about the San Diego Zoo reflects on the people visiting it. Pushy parents with strollers the size of Montana, adults who crowd the glass so other kids/visitors can't see through or move past them, and kids banging on the glass while parents take iPhone videos. At times, I felt like the animals we were all fighting to see, were actually the civilized beings.
But the zoo, the zoo is great.
*Panda's are actually way cooler than I expected.