TUCSON, Ariz. — A major face lift is underway for the Reid Park Zoo. Phase one of three part, 10 year $80 million expansion plan i s in its beginning stages.
First impressions can mean everything. That's why Reid Park Zoo employees say they're excited about improvements to the zoo's welcome plaza.
"Show our guests that are coming from out of town that we really have a world class zoo. It is your portal going from Tucson into another world and we wanted to give it that feel." said Zoo president Nancy Kluge
Kluge explained when the project is complete visitors will notice the addition of shade structures and trees as you walk in. One of the bigger changes, the flamingo habitat will be moved towards the entrance to make way for a new playground, allowing the vibrant flock to play host.
"This would give that pop of color that flamingos have," Kluge said. "They are always so graceful, always moving around as guests enter the zoo to let them know they have arrived."
The endangered Malaysian Tigers will be the move as well transitioning from a 3,000 sq, foot habitat to a 14,000 sq. foot space.
"There's only about 300 of them left in the world and this gives us room to have a breeding pair," Kluge said. " Right now they have an adequate space, but were not looking to be the adequate zoo, we want to be the best zoo we can be."
Kluge says education is a key part of the zoo, and by adding new exhibits that will feature komodo dragons, red pandas and a reptile house, the zoo will only continue to be a source for learning.
The first stages are expected to be completed by 2020.