A day at the zoo!! Every child (hopefully) has fond memories of spending
time at the zoo and picking out a favorite animal. One of our granddaughters
loved the zoo from her first trip at about eight months old. When
she was just about two, she began "writing" invitations
to all of us (every time we saw her) to invite us to her birthday
party at the zoo. When she turned three, her dream came true and she
spent her day visiting the animals, especially the elephants which
are still her favorite.
Reid Park Zoo is not very old. It was established in 1965 and has
grown ever since. The goal of the zoo is not just to entertain, but
to educate and involve people in the desire to become a part of the
process of creating a world where animals (and people) can live healthy
Reid Park Zoo is a city-owned facility, operated, maintained and
administrated under the authority Tucson Parks and Recreation Department.
Gene Reid for whom the park was named was a past director of this
In the past few decades zoos have taken a real hands on responsibility
in the area of endangered species. Reid Park Zoo is no exception.
They (we, it's our zoo too!) have taken on the Giant Anteater which
is the most vulnerable species and could become extinct within the
next few years. The zoo has become world famous in its endeavors in
the areas of breeding, research and husbandry. The anteater is the
zoos official logo.
Tsose ("Sosee") is the 15th and the newest baby anteater
born at the zoo. Her parents were caught in the wild which makes Tsose
extra special as breeding two wild animals in captivity is very difficult.
The zoo offers many special occasions for the entire family. Some
are geared toward the very young such as Teddy Bear Day. Children
can bring in their favorite stuffed toy and watch as the zoo folks
treat it like a real animal, checking it for various conditions involved
with the care and feeding.
Zookeeper in Training offers young hopefuls a full morning of preparing
and feeding the animals, giving medications, and yes
a clean zoo be without it
ZooBoot Camp is a five day in-depth study of all aspects of a zoo
including things we do not even notice or consider such as what trees
are within (h)arms reach of the animals and is it something that would
be harmful to them. How to give antibiotics to an animal that is ill
without having to enter the cage and give the old needle-in-the-rump-routine.
Learning what foods we humans eat and love that are not safe for animals
and how hard it is to keep animals healthy when visitors insist on
feeding chocolate covered raisins to the rhino. A lot of time is spent
with the plant life and learning more about the things that grow around
These are just a few of the wonderful adventures offered at Reid
Park Zoo. There is a cost to these so do check the zoo website for
prices, dates and times.
One of our sons bought us a Behind-The-Scenes Tour of the zoo for
six people. It was scheduled to be about two hours but Mike, the wonderful
head of the big animals could see that we, as well as our four friends,
were so interested that the tour lasted over five hours and, although
it was nearly dark when we left, we left reluctantly. We were nose
to nose to a polar bear, we pet a rhino, we admired the gorgeous fruit
tray set out for the monkeys (their favorite fruit had vitamins hidden
in the bananas! And we actually fed the giraffe!! We saw a new born
parrot (ugly little wonder!) and we toured the medical facility. We
came away with a new insight to the makings of a zoo.
One more thing. If you or a friend have lost a loved one, you can
buy a bench with their name engraved on it. We have a young friend
whose father died and her mother bought such a bench. Now when Amy
goes to the zoo, she can see her dad's bench and sit there a while.
We think it is a lovely idea and can help bring closure to people
in mourning while offering a place for visitors to rest.
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