I love going to the zoo in the summer in SF. The weather’s perfect (70 degrees, sunny, breezy) so the animals are always out and moving around. I live about a mile from the zoo but if you are an out-of-towner, you’ll want to use the MUNI train system to get you there (L-Taraval train takes you straight to the front gate). The zoo is heavily forested (map) so you might want to bring a light jacket for walking in the shade. You may also want to go in the early morning as there are always school children running around.
The SF Zoo is a fairly large zoo with a great variety of animals and exhibits. Exhibits of note include the Lion House, the Insect Zoo, the family of meerkats and the Family Zoo. The lions make for great photos if you can catch them when they’re outside (most of the time except for mid-afternoon). The Insect Zoo was hard to photograph (small room with bad lighting) but was very cool to see. The meerkat family was very active and were easy to get shots of, especially when they would climb up on tall hills in the exhibit. The Family Zoo is great fun for pretty much everybody. Especially for photographers who don’t like it when animals run away from them.
Camera & lens used: Canon Digital EOS Rebel XT, EF-S 18-55 mm lens, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
Time of day & year: late afternoon, late September
Weather: perfection (70 degrees, sunny)