The Reid Park Zoo is a small 17 acre zoo found in the city of Tucson, Arizona. While it is extremely small compared to other zoos found in the United States this zoo has just about everything that a visitor would want to see. It is home to about 500 animals including all the big named ones like elephants, rhinoceros, polar bears, lions, and tigers. Not knowing much about this zoo or for that matter even hearing about it until I was in the Tucson area I was shocked to see how nice it was. The only reservations that I had for it was the fact that this zoo has a polar bear and with the extreme heat during the summer I imagine the energy costs of keeping the pool cold or their indoor air-conditioned space must be staggering.
The Tucson Zoo’s latest exhibit is an impressive 7 acre African-elephant exhibit that is home to five elephants including two juvenile brothers, a five year old named Punga and his baby brother Sundzu. Unfortunately for me I was visiting about a week before its grand opening in March of 2012. So, all I could see was the elephants from a distance as they were getting acclimated to their new home. It is enjoyable to see a zoo increase its size and build new habitats for its animals.
The Reid Park Zoo is divided into three sections or continents. They are South America, Asia, and Africa. The zoo also has a large conservation and learning center next to their aviary and flamingo pond, which I am sure comes in handy during school field trips. What I liked about this zoo was size of their exhibits. Just about every animal there, from their otters to their anteaters, had a lot of space. The Reid Park Zoo planners were very intelligent with the design and scope of their exhibits. The only area which was a tad bit on the small size in my opinion was their polar bear exhibit, but that is just being picky on my part.
While there were no “wow” exhibits everything was nice and it was a fun visit. What especially made my visit worth while was seeing the three lion cubs. It is not an every day event to see cubs at a zoo so to me it was worth the admission price. Another thing that struck me at the zoo was the number of peacocks and peahens that this zoo is home to. I also liked the large giraffe and rhino yard, and the otter area was very nice. It is always fun to see them play and swim around. The only real disappointment for me was not seeing the polar bear who had chosen to be out of sight at the time that I was there.
Besides the 17 acres of exhibits the Reid Park Zoo also has a train, an interactive wet play area, which I am sure comes in handy during the summer months in Arizona, hands-on exhibit area in their learning center, and the opportunity to feed giraffes. If you are looking for a zoo that has the right mix of animals and does not take all-day to go through then this is the zoo to see. I highly recommend going, I had a wonderful time at this zoo and with the opening of Expedition Tanzania I am sure it is an even better experience. If you decide to go I would recommend going in the fall or spring, but if you are there during the hot summer months I would go as soon as they open the doors.
The Reid Park Zoo
Located at 1030 South Randolph Way, Tucson
Hours of Operation September through May 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and June through August 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cost as of this Posting Adults aged 15 to 61 $7.00 Seniors 62 and over $5.00 Children 2 to 14 are $3.00
For more information visit their website at http://www.tucsonzoo.org/