Courtesy Visit Tucson

Key Info

1100 South Randolph Way


Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Home to a variety of exotic animals, ranging from elephants and jaguars to flamingos and roaches, the Reid Park Zoo in central Tucson is a favorite place for families to spend a few hours. When you're not observing the animals from afar, several activities allow you to interact with them, such as the giraffe feedings. There's also a zoo train, a wet play area and a carousel, along with daily demonstrations with zoo keepers. 

Many family visitors said a stop at the zoo is a must and said its small size was perfect for little legs to navigate. Reviewers also praised the water park, which they said was a great way for kids to cool off in the heat. Additionally, travelers recommended paying the extra $3 to feed the giraffes. 

According to the zoo, animals tend to be the most active and crowds tend to be smallest early in the morning and just before closing. Field trip visits from local schools tend to be most popular each morning March through May. You'll find the zoo about 2 miles south of downtown Tucson. The Reid Park Zoo is open October to May from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and June to September from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission costs $10.50 for adults ages 15 to 61, $8.50 for seniors 62 and older, and $6.50 for kids between the ages of 2 and 14. Parking is free. Outside food isn't permitted inside the zoo (it offers its own cafe), but you can pack your own meal and enjoy it at any of the picnic areas located just outside the zoo in Reid Park. Due to the region's high temps, the zoo always allows bottled water. You can learn more about the Reid Park Zoo by visiting its website.

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Although it's called a museum, this facility – about 15 miles west of downtown Tucson – is more of a zoo. In fact, 85 percent of what you'll experience is outdoors (so dress accordingly). The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's 98 acres host 230 animal species  including prairie dogs, coyotes and a mountain lion  and 1,200 local plant species (totaling 56,000 individual plants). Walking through the museum's trails, visitors get acquainted with desert life. And if you feel hungry after your leisurely hike, you can enjoy a meal at one of the museum's four eateries, all of which have great views of the surrounding desert.

Recent visitors enjoyed their time at the museum and highly recommended future travelers set aside a few hours to explore the attraction's grounds and educational exhibits. Just make sure you come prepared: wear appropriate walking shoes, sun protection and sunscreen (though, if you forget your sunscreen, there are dispensers in the on-site bathrooms). Reviewers also advised stopping by in the morning or near closing as that's when the animals are most active. Aside from the flora and fauna, visitors also praised the knowledgeable docents.

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Jerry Rosen/Courtesy Visit Tucson
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