Slow But Steady Progress

Summer is here, when everything seems to move slower in Tucson, but progress continues on the Zoo’s projects. We are happy to be able to share this month’s developments with you. Just a reminder that the Zoo’s Summer Safari Nights take place every Saturday night through August 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. These events are full of family fun with music, animal viewing, and activities including Tucson Parks and Recreation’s Ready Set Rec games! You can see a list of Summer Safari Night themes and activities on our website at We are also offering our $3 Ticket Tuesdays. Every Tuesday in June and July, admission to the Zoo is just $3 per person at the gate.


World of Play

We are getting closer to construction starting. The construction trailer is due to arrive any day and then the construction fence will go up within a week or two after that when blue staking is complete. The site will be prepared for construction while we await the approval of permits. The permits are in review and we are hoping to have news on them in the near future for this new exhibit that will be located inside the Zoo at the site of the former flamingo habitat.

As a reminder, the small parking lot just south of the Zoo’s learning center will be fenced off starting with construction as that area is a part of the project and at times there will be increased traffic on Lakeshore as supplies are dropped off.


Pathway to Asia

The first phase of Pathway to Asia will be parking. We are in an intense review process as we head toward finalizing design development at the end of June. To give you an insider’s look, here are some of the discussions that took place at this month’s meeting:

  • Bike racks are not only a requirement for new construction, but also important to the Zoo and our conservation mission! We would love to see more of our guests able to bike to the Zoo, getting exercise and reducing carbon emissions. In addition to new bike racks to increase capacity for bike parking, we will re-use the decorative bike racks that are currently in the front of the Zoo. These bike racks are truly works of art and if you see them at the right time of day, they make shadows of animals on the ground that are beautiful!
  • During construction of the new parking lot, there will times where there will be interruption to the parking for the Adaptive Recreation Center (ARC) and the Zoo. We are working with the contractor to find a way to minimize the disruption as much as possible when the plans are made.
  • We added a block wall around dumpsters to minimize visibility and reduce odors. We had discussion to ensure that the Zoo’s recycling and composting programs can continue to expand with room for those dumpsters as well.
  • Inside Pathway to Asia, we discussed some of the details of the replica of a tiger research station where children will be able to see some of the tools researchers in the wild use to identify and locate tigers to study their populations. In addition to the science lessons, there will also be information about how to protect tigers in the wild.
  • We discussed details of the pool for the Asian small clawed otters. These playful otters live in family groups in small streams, rivers, and marshes. They are found in southern India, southern China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. As we went through design, we discussed the water levels, replicating their natural habitat as much as possible. The otter habitat will include a shallow upper pool which leads to a slide into a lower deeper pool that will have underwater viewing for guests to see these playful, active animals swimming.

We hope you have a terrific summer! I look forward to updating you again next month!