Zoo Project Update

Just a note that Big, Big Bugs continues at the Zoo through April 30! These realistic and super-sized crawlers buzz, click, wave antennae and legs providing a fascinating look inside the world of bugs. Guests find their inner entomologist as they observe the bugs’ physical structures, learn about how they live and understand the important role they play in our ecosystem.

The Zoo will be open for extended spring break hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 17 – 23. Spring is a great time to visit the Zoo with milder temperatures and all the plants starting to green and bloom. We hope you can join us to spend some relaxing moments connecting with nature and making some memories.

Reid Park Zoo construction projects continue to move ahead at a steady rate. Below are notes about the latest progress:

Sloth Habitat

A portion of the South America loop is closed during construction of this new habitat as we prepare a home for a Linne’s two-toed sloth. Construction is currently underway with the initial underground and ground preparation in progress. This habitat will be completed by the end of the summer when we welcome this new animal to the Zoo!

Angel Charity for Children World of Play

Construction continues on World of Play with rebar being set for the tabular ice that will be part of the Antarctic Ice Cave. There is also work being done on underground plumbing and the mechanical room.

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 occasional traffic with large vehicles and equipment at times on Lakeshore Lane during construction. A portion of the sidewalk on Lakeshore Lane was removed as drainage pipes were laid and this will be replaced.

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 in early March. The construction fence is expected to go up approximately March 6. 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 and along Lakeshore Lane 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 there are currently.

There will be some parking spaces on Lakeshore Lane that will be unavailable during construction. These spaces will return to being available at the end of construction which is expected in November. Access to travel through Lakeshore Lane will continue to be available throughout construction.

Below is an updated map of the construction fence borders that will be in place during various phases of construction.

Pathway to Asia

Once the parking lot is completed, ARC, Zoo, Hi Corbett, and Reid Park visitors will be able to park in the new lot. At that time, construction of Pathway to Asia will take place in the current ARC and Zoo lots. This plan uses no existing green space in the park, only current asphalt and will convert 45% of the space to green space within the Zoo, including planting of over 300 trees between the parking lot and Pathway to Asia.

This month, we continued work towards final construction drawings. Examples of some of the items discussed are the guard rails to be used, finding one that allows younger guests and guests in wheelchairs to have an unobstructed view yet prevents small items such as little shoes from going through the railings. We discussed options for the reptile tanks in the Robert Hamilton Tropical Discovery Center and double checked that the grates for water drainage in animal areas are exactly the right size for each animal.

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 approximately 24 months to finish.

We know that construction brings some inconvenience and every effort is being made to minimize disruptions. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work toward these new amenities at the Zoo and, as always, we appreciate your support of the Zoo and the animals.