Reid Park Zoo Breaks Ground on Adventure Zone

The Angel Charity for Children World of Play will help guests travel the world without leaving the Zoo

On Wednesday, May 18, Reid Park Zoo broke ground on the Angel Charity for Children World of Play, an adventure zone designed to bring an appreciation of biological diversity to the playground.

Children from the Tucson area joined representatives from Angel Charity for Children, other donors, representatives from the City of Tucson, members of the construction crew and architect team, and Reid Park Zoo employees and board members in taking the first dig for this construction project that will introduce children to animals and the continents through nature play. 

“I was an educator for about two decades before I made the switch to work in the Mayor’s office, so this particular project is very special to me. It’s so important that we have opportunities to engage, particularly with our youngest children” said Charlene Mendoza, Chief of Staff for Mayor Romero’s Office. “One point that was particularly meaningful to me is its accessibility, which is desperately needed in Tucson, especially for our young children.  Having an accessible play space, in such a stimulating environment is going to be a gamechanger for kids coming into the Zoo.”

Members of Angel Charity for Children join kids from our community in breaking ground on the Angel Charity for Children World of Play.

The Angel Charity for Children World of Play will feature opportunities for children to chill out in cool Antarctica, hear the rhythmic sounds of the South American rainforest, and appreciate the magnitude of the North American redwoods.

“This is a dream that started when parents of children came to the Zoo and asked for a play area for their kids, but of course, at the Zoo it can’t just be a play area,” said Chad Driedger, Reid Park Zoo Foundation Capital Campaign Chair. “Next spring, about a year from now you’re going to see a complete adventure zone where kids can learn about animals and learn about habitats. They’re going to be able to climb a rope bridge all the way to the top of a sequoia tree, sit next to eagle’s eggs  in a giant eagle’s nest, and then whoosh down the slide.”

World of Play, anticipated to open in 2023, is part of Phase I of the Future of Your Zoo initiative passed by voters to bring improvements to Reid Park Zoo. It will be located within the Zoo at the site of the former flamingo habitat and adjacent to the Lee H. Brown Family Conservation Learning Center. In addition to funds from the voter initiative, World of Play is made possible by a generous lead gift from Angel Charity for Children with additional support from Cavender-Simpson Family, the Rotary Club of Tucson and other private donors.

“This is my neighborhood, I live across the street and this is such an important piece of it. So I really am grateful for everyone’s engagement and to the Zoo for creating this incredible opportunity for play and learning, not only in the playground but in the whole entire Zoo. It really is critical for our community that we have resources like this,” said Mendoza.

World of Play is expected to open in the summer of 2023. 


City officals, Reid Park Zoo board members and children from our community help break ground on the Angel Charity for Children World of Play
Members of the the Rotary Club of Tucson break ground on the Angel Charity for Children World of Play
Timothy Thomure, City of Tucson Assistant City Manager, hands a hard hat to a member of the Angel Charity for Children at the World of Play groundbreaking.
Donors help break ground at the Angel Charity for Children World of Play
Zoo officals and Susan Simpson-Cavender break ground on the Angel Charity for Children World of Play