Reid Park Zoo’s Attendance in 2020 Strong Despite Extensive Closure

Many Opportunities to visit the Zoo for Free or Reduced Admission in 2021

Nature has been a place for healing during the year of pandemic. While state and national parks are reporting record visitation in 2020, Reid Park Zoo also welcomed an impressive number of visitors last year — 280,930 people visited the Zoo despite it being closed for nearly half of the year and operating at reduced capacity. The Zoo welcomes approximately 500,000 visitors in a typical year suggesting many Tucson residents are seeking opportunities to connect with nature that the Zoo can provide.

Keeping the Zoo accessible and inclusive is a cornerstone of Reid Park Zoo’s mission and core values, especially at a time when the pandemic has upended lives and placed many activities on hold. The Zoo is promoting opportunities that provide families inclusive access to the Zoo regardless of economic situation.

“We are grateful to the community for their continued support during these challenging times,” said Nancy Kluge, Reid Park Zoo President & CEO.

“We know this has been a difficult year for so many people in our area coping with COVID, job loss and prolonged quarantines. We are happy that the Zoo could reopen and can continue to provide a spacious and positive environment for families to enjoy time together, while remaining socially-distanced. So many people tell us that a visit to the Zoo is healing, helping to take their mind off the pandemic. Being in nature and connecting with animals has powerful health benefits from lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress to fueling energy and encouraging us to expand our vision and understanding of the world.”

The Zoo offers free and reduced cost admission, including free field trips for schools, discount admission for EBT cardholders (SNAP/WIC) and discount memberships to local nonprofits serving children, families, and people with special needs. The Zoo also holds special admission days annually for groups such as veterans and seniors, and participates in Pima County Library’s Culture Pass, a program where people can check out free admission tickets to the Zoo.

During its closure and continuing today as the pandemic lingers, the Zoo has found creative ways to keep the community – and the world – connected through free or reduced cost online engagement including livestream webcams of the animals, virtual education classes and camps, walk-through tours, and special events. From classrooms to daycare centers, living rooms to hospital rooms, virtual programs have brought uplifting moments with the animals.

Below are the Community Access opportunities the Zoo provides for free or at reduced rate admission:

Free virtual programs for schools: Thanks to sponsorships from companies such as Wells Fargo, BMO Harris and Target, Reid Park Zoo is able to provide a number of virtual programs such as field trips and resources for educators. Teachers and others can find these resources on our website.

Discount for EBT (SNAP/WIC) Cardholders: People participating in the SNAP (food stamp) and Women, Children, and Infants (WIC) programs can receive $4 off daytime admission tickets for up to seven people. A valid EBT card and identification must be provided to the cashier at the time of purchase. Prior to visiting, guests should call the Zoo Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 520-881-4753 to make reservations.

Social Services Memberships: The Zoo offers membership to local nonprofit agencies for a $25 processing fee to certain local nonprofit agencies. This membership is designed for agencies working with child and family services, mental health programs, and programs for homeless clients. It allows those participating in their programs to come to the Zoo and learn about wildlife and conservation. The memberships allow free admission during regular daytime hours for three staff members and 10 clients per visit and is valid for a full year.

The Zoo is currently operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. Tickets must be purchased online and in hourly timeframes.