On a recent visit to Indiana’s capital city, I was delighted to learn that I would be able to check out the Indianapolis Zoo. I had heard about how incredible it was from family in the area and could not wait to see it for myself. It was truly all that I hoped it would be and more!
Location: The Indianapolis Zoo is located on Washington St. in the heart of downtown Indy. This is the first big town zoo that I have ever visited that families can walk to if they are staying at a hotel downtown. An easy stroll through White River State Park will land you right at the front gates!
Great Spots to Check out:
The zoo has so many fun areas to visit, and a few of them stand out for me. Daily dolphin shows at the Marsh Dolphin Theater are fun and informative. Indy Zoo has the only indoor dolphin dome- an enclosed, covered area that the dolphins swim over and under. The show lasted around 20 minutes and was just the right amount of time for smaller children. I loved watching the dolphins play and flip out of the water and it’s great to know how well they are taken care of. Avid dolphin fans can pay an additional fee to have an in-water dolphin experience, which I was happy to partake in. With wet suit and life jacket on, I was able to pet them and they were so calm and friendly that I really didn’t want to leave! The trainers even had one kiss me on the cheek- talk about an awesome photo op!
The latest project for the zoo, expected to be completed and available for viewing in late May is the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, or IOC for short. My visit allowed me to preview the orangutans that will be on exhibit and, I have to say, they are so much fun! Watching them climb and interact with each other was an amazing experience. I was able to sit on the floor and look them in the eyes while they hung out by the windows. The orangutans are very curious when it comes to clothing and love shiny buttons and zippers, so it was fun to show them my jacket’s zipper and watch their expressions change. The coolest part if the IOC is definitely the gondola ride that will allow visitors to ride around and view the area and hopefully catch a glimpse of the orangutans hanging out in their outdoor climbing area.
Along with the 2 spectacular areas, there’s a butterfly conservatory, the Desert Biome, walk throughs featuring amphibians and reptiles, and loads of other animals in nicely laid-out paths. A large on-site aquarium is a great spot to take a quick break and pet small sharks, and a small ride area is also fun for the kids. A gift shop and dining areas are good stops to check out the zoo-themed toys and other items or grab a quick snack or meal.
Other Information and Pricing
The Indy Zoo has 2 price tiers- Standard admission and a Total Adventure Package. Standard admission is $16.70 for adults and $12.70 for kids 2-12 and includes admission to the zoo, aquarium, gardens, and show. The Total Adventure Package is $26.70/$22.70 and grants access to the aforementioned areas plus all rides and animal feeds. Weekday visits are less expensive and less crowded, so if you’re visiting and can swing a weekday visit, it’s a good idea.
The zoo does not allow coolers to be brought on their grounds, but they will happily provide you with a hand stamp with all day in-and-out privileges if you would like to leave a cooler in your car or eat off-site. A parking fee of $6.00 per vehicle is also charged per day.
And the Verdict is…?
Zoorific! I loved visiting the animals, learning about their natural habitats, and just strolling through the zoo. The IOC is fun and informative, and the in-water dolphin experience is something I will never forget! I cannot wait to visit with my family again!
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary admission to the zoo as a guest of Visit Indy and Indianapolis Zoo. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and, as always, my opinions are my own!
Our family loves exploring new zoos, and our visit to Indy was not the exception. We enjoyed spending half the day exploring the Indianapolis Zoo.
Nitty Gritty: The zoo is located at the White River State Park in downtown and there's plenty of parking for $6. Admission costs $10 for adults and $8 for kids over 2. We loved that admission included access to the White River Gardens.
We've been to zoos much larger than this and with more animals, and it sometimes becomes so overwhelming. The Indy Zoo was just the right size for our two toddlers. Our favorite area of the zoo was the Plains area with my sons' favorite animals including the giraffes, lions, cheetahs, and elephants. We were even lucky enough to catch a baby elephant learning how to pick up a stick with its trunk. It was the cutest thing ever! Besides animal watching, the zoo does offer other activities such as a carousel, play areas, and even a roller coaster. The big hit, of course, was the train ride ($2.50.)
One of the most unique features about the Indy Zoo that we haven't seen elsewhere was the underground viewing area for the dolphins. It was awesome having them swimming right above us! There is also an aquarium on site where we not only saw different types of fish, but was also able to pet sharks.
You really get the most from your money, because not only will you find a zoo, but also an aquarium, along with the White River Gardens (which we didn't get a chance to see). Plus dolphin shows are included!
Bottom line: What a fun way to spend an afternoon. Besides seeing animals, there is a variety of other activities families can enjoy. And the best part is it won't break the bank.
**Note** There was a bit of construction happening at the time since they are building a brand new orangutan exhibit in May 2014.
Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to the Indianapolis Zoo in order to facilitate this review, and I was not asked to provide a particular point of view. All opinions are 100 % my own.
Great Zoo, My Daughter and I have a great time there. She was 9 months when she first went and loved all the animals.
Clean and friendly and so much to see and do.
We love the Dolphin show and the African Plains!
Love the people too, very kind and helpful!
We make sure we go at least once a year!
This zoo is fantastic for children under 12.
There is a small water park area for small children and the
Animal exhibits are very nice and exciting to explore.
This is not the San Diego Zoo, so don't compare, however,
this place has a lot for everyone. The dolphin show is fun.
Go during Christmas at the Zoo - everything is lit up!
My daughter and I enjoyed the Indianapolis Zoo so much! She was one at the time and loved every minute of it! The Zoo has all the animals you would hope to see. Plus, a lovely garden area and a butterfly exhibit. Definitely plan to take along your strollers for your young children, as there is MUCH to see and do and little legs will get tired rather easily I am sure. Her favorite animals to see were the elephants, flamingos, fish, and giraffes! I cannot wait to make another trip now that my son has joined our family! It is a great day trip to take with your family!
We have been to the Indianapolis Zoo several times and my daughter loves it just as much as the time before! The animal displays are fabulous and the touring displays are usually very good. There is a wonderful playground for kids to work off additional energy and the food court is quite reasonable. The dolphin show is always popular and the aquarium is especially fun. We loved being able to pet the dog sharks! This is a fun trip for kids of any age!
This zoo is great for the whole family. Interesting things for all ages to do. In the summer they have a great splash area for the kids to run around on and take a break from a hot day. Definitely worth buying the membership if you live close to it. I do and love going there and parking and walking along the canals in Indy or having a picnic with friends. The zoo has a great dolphin show and many other neat things for kids to do.
While this is a nice zoo, it isn't huge, and doesn't have a huge assortment of animals. We have very young children, so the size of the zoo is great for us. We can see everything without the kids getting too worn out. The dolphin show is great, and my almost 3 year old loves the aquarium, and petting the sharks. The habitats are big and well maintained. It's a little pricey, but we go at least once a year, and always enjoy it.
This is a great place to go in the summer or early fall. You cant help but to fall in love with the animals and your children's impressions of them. Discount tickets are always available if you search hard enough. Parking is quite pricey though. Lots of animals to see and plenty of fun food and shops to go to. It does cost a bit but totally worth the fun
We try to take a road trip to this zoo at least once a year. My 3 year old daughter loves looking at different kinds of animals. It's always fun to see what different zoos have to do. You can spend a great family day (or weekend) here and just enjoy the sites!
We really enjoyed our time at the Indianapolis Zoo, even though was during one of the hottest days of summer. we really enjoyed and would recommend the dolphin show. It's free and was packed (although after seeing The Cove, I totally see dolphins in captivity in a different way). parking was packed and bring snacks as food is tough to find and expensive. Overall, a great zoo and experience!
The Indy Zoo has lots of displays to check out. My older kids loved the activities that there were to do. There favorite was when they got to run a race with a cheetah. My little one loved that there were some animals that you could get up close to and even touch. The only down side was food selection was limited the day we were there and it was kinda high priced but all places like this charge a lot.
This is a fairly nice zoo with plenty of family friendly activities. The zoo train is fun to ride with the kids. The parking is convenient but a little expensive. The price of the admission to the zoo is a little high but cheaper if you are a member (you would have to live close to make membership worthwhile).
Their dolphin show is wonderful! It was also a great break from the hot sun the day we went. The side of the walls of the tank are clear...the kids loved to watch the dolphins swim. This zoo is great because it's not huge...you won't get worn out from a lot of walking like most large zoo's. I hear they've added a water spray playground for the kids. We'll be hitting up this zoo again this year for sure!
Nice zoo,but not a zoo for a hot day. It doesn't have a lot of shade for the little ones. The food is also on the high side. I would bring your own lunch if your looking for healthy food. The gift shop is very nice with small items to large items.
Beat the crowd by going in the Spring! We even got rained on a little our first time there but we certainly servived and its a day we still talk about! The Cafe is wonderful...delicious and reasonably priced for its convenience! Our children always have a wonderful time when we drive down for the weekend! Also, Carribean Cove Hotel has great packages for the childrens zoo and the museum! Check them out!
one of the better zoos in the US. Tons of animals to see, and there are giraffe feedings as well at certain times. White river park is close by too. And if the kids get tired of seeing animals, there is a small play area for them to play in. There is also a train to ride as well.
Love love this Zoo! It is a great Zoo and is so clean. The animals always seem really well taken care of. There is a small train and small rides for younger children. There are so many animals and things to do. I love the fact that all the flower beds and gardens are always trimmed and taken care of. It gives the zoo a great fun atmosphere!
The indinapolis zoo can't boast the variety of animals or cutting edge habitats of some of the big city zoos on the coasts, it is a nice little zoo. All the staple favorites are here: giraffes, lions, tigers, zebras. It is small enough that little legs won't get too tired.
Be sure to get tickets for the dolphin show when you pay your entrance fee. And don't miss the oceans pavillion where you can touch a shark. On hot days dress you kids in their swim suit as there is a nice little water play area near the cafeteria.
The cafeteria is typically expense and generic hamburgers etc. We suggest you brown bag it - although you do have to eat outside the zoo grounds. There is a small picnic area at the entrance. Parking fills up quickly on summer weekends but at other times is adequate.