Established in 1964, the Indianapolis Zoo is host to over a million visitors each year. The Indianapolis Zoo has led efforts in conservation and research to become a world-class attraction. It was the first attraction triple accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, an aquarium and a botanic garden.
Another aspect of the zoo is White River Gardens. The gardens span over three acres and provide information about gardening, garden design and plant information. Hundreds of plant varieties are on display in addition to special exhibits featured throughout the year.
The Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens are located downtown in White River Park at 1200 West Washington Street. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily. Admission is $17.95 for adults; $16.95 for seniors and $12.95 for children ages 2-12. Children under 2 are free. Parking is $6. In winter months, admission prices, hours and operating days are reduced so be sure to check out the Indianapolis Zoo's website for specific information. The zoo also has Community Tuesdays once a month when admission is just $8 for each person.
The Indianapolis Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite animals. In addition to the animal exhibits, visitors won't want to miss the popular dolphin show. The show is free with admission but you must collect a ticket at the admission gate. Seating is limited. The zoo also has several rides include the White River Junction train ride, Kombo Family Coaster and a carousel. The rides require tickets available inside the zoo. The zoo also offers two special parks - the splash park, open when temperatures are warm and the fitness park, featuring a special slide and other equipment. Strollers, wheelchairs and electric carts are available for rent.
Indianapolis Zoo exhibits are arranged in biomes - a living habitat for the animals designed to replicate their natural habitats. Listed below are the four biomes of the Indianapolis Zoo:
- Both temperate and tropical forests are represented in the Forests Biome. Animals featured in this biome include Red pandas, tiny little deer called muntjacs, Asian small-clawed otters, gibbons, rainbow colored pea fowl, Alaskan brown bears, bats and an aviary which boasts an American bald eagle. The newest part of the biome is Tiger Forest, featuring Amur tigers.
- If you've never touched a live shark, this is your opportunity. The shallow shark touch pool is perfect for getting up close to the beautiful creatures. This biome also features a colorful sea horse exhibit, beautiful tropical fish, three species of penguins, polar bears, sea lions and seals. Also included is the world's only underwater dolphin viewing dome. Walk beneath the dolphins as they swim just inches away.
- Heat your trip up, with a visit to the desert. This authentic habitat is known worldwide for its successful research and breeding of some of the rarest reptiles. The dome - transparent and 80-foot in diameter, allows animals to bask in natural sunlight year around. In addition to the reptiles, the Deserts Dome also includes meerkats.
- Take a trip to Africa in the Plains biome. View zoo favorites including kudu, zebra, ostriches, vultures, cheetahs, elephants, storks, lions, wild dogs, baboons and the newest animal to the Plains biome, warthogs.
Dining options are available throughout the zoo. Visitors can enjoy a variety of foods from quick snacks to full meals. Visitors are not permitted to bring food into the zoo, but picnics are allowed at one of the tables located just outside the admission gates. For budget-conscious families, this is a great money-saving option.To get back into the Zoo afterwards, visitors should present their receipts at the admission gates.
The Indianapolis Zoo offers many great special events throughout the year including Animals and All That Jazz, ZooBoo, Zoobilation, Golfari and Christmas at the Zoo.