The Reid Park Zoo is located at 3400 Zoo Court in Tucson, Arizona and was founded in 1965. Since then, the zoo's mission has been the same: “to encourage commitment to the conservation of biological diversity and to provide educational and fun experiences for visitors of all ages.” With different available activities for the family, diverse animals, and different ways to donate and get involved, this zoo surely has a lot to offer Tucson.
About the Zoo
Although the size of the zoo may be smaller than most, it's character is unmatched. One of its great aspects is its collection of animals like different species of birds, small mammals, and large mammals. It has also recently expanded to 24 acres and is visited by over 600,000 people annually. It also has its own Reid Park Zoological Society, which was founded in 1975 and officially incorporated in 1976. It is a membership based non-profit corporation that supports the zoo. To allow its visitors to keep up with the here and now about the zoo, the Reid Park Zoo has its own Flickr Group, Twitter, and Facebook page. On the Flickr Group, visitors can upload their photos and be featured on the page.
Planning a Trip
Going to this zoo was extremely fun and educational, and I recommend anyone who would like to go as well to visit.
The Zoo hours and ticket information are as follows:
October-May: 9:00am to 4:00pm (The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas day)
June-September: 8:00am to 3:00pm
Reid Park Zoo also houses an adorable elephant calf named Nandi, who is typically out at the exhibit from 8:00am-11:00am. She tends to move around with her herd to areas that cannot be seen so if you don't see her, the zoo suggests coming back in about 15-20 minutes.
Adults ages 15-61: $9.00
Seniors ages 62+: $7.00
Children ages 2-14: $5.00
Children under 2 years old: FREE
Members of the zoo get admission for free and they also offer discounts for groups buying tickets together.
What to do at the Zoo
Seeing the animals isn't the only exciting thing that you can do at Reid Park Zoo, there are also a number activities to partake in!
Reid Park Zoo allows its visitors to get up close and personal with its animals by offering activities like the Giraffe Encounter! This unique experience takes place once a day Monday-Friday, and twice a day on the weekends. It is only $2.00 per person and the proceeds benefit zoo conservation efforts and staff development. Tickets are available to be bought at the admissions gate or at the Giraffe Encounter platform. From October 1-May 31, the encounter takes place from 10:00am-10:45am during the week, and from 10:00am-10:45am and 1:30pm-2:00pm on the weekends. From June 1-September 30, the encounter takes place from 9:30am-10:15am during the week and from 9:30am-10:15am and 1:30pm-2:00pm on the weekends.
The zoo also offers its own Reid Park Zoo Express train! You can find it just outside the front gate. Each ride costs $2.00 and there are also multi-ride tickets available. Depending on visitation levels, the train runs during most business hours.
Kenya Get Wet:
This is a unique experience offered by the zoo, which is an interactive wet play area for kids of all ages. It is generally open daily, but will be closed for cold weather, thunderstorms, and school field trip hours.
This appealing and fun carousel is located in the zoo's front plaza and features 30 different animal species! The ride only costs $3.00, and has animals like the polar bear, gibbon, and anteater.
Meeting the Animals
The Reid Park Zoo allows you to visit multiple different species, like the ones below:
Visit the zoo to see the many more animals it offers!
How to Give to the Zoo
There are many ways visitors can give back to the zoo. Each gift to the Reid Park Zoological Society helps the zoo protect wildlife, educate children, and give a stunning and clean zoo for the whole community to enjoy. Visitors can call the zoo at (520) 837-8127 to learn more about how to support and give back to the zoo.
You can also make an annual contribution for the zoo that will help enhance the value of the Reid Park Zoo through different education programs, special events, animal enrichment, and conservation programs. If you donate at the $300 level or more, you will be able to join the zoo's annual giving circle: ZooFriendz. ZooFriendz is a group of community members who have committed to conservation, outreach, philanthropy, and the continued growth the the Reid Park Zoo.
You can also donate items to the Zoo's "Wish List", where you can help the zoo by giving them much needed supplies for the zoo's programs.
Educational Programs offered by the Zoo
The zoo offers a variety of educational yet fun programs for all ages of kids. There are tours, classes, and workshops that are available for sign up at any time.
The zoo also offers programs for groups. Some of them are listed below:
Zoo Adventure Program
This program lets your group meet smaller animals like hedgehogs, lizards, snakes, and armadillos close up and you can learn more about them. This program is very flexible and allows for focus on a specific topic or just encourages observation and lets the participants direct the program with their own questions. The duration is 1 hour and costs $15 a person (children and adults).
This program takes your group to visit the kitchen, health center, and the animal night house that will give you an up-close look at the care of over 500 animals. It is for ages 5 and up, lasts 1 hour, and costs $15 a person (children and adults).
Zookeeper in Training
This program is for future zookeepers! It allows you to try your hand at a zookeeper's specific chores in one morning, which includes preparing animals meals and treats, performing wellness check-ups, and cleaning a night house. Don't wear something you won't want to get dirty! This program is for ages 6-12, lasts 2 and a half hours, and is $25 a person.
These are just a few of the many educational programs the Reid Park Zoo offers!
The Zoo's Significance in Tucson Society & Highlights
The Zoo gets an annual report of its accomplishments and highlights, which shows how much the zoo has done and what has made everything possible for them. One of the biggest highlights of 2014 was the birth of an African elephant, Nandi, on August 20th. Nandi was "Tucson's Big Baby" with media coverage all of the United States and even internationally. This event led to the zoo's all-time attendance record of 618,482 visitors.
Four African lion cubs that were born in late 2013 finally made their appearance last year. This is the second litter of cubs for the parents Shombay and Kaya. The zoo partners with colleague facilities will make the right breeding decisions for the protection of the species, with this litter likely being the pair's last set of cubs.
Every 5 years, the zoo goes through a review and inspection to prove that it continues to meet or exceed professional standards for excellence in animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) spend a couple days at the zoo interviewing staff members and inspecting everything about the zoo, from exhibits to education. The zoo then received its accreditation renewal last March, making it a member of AZA for 5 more years.
The Reid Park Zoo remain's a huge part of the Tucson community, with amazing support from donors, members, volunteers, and staff. It is owned and operated by the City of Tucson, and thanks the City of Tucson for their operation of this quality facility. The zoo will always be a crucial part to enhancing Tucson residents' education about animals, conservation efforts, and encouraging them to want to learn more.