Reid Park Zoo Project Update

Angel Charity for Children World of Play

Dirt has started to move in this future adventure zone for children! The area is being cleared out in preparation for construction. You can see the progress in the photo below. As the initial clearing is complete, the site will then be graded to the levels needed for construction to begin.

The millstones and the puddingstone boulder that were on the previous site have been removed to a safe location and will be returned as a part of the project near the parent pavilion. The millstones represent an ongoing gift from the A.J. and M.D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust. This trust was established by the Ruggiero’s in 1998 to benefit Reid Park Zoo in perpetuity, and you will see their name on many of the Zoo’s major projects including the elephant habitat, health center, learning center and more. This year the Ruggiero Trust is making it possible to upgrade the Zoo’s animal commissary, providing for new sinks, an ice machine for the animals, meat thawing refrigerators and tools for large bones and treats for our carnivores. Their gift also includes several new refrigerators for daily diets that are prepared for each animal, as well as a number of needed plumbing and electrical upgrades. The Ruggiero Trust is a great example of how public funds are leveraged with private funds to make Reid Park Zoo a wonderful educational resource to learn about animals and conservation actions everyone can take to make a difference.

Construction Notes:

While changes are underway to build World of Play, we are working to minimize the impact of the construction sounds and dust as much as possible.

For Zoo guests: The Conservation Learning Center is open – come inside to view the bearded dragons and green tree python and cool off while watching short features about the Zoo and conservation heroes. The presentation circle is closed during construction as it is being transformed into a nature play area. During weekdays, construction will be a bit noisy outside the learning center.

For Park guests: There will continue to be traffic with large vehicles and equipment on Lakeshore Lane during construction.

Thank you for your patience!

Pathway to Asia

This beautiful new habitat and conservation center featuring a selection of animals from Asia is moving along. The review of the design development package is complete and construction documents are being reviewed with a plan to submit for permits for the parking lot at the beginning of September. We expect to also begin construction on the parking lot area somewhere around December. The parking lot will take about six months to complete, then work on the habitats will begin.

This month, we spent a lot of time finalizing details for the parking lot as we had a preliminary meeting with development services in preparation for submitting for permits. There was discussion about landscaping and the approximately 100 trees in the parking lot that will provide shade. The parking lot trees will primarily be native mesquite, palo verde and desert willow, great selections for our climate. We also wanted to make sure that the light poles had the appropriate controls and would meet the requirements of Tucson Parks and Recreation in the future.

Animal needs continue to be reviewed for the habitat areas, such as adding misters for the aviary and changing the tilt of the slide in the otter exhibit to the optimal angle for these fun animals to run up and down. We also discussed the details about how generators would work for areas like the Robert Hamilton Tropical Discovery Center which houses temperature sensitive reptiles.

Malayan tigers will be in the center of Pathway to Asia with two roomy habitats with waterfalls and streams running through the grassy areas. Underwater viewing of these athletic swimmers with other features such as a comfort rock that can be heated or cooled and plenty of enrichment opportunities will make this a great home for these majestic cats. Malayan tigers are critically endangered with less than 200 remaining in the wild. Reid Park Zoo has made a commitment to support the Tiger Conservation Campaign, a joint effort of AZA accredited zoos to save tigers from extinction.

You can take One Step to Protect tigers in the wild by taking the pledge to shop smart for tigers by clicking here.

New Sloth Habitat

The development permit has been filed for the new sloth habitat that will be coming next summer. We are planning for construction to start in the next few months.

Sidewalk Project

The sidewalk repair near the lion habitat is now complete. Thank you for your patience through this construction project.

We look forward to keeping you updated as progress continues to take shape and hope to see you at the Zoo this fall.