A popular attraction in Indiana is the Indianapolis Zoo, located in White River State Park in Indianapolis. Covering 64 hectares, this attraction offers many attractions, such as the zoo, the aquarium and a botanical garden.
The highlights are the more than 2,000 animals, which consist of 250 species and around 31,000 plants. These animals live in five major biome areas that have been recreated as the animals’ original range. There are areas like the desert, forests, oceans and flat plains.
More than a million visitors come to the zoo in Indianapolis every year. The aim of the Indianapolis Zoo is therefore not only to show animals, but also to be an institution of conservation and education in order to bring animal welfare and the preservation of nature closer to many visitors.
Come and visit the Indianapolis Zoo, Aquarium and Botanical Gardens. Worth it! An ideal excursion destination for families with children with its beautiful animal enclosures, extensive information, friendly animal keepers and many attractions worth seeing.
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Areas at the Indianapolis Zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo is divided into different areas that have been built according to the concept of biomes. Biomes are areas that replicate a climate and plant environment similar to that of animals in their original home region. There are five different areas in total: Forests, Oceans, Oceans, Deserts and Plains. We present these individual areas to you here:
The Oceans exhibit opened in 2007 and features the country’s largest canine shark. It’s also home to the Efroymson Gallery, which has a large aquarium that’s home to rays and wobegong sharks. Another area, the reef exhibit, features a whole pod of green moray eels. There are also several marine mammal exhibits, including California sea lions, seals and walruses.
Several reptiles, meerkats and birds live in the desert area. Paths with many information boards lead through this area. Several free-roaming reptiles and free-flying birds make this area even more interesting.
In the forest area temperate and tropical forests of the world are represented. Here you can see colorful macaws, gibbons, Alaskan brown bears and red pandas. The many songbirds that live here always sing here early in the morning.
The Plains area is home to many wild animals such as cheetah, giraffe, rhino, lion, ostrich, wildebeest, zebra, vulture and a herd of elephant. The animals can be observed wonderfully on designated visitor platforms.
Flights of Fancy
Flights of Fancy is an aviary that provides a habitat for many birds. The highlight here is feeding the birds yourself, as the exotic bird species from all over the world fascinate young and old alike.
In addition to the biomes, there are other exhibitions that we present to you here:
Dolphin Adventure Pavilion
The highlight of the Indianapolis Zoo is the large Dolphin Pavilion, with its underwater dome. Visitors standing in the dome can watch dolphins below the water surface. The dome has a diameter of 9.1 m and a height of 3.7 m. The highlight for young and old is the daily dolphin show. Make sure to be on time for the show, as seating in the Dolphin Pavilion is limited.
International Orangutan Center
At the beginning of September 2012, the planning and construction of an International Orangutan Center began. It is not only intended to be used for viewing the animals, but also as a research center for orangutan protection. This new exhibition area was opened in 2014. Nine orangutans now live here, and you can watch them from the new observation tower and the cable car.
White River Gardens
The White River Gardens are now part of the zoo grounds and offer breathtaking nature on three hectares of land with great attractions such as the Hilbert Conservatory and the DeHaan Zoo. In addition, hundreds of plant species grow here and there are always special exhibitions throughout the year.
For families with children, the Family Nature Center is here, which exhibits Indiana’s wildlife and habitats. The Family Nature Center is included with zoo admission.
The Hilbert Conservatory is the luminous centerpiece of the White River Gardens. Inside, exotic palm trees and lush landscaping are set in a warm tropical setting.
In the DeHaan Tiergarten area, which was named after the DeHaan Family Foundation, the variety of plants and garden designs changes depending on the season.
Research at the Indianapolis Zoo
Various research programs for the conservation and animal welfare of the animals are carried out at the Indianapolis Zoo. To this end, the Indianapolis Zoo participates in species protection programs. In addition, the world’s first successful artificial insemination of an African elephant was carried out here.
History of the Indianapolis Zoo
In 1944, newspaper columnist Lowell B. Nussbaum came up with the idea of developing his own zoo in Indianapolis. He began writing his opinions about a zoo through his Inside Indianapolis column. The population was so impressed by the article that the “Articles of Incorporation for the Indianapolis zoological society, INC” was founded, a group that took care of the creation of a zoo. Soon the members of this group had mapped out their zoo’s future plans and finalized funding.
In 1964 the zoo opened its doors for the first time in George Washington Park on East 30th Street. In the first year, more than 270,000 visitors came to explore Indianapolis’ new attraction. The first inhabitants of the zoo at that time were Asian elephants, penguins, kangaroos, foxes, raccoons, camels, bison, deer, lambs, turtles, llamas, prairie dogs, pygmy goats and buffalo.
By the zoo’s 20th anniversary, its animal collection had doubled in size and it was realized that the zoo needed a new location where it could continue to grow. In 1982 international zoo, aquarium and animal welfare authorities met to find a new location for the Indianapolis Zoo. Shortly thereafter, White River State Park was chosen as the new site for the zoo. In 1985, construction began on the new zoo, which opened in 1988 with a size of 26 hectares.
After the construction of the Waters building and the Dolphin Pavilion, the zoo received the aquarium extension. In 1996, it was the first institution to be accredited three times as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The White River Gardens were initially considered a separate facility. You are now officially part of the Indianapolis Zoo.
Institution Indianapolis Zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo is an institution recognized as a zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Alliance of Museums. The zoo is a private non-profit organization that receives no tax assistance and is supported solely by membership dues, approvals, donations, sales, grants, and an annual fundraiser.
Indianapolis Zoo opening hours
The zoo is always open except Mondays and Tuesdays during the cooler months, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Directions to the zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo is located at 1200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222, on the banks of the White River. About 1 mile west of downtown in beautiful White River State Park. It is easily accessible by car, bicycle or on foot.
From the North: Take Interstate 65 South to Exit 114. Go South on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. St./West St. to Washington St. and turn west towards Washington until you get to the entrance.
From the South: Take Interstate 65 North to I-70 West to exit 79A (West St.). Head north on Missouri St./West St. to Washington St. Turn west (left) toward Washington and continue to the zoo entrance.
From the East: Take Interstate 70 West and exit on West St., then go north to Washington St and turn west (left) toward Washington. Now drive just one more mile to the zoo entrance.
From the West: Take Interstate 70 East to Exit 79A (West St.). Go north on Missouri St./West St. to Washington St. Turn west (left) toward Washington and you’ll arrive in approximately 1 mile.
The address of the attraction Indianapolis Zoo
1200 W Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222