Gene Reid, the former director of Tucson Parks and Recreation, informally established the park in 1965, with only three types of birds on display. Two years later, the park became an established zoo, habituating animals in natural and exotic homes run by city of Tucson and supported by the nonprofit Tucson Zoological Society.

The park is broken into four different zones: South America, to accommodate animals like the spectacled bear; Africa, for animals including giraffes; Asia, for tigers and Asian bears; and an adaptation zone, for animals still adapting to park life. If limited in time, keep in mind that it takes around two hours to visit the entire park, and animals are most active in the mornings.

The Reid Park Zoo is more than accommodating for its human guests as well. Visitors can rent the park for birthday parties, fundraisers and other events.

Classes and educational camps are also available at the zoo. The behind-the-scenes tour is held for children 5 and younger. There is also the Little Critter program for preschoolers, and the Young Explorers Adventures for 6- to 12-year-olds.

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