The Randolph Park Children’s Petting Zoo was first opened in the 1960s as a children’s petting zoo. In 1978 it was renamed The Reid Park Zoo. The zoo was initially funded primarily by the City of Tucson. In its first few years, it had rabbits, billy goats and a variety of domestic animals that were donated. It also had Prairie Dog Town, which had a loop road that went around it where people could drive their cars to view the prairie dogs. It is now home for polar bears, lions, jaguars, giraffes, rhinos, anteaters and other creatures.
In February 2008, the $4 million Conservation Learning Center was unveiled and received a platinum LEED certification (that means it's environmentally friendly). The building's insulation is made from old blue jeans, there is recycled Styrofoam in the walls, solar panels provide energy, and countertops are made from recycled glass. The center helped boost registration for programs by 50 percent in the summer after it opened. The new learning center is part of a master plan, which includes a 7-acre expansion and a new elephant exhibit. The City Council and the Tucson Zoological Society are funding the expansion.
“Expansion planned at the Reid Park Zoo, opens a new window.” Arizona Daily Star. Caliente section. July 9, 2009. Page 23.
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