Reid Park Zoo: A Wildlife Haven in the Heart of Tucson

Reid Park Zoo: A Wildlife Haven in the Heart of Tucson

Located in the heart of Tucson, the Reid Park Zoo is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Spanning over 24 acres, the zoo is home to hundreds of animals from around the world, as well as a variety of educational programs and exhibits. In this article, we will explore the history, attractions, and mission of the Reid Park Zoo, and what makes it a beloved part of the Tucson community.


The Reid Park Zoo was established in 1965 on land donated by Gene C. Reid, a prominent Tucson businessman and philanthropist. The zoo started with just a few animals, including a lion, a jaguar, and a few monkeys. Over the years, the zoo grew and expanded, adding new exhibits and attractions.

In the 1990s, the zoo underwent a major renovation, which included the construction of several new exhibits, such as the African Savanna and the Adaptation Zone. In 2007, the zoo opened its largest exhibit to date, Expedition Tanzania, which features a herd of African elephants.


The Reid Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, from African lions and Asian elephants to native Sonoran Desert species like mountain lions and Gila monsters. Visitors can explore the zoo's many exhibits and attractions, including:

  • Expedition Tanzania: This exhibit features a herd of African elephants, as well as other species native to the African savanna, such as zebras, giraffes, and warthogs.
  • Adaptation Zone: This exhibit showcases animals that have adapted to extreme environments, including polar bears, otters, and snow leopards.
  • Arizona Trail: This exhibit features animals native to the Sonoran Desert, including coyotes, desert tortoises, and javelinas.
  • Giraffe Encounter: Visitors can get up close and personal with the zoo's giraffes and even feed them a snack.
  • Stingray Touch: Visitors can touch and feed southern stingrays in this interactive exhibit.
  • Animal Ambassador Program: The zoo's Animal Ambassadors are a group of animals that are trained to interact with humans, such as parrots, owls, and reptiles. Visitors can learn about these animals and even get a chance to meet them up close.

In addition to its many exhibits, the Reid Park Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including guided tours, animal encounters, and summer camps for kids.


The Reid Park Zoo's mission is to inspire commitment to the natural world through conservation, education, and recreation. The zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, both locally and globally. Through its various educational programs and exhibits, the zoo aims to teach visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation and inspire them to take action to protect our planet's precious natural resources.

The zoo is also committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. It has implemented a variety of initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, including water and energy conservation, recycling, and the use of sustainable materials in its construction projects.

Community Involvement

The Reid Park Zoo is an integral part of the Tucson community. In addition to providing a fun and educational destination for locals and tourists, the zoo is actively involved in community outreach and engagement. It partners with local schools and organizations to provide educational programs and opportunities for underserved youth, and also hosts a variety of community events throughout the year, such as Zoo Lights during the holiday season and a summer concert series.

Planning Your Visit:

Here's a map of the zoo, but you can pick up a free map on your way in.

  • Location: Reid Park Zoo is located at 3400 Zoo Court, Tucson, AZ 85716. It is situated in the heart of Tucson, adjacent to the beautiful Reid Park.
  • Hours of Operation: The Zoo is open every day of the year, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The opening hours are from 9 am to 4 pm, with the last admission at 3 pm. However, during summer months, the Zoo stays open until 5 pm.
  • Admission Prices: General admission prices for Reid Park Zoo are $10.50 for adults (ages 15-61), $6.50 for children (ages 2-14), $8.50 for seniors (ages 62+), and free for children under 2.
  • Membership: Reid Park Zoo offers memberships at different levels that allow unlimited access to the zoo for a year. Members also receive exclusive discounts, invitations to members-only events, and other benefits. Here are the membership levels.

1 named Adult age 18-61

SENIOR – $27
1 named Adult age 62+

FAMILY – $80
2 named Adults + up to 4 children under age 18

GOLD – $130
2 named Adults + up to 4 children under age 18 + 4 flexible guest passes

  • Parking: There is a spacious parking lot adjacent to the zoo, and parking is free for visitors.
  • Food and Drink: There are several snack bars and cafes located throughout the zoo that offer a variety of food and drink options, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
  • Accessibility: Reid Park Zoo is wheelchair and stroller-friendly, and accessible parking is available. The zoo also provides wheelchairs and electric scooters for rent for those who need them.

Tips for Visiting:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for protection from the sun.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Check the schedule for animal feeding times and other activities.
  • Don't forget your camera to capture the amazing wildlife and scenery.