In late summer 2014, the 24-acre city zoo welcomed the highly anticipated arrival of Nandi, a baby girl elephant. The baby elephant was born to Semba, a 24-year-old African elephant. Nandi is the first African elephant born in Arizona.
Zoo fans were asked to vote on a name in the weeks leading up to her arrival. Nandi (Nahn-dee), which means “sweet” or “fun” in the Zulu language, was the winner.
Although Nandi is a newcomer to Reid Park, she has already become one of the zoo's star attractions. The baby elephant regularly delights zoo visitors by splashing around in her kiddie pool and dancing.
Reid Park Zoo recently welcomed a new baby African elephant — Photo courtesy of Reid Park Zoo
Nandi is on exhibit in the mornings and early afternoons on most days. Elephant-lovers who can't make it to the zoo can catch a glimpse of baby Nandi by checking out the "elephant cam" on the Reid Park Zoo website.
Another addition to the Reid Park Zoo family is a baby flamingo, which hatched on Oct. 17. The zoo has set up a "flamingo cam," too, so that animal-lovers can watch the growing flamingo family from the comfort of their home.
In an effort to provide zoo visitors with the chance to interact with zoo animals, Reid Park has also just introduced a new camel ride attraction. Four new camels – Luke, Riddle, Mack and Winston – joined the zoo family in November. These animals are known as dromedary camels, which are a domesticated species that originated from the Arabian Peninsula.
The ride lasts about a minute and a half and takes zoo visitors along the perimeter of a former elephant exhibit that was renovated for the camels. A new deck was installed so visitors can easily mount and dismount the camels.
So far, the popular quartet of camels have already given more than 1,000 rides to zoo visitors. The zoo charges $7 per camel ride, with proceeds going to help fund zoo operations. Camel rides are available from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day.
Another popular interactive exhibit is the zoo's Giraffe Encounter. From October to May, visitors can climb the feeding platform and hand-feed one of the zoo's friendly giraffes. Feedings happen every day of the week at 10 a.m. and then at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission to Reid Park Zoo is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children ages two to 14. Children under two years are admitted for free.