What is Happening at Reid Park?
Big changes are underway in Reid Park! This beloved oasis in the heart of Tucson will be the subject of many improvements over the next few years. These upgrades include new playgrounds and splash pads, improvements to walking paths and the DeMeester Outdoor Performing Arts Center, and an expansion of Reid Park Zoo.
Reid Park Zoo will be expanding west into Reid Park and bringing a new world to Tucson. This expansion, called Pathway to Asia, will allow guests to get up close to red pandas, fishing cats, and brilliantly-plumed birds. A spacious Malayan tiger habitat that is 5 times larger than the previous tiger habitat at the Zoo will be a major highlight of the expansion. Malayan tigers are a critically endangered species, with fewer than 300 individuals left in the wild. This new habitat space will also allow Reid Park Zoo to play a crucial role in the Malayan tiger Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
This new addition will bring 3.5 acres of Reid Park into the Zoo. The expansion will extend across Lakeshore Drive and include the park’s southern pond and Barnum Hill. Reid Park’s other features, including the large northern pond and rose garden, are not a part of this expansion and will remain part of Reid Park and fully accessible by the general public.
The welfare of animals is always our number one priority. We’re dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and making the best choices for natural habitats in our area and so are working closely with local wildlife officials on this project. The ducks in the park often come in and out of the Zoo, and will still be able to fly into this part of Reid Park Zoo after the expansion. Local wildlife will also still have access to the northern pond.
The number of trees in the expansion area will grow by 33% as a part of this project! The expansion area currently has 128 existing trees. The project will require the removal of 57 trees (the majority being removed because they are in poor health and create a safety concern). Five trees will be salvaged and replanted, and the remaining 66 will be protected and preserved in-place. There will be 100 new trees added. When the expansion is complete, the Asia Expansion Area will have 171 new and existing trees.
Construction on this project is scheduled to begin in February or March of 2021, and will be completed in early 2023.
We want to hear from you! These improvement plans were made with input from the local community at every turn. Zoo improvements were approved by voters in 2017 and the details of this project have been discussed widely in council meetings, during more than 100 presentations with members of the community, and with local media. A 2019 open house held by the Parks & Recreation Department indicated that 92% of attendees approved of the Zoo’s expansion plan. Contact us with questions or comments about the future of your Zoo!
Improvements to the Public Park
There are many improvements underway in Reid Park outside of the Zoo. Tucson Parks and Recreation is working on a number of exciting additions to Reid Park, including a new splash pad and playground as well as improvements to walking paths and the Demeester Outdoor Performance Center. The north pond and waterfall, which will remain a part of the public park, will also soon see significant improvements. The City of Tucson is investing in a new pump system in the next few months, which will improve water quality for the local ducks. Follow along with progress on these and other Park improvements on the Tucson Delivers Park Improvements website.