Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo is one of the 12 zoos we have in Arizona. It started in 1965 as a very small zoo. Every year Reid Park Zoo puts up their lights during the holiday season to bring joy and fun during Christmas time. This year the ZooLights will be going from Dec. 4–23, with a break for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and then from Dec. 26– 30. Tickets are available for 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. at entry points. This year, numbers of people attending are going to be reduced per day due to social distancing, but now you can socially distance meeting Santa in the new North Pole Village!

Not only is this year extremely different, but (in a much better way) the zoo is going to be too! Newly announced, Reid Park Zoo is undergoing changes to make it one of the best in the nation, and better at animal care and conservation. There are three phases to this project. The first phase includes adding a new Asian themed area to the zoo, with Asian temple ruins, and new animals, including red pandas, fishing cats, Malayan tigers and brilliantly-plumed birds. Siamangs will also be added. In addition, A new reptile house is going to be added, including the largest lizard in the world, the Komodo Dragon, and giant fruit bats.

Phase two will include adding a new African area, and adding a new safari lodge with balconies and seating for 400. Phase three consists of adding a Mayan temple, and adding area expansion.

 Reid Park Zoo is hosting virtual animal encounters for free on Thursdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Check out Reid Park Zoo’s website for more information on other virtual meetings at

I interviewed Chelo Grubb, who works for Reid Park Zoo’s communications department. She has been working at the zoo for about two years, managing ads and social media, and making sure the zoo stays connected in the virtual world. Her favorite part of the job is getting to see the animals every day.

“I am excited for the zoo to be open again, and I’m excited to have people come in again,” says Grubb.

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