Zoos are, for the most part, sad and scary places - I was never a fan of having wild animals trapped and kidnapped from their natural environment, caged, and exploited for entertainment purposes - and some zoos are in fact soul-crushingly cruel, like the recent Copenhagen Zoo giraffe incident, and other instances we have seen in the press from foreign zoos of horrors. So, by default, I do not endorse or support such organizations, neither circuses or water parks like Seaworld. You gotta put your money where your mouth is - I have learned the hard way.
Luckily, the whole concept of a zoo has changed in recent years, and there are many facilities around the globe that provide shelter, conservational habitat and rehabilitation for many endangered species, thus doing more good than harm. San Francisco Zoo is of the latter kind, and even though I found some of the animal enclosures to be morally outdated, most animals seemed well taken care of, and provided with adequate room according to their needs. There was an energy saving educational booth, a lovely playground, a real train on tracks and a carousel for the kids.
We had a great time - it's not quite obvious from the photos as I mostly shot the animals, but I promise you we did. I only wish I had brought along my telephoto lens....
Hint: CuriOdyssey members get 50% off of the admission fee.
P.S. I kept thinking of this National Geographic article while visiting the zoo.