The Reid Park Zoo, and all other AZA-accredited zoos, are much more than “living museums.”   They are vibrant, beautiful destinations with an urgent mission.   It’s important to the Reid Park Zoo that you come and visit, and they’ll help you do it.

Why?   Because just by visiting, you’ll be helping to support conservation efforts and sustainable living.   This will be even more significant when the Pathway to Asia expansion becomes a reality, because there will be many more endangered species you’ll be supporting simply by coming to the Zoo to see them.

Reaching Out to the Community

The Zoo has many community outreach programs, partnering with charities and non-profits, because they understand that doing good for community means doing good for the animals and the environment!      You probably already know that thousands of schoolchildren visit the Reid Park Zoo for free every year, and you may have heard about special events the Zoo offers.  

One example is Dream Night.  It’s a free evening at the Zoo just for children with any kind of healthcare or mobility challenges along with their families.  Nobody needs to worry about accessibility or stigma.  RPZ partners with the Desert Museum to host Dream Night in alternating years.   It’s a wonderful, well-attended event, and creates treasured memories for the families who attend, but also for the Zoo staff and volunteers.   

But what about something for individuals or families?   Maybe you don’t have a whole morning or afternoon to go to the Zoo or chaperone a field trip for one of your children.     Maybe you don’t feel you can afford the tickets.   Maybe you’re differently abled and worry that you might not be able to get around comfortably.  Maybe you just need a quick pick-me-up during your lunch hour.  

The Reid Park Zoo has you covered

Can you visit the Zoo FOR FREE?

Yes!   Take advantage of the Pima County Public Library’s Culture Pass Program.   Go to your local library, and see how you can get free tickets to visit the Zoo.   The Zoo donates about 6,000 of these free tickets every year.   Right now, due to Covid restrictions, you’ll need a reservation to enter the  Reid Park Zoo at a certain time. Go to the website for more information on the Culture Passes and all the other community-access programs of the RPZ.

Dollar Day

In conjunction with Reid Park’s Family Festival in the Park, the Zoo offers $1 admission.  (This program has been paused due to Covid – but they plan bring it back soon!)  Stay tuned.  

What if you receive SNAP or WIC assistance?

The Reid Park Zoo has very low admission prices for such a wonderful place and especially compared to other accredited zoos in the U.S.      But if you receive food assistance, this can help make a Zoo visit even more affordable.  Just show your EBT card to the front gate, and you’ll be eligible for a $4 discount on up to 7 tickets.  That means you can buy an adult ticket for just $6.50, a child for just $2.50, and a senior for just $4.50.  No charge for those under 2 .

What if you’re differently abled?

You should go to the Zoo!   The Reid Park Zoo meets all ADA guidelines.   If you don’t like big crowds, they can advise you of the best times to visit.  There are stroller and wheelchair rentals.   The RPZ allows trained service animals to accompany you (except inside the aviaries, where lots of birds are just walking around).   The website even has a map to identify areas where the sensory experiences (sounds, smells, and so on) might be a bit more intense.

How can you visit The Reid Park Zoo if you only have a short break or are stuck at your computer?    

How about checking out the ZooCams?  You can see Giraffes, lions, elephants and even lemurs and grizzlies!    See their real-time behaviors during the day –  and all you have to do is log into the Zoo’s website and watch for as long as you like.  The website also offers lots of information about each of the animals you’re seeing.

These programs to help you connect to the Reid Park Zoo are an important part of a greater good the Zoo pursues every day.  They’re committed to welcoming as many Tucsonans as possible, spreading the word about conservation, and continuing to provide world-class care to the animals in their charge.  But these animals need help from all of us.    Go to the Zoo and be a part of it!

If you’re a regular visitor the Reid Park Zoo, you’ve probably noticed that somehow you feel better there, and better after the visit.   What’s going on?

Maybe:

  •  You visited zoos as a child, and visiting the Reid Park Zoo brings back many positive memories
  • You love being outdoors, especially in an environment where you can find shade and places to rest in the middle of a hot Tucson day.  
  • You need to interact with nature
  • You like to get exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise
  • You’re  stressed out and need an escape from the pace and obligations of your urban lifestyle
  •  You’re worried about climate change and want to find out how you can help mitigate its effects
  • You want recreation that’s not just good for you but beneficial to the community
  • Or, it’s just uplifting to spend time in a place where people are feeling happy and positive

What if you have high blood pressure? 

You’ve probably heard of the many research studies verifying the positive effects on our health of  gardening or having pets in the home, but not everyone is able to care for pets or has the strength to garden.   It turns out that visiting a zoo can also have these effects.  Psychologists and physiologists are beginning to study the positive health impacts of spending time in a zoo (like the Reid Park Zoo) where the environment is beautiful and the animals are well treated.  A study in Japan has actually documented the physical effects of visiting a zoo – reduced levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) as well as blood pressure readings.

It’s not news that exercise is beneficial for all of us, especially for children who may spend more and more of their days on “screen time.” It’s not always easy to reach that magic number of 10,000 steps per day – but it’s much easier to do when you’re walking through a safe environment, looking forward to a new wonder around every corner.  A visit to the Reid Park Zoo will allow you to get those steps in without really even noticing it.   You can stop and rest whenever you need to – but odds are, while you’re sitting on a bench in a shady spot, you’ll still be able to see one or more species playing, lounging, eating, or watching YOU with some interest.

You’re Not the Only One Who Feels Better

It’s well established that for many people, interaction with animals can be a great help in recovering from illness or injury, or as a treatment for anxiety and depression.  But did you know that zoos that were closed for a period of time during the pandemic discovered that zoo visitors are also important to the animals’ health and well being? 

 It’s nice to know that the Reid Park Zoo’s Meerkats, who are always on watch, will always be happy to see you and alert the mob that you’re nearby.    You will also be cheering up the marvelous Lar Gibbon, definitely the gregarious Sulpher-crested Cockatoo, and countless other creatures there.

Visiting the Reid Park Zoo will definitely do you some good.  How about taking a friend,  a child, or an  elderly neighbor so you can spread the benefits?

We invite you to join us in feeling better and doing more good by supporting the Reid Park Zoo’s  Pathway to Asia expansion!