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Why go?

Really superior to most other zoos, the one in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a must-visit for any family on holiday in the city. 

Asides from over 800 rare and exotic species, including giant pandas, the site has a safari park, amusement rides, such as a carousel and steam train, and you can take a hot air balloon ride, 400ft above it all.

But visiting those should only be part of your visit to Balboa Park. Don’t miss the San Diego Air & Space Museum and 14 other museums in the park, as well as the theatre, art galleries and acres of lush gardens.

Top tip: San Diego is a breezy maritime city with a colourful city centre packed with casual family eateries; linger overnight to discover all its charms. 

The lowdown

Travel time: Flights from London to San Diego take 11 hours and 10 minutes. 

How to get there: British Airways flies from London Heathrow to San Diego; from £621 return. 

Best time to visit: March to May and September to November are the best times to visit, the weather is warm and sunnyand there aren't as many crowds as during the summer.