Zoo Project Update: The Playground is Taking Shape

Big, Big Bugs are all the buzz at Reid Park Zoo! These realistic and super-sized crawlers buzz, click, wave antennae and legs. Guests will find their inner entomologist as they observe the bugs’ physical structures and learn about how they live and the important role they play in our ecosystem. 

In addition to the bugs exhibit, progress is also humming along on Reid Park Zoo construction projects. Here are the latest notes: 

Sloth Habitat

Permits are in for this wonderful addition to Reid Park Zoo’s South America area. Construction will begin on February 6. There will be disruption to the South America loop during construction, with the portion of the Zoo from flamingo to jaguar closed. The South America loop will become a one-way path during construction. This project will take about five months to complete and we expect it to open this summer.

Angel Charity for Children World of Play

Construction continues with the above-ground work starting. Masonry for the maintenance building is beginning and steel work will also begin as we head into February.


For Zoo guests: The Conservation Learning Center is open – come inside to view the bearded dragons, green tree python, and poison dart frogs while watching short features about the Zoo and conservation heroes. The presentation circle is closed during construction as it is transformed into a Nature Play area. Construction will continue to be noisy at times outside the Learning Center.

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

Thank you for your patience!

New Parking Lot

The new parking lot for the Zoo, Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center (ARC), and Reid Park, will begin construction once permits are issued. This parking lot will be located where the maintenance yard for Parks and Recreation has been. There will be an increase in parking available combined with about 100 trees that will be planted as a part of the project.

There will be changes to the parking for Adaptive Recreation Center during construction. Parks and Recreation, Reid Park Zoo, U of A Baseball, and the Adaptive Recreation Center representatives have been meeting as we ensure access is available to each facility throughout construction.

Below is a diagram showing the changes to parking for the Adaptive Recreation Center. Additional accessible parking spaces will be added just south of the Adaptive Recreation Center on Zoo Court to provide the same number of accessible spaces that are currently there. 

This diagram shows an updated map of the fence borders that are planned to be in place during various phases of construction.

Pathway to Asia

Pathway to Asia construction drawings will be complete by March 30. Construction is expected to begin shortly after parking lot completion in Fall 2023 and will take 24 months to complete.

We are excited about the spring and all the upcoming enhancements to the Zoo. We hope you can join us for Big, Big Bugs and look forward to keeping you updated as World of Play and the sloth habitat most immediately begin to take shape. 

We so appreciate the generous support of our Zoo donors, members and the Tucson community which makes projects like these possible.  Thank you!


Nancy Kluge

Reid Park Zoo President and CEO