The Indianapolis Zoo is loaded with activities for the entire family, with an aquarium and botanic garden as well as a wide variety of animal exhibits. It’s home to 300 species housed within five biomes, large areas designed to mirror the habitats of the animals.
Explore the forests and observe red pandas hanging from the trees and Amur tigers prowling in the undergrowth. Step into the desert to see rare reptiles such as the Jamaican iguana, or roam the African plains where you’ll encounter zebras, cheetahs and giraffes. Kids will thrill to reaching out and actually touching the coarse skin of the sharks as they cruise by in the Ocean Biome.
If you arrive early, make the Forest Biome your first stop. Mornings are when the songbirds and insects are at their most vocal. And be sure to visit the Plains Biome before evening falls, as many of the animals head inside at dusk.
Don’t miss the entertaining daily shows in the Marsh Dolphin Adventure Theater. Children will also love the Kroger Splash Park, open in the warm months, when the temperature averages over 70 F (21 C). A change of clothes is advisable if you intend to visit this attraction. Jump aboard the White River Junction for an informative 10-minute train tour of the zoo, or test your nerves on the Kombo Family Roller Coaster; these rides cost extra.
After you’ve explored the wildlife in the zoo, head next door to the White River Gardens and soak up the serenity in the Hilbert Conservatory or find a spot to relax in the Shade Garden.
The Indianapolis Zoo is located on the riverbank within the White River State Park, one mile (1.6 kilometers) from downtown Indianapolis. The admission price includes entry to the garden and aquarium. The zoo is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the cooler months, and on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Café on the Commons is open year-round; there are other places to buy food and drink but they are open only in summer.