The Indianapolis Zoo is a wildlife habitat in your own backyard.

A family looks up at the dolphins from under the water at the Indianapolis Zoo

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Here in Indianapolis, spending a day out at the zoo is a long-standing tradition for families all across the region. From majestic savanna animals to butterfly pavilions, the Indianapolis Zoo connects you and your family with wildlife big and small!

Located within White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the country, housing more than 1,400 animals and 31,000 plants. The zoo spans 64 acres of both indoor and outdoor animal habitats, as well as three acres of botanical gardens.

Since it was established in 1964, the zoo has grown into a world-class facility dedicated to animal conservation efforts. In 1996, the Indianapolis Zoo became the first institution  triple-accredited as a zoo, an aquarium, and a botanical garden. And now, visitors can either experience all three in a day or easily occupy themselves for hours at just one. 

People travel from all over to experience the zoo’s one-of-a-kind exhibits, like their daily dolphin shows and the largest group of orangutans in any American zoo. These exhibits simultaneously teach you about our animal neighbors and help conservation efforts.

Many of the Indianapolis Zoo’s exhibits double as both entertainment for guests and research hubs for conservationists. Their mission is to educate visitors about wildlife in creative and interactive ways, while also teaching people how to protect our environment. That’s why the zoo maintains green practices across its grounds and encourages visitors to learn more about their conservation efforts. They even began The Indianapolis Prize, which is considered the world’s leading animal conservation award!

Explore a world of animal habitats at the Indianapolis Zoo.

From red pandas to elephants, you can explore a world of wildlife right here in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Zoo is organized into five biomes, which represent different regions of the planet with similar habitats and wildlife. With a map in hand and a little bit of planning, you can easily organize your visit and travel from biome to biome—seeing the Oceans, Forests, Deserts, Plains, and Flights of Fancy exhibits.

When you first walk into the zoo, you’re immediately met by the indoor Oceans biome. There you can see seals dive underwater, freeze with frigid penguins, and touch a real shark! You can also head over to the dolphin pavilion and watch them from the world’s only underwater dolphin viewing dome.

In the Plains, you’ll be surrounded by animals that walk the African savanna, like giraffes, lions, and zebras. Then, you can work up a sweat in the hot, dry Deserts dome. If you dare to brave the reptile exhibit, you might even come face-to-face with one of the world’s deadliest snakes! 

Then, at the Flights of Fancy, there are birds of all shapes, sizes, and brilliant colors—from hornbills to budgies. When the season is right, you can feed the lorikeets straight from your hand or feed krill to the flamingos. 

And finally, your journey will take you deep into the tropical forests, where you’ll find tigers, macaws, and hollering gibbons. You can also visit their award-winning Orangutan Center, which was named one of the world’s most significant zoo exhibits!

An Orangutan walks the tightrope at the Indianapolis Zoo

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Mother and son watch a Sea lion at the Indianapolis Zoo

Enjoy fun for the whole family with interactive exhibits and rides.

Animals may be the zoo’s main attraction, but there are also fun things to do throughout the zoo! When you visit, be sure to check the daily schedule to see all of the free presentations going on that day. The zookeepers often host in-depth, educational chats about the different animals and their unique natures.

If you’re up for a challenge, you or your kids can try the Race-A-Cheetah game while learning about conservation efforts to save the cheetahs. The Orangutan Center features a 90-foot tall viewing atrium with an aerial cable ride, so you can get up-close and personal to the orangutans. And, of course, the dolphin pavilion offers high-flying shows for free with admission. Just be ready to get soaked if you sit in the splash zone!

And if you want to take a break, the Indianapolis Zoo has animal-themed rides like the Endangered Species Carousel and the Kombo Family Coaster. You can also experience a guided tour of the Plains biome on the White River Junction Train, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo’s operations.

The Indianapolis Zoo is a community destination all year long.

Over the years, the Indianapolis Zoo has established itself as a landmark for exploration, conservation, and education for Indy residents and visitors alike. Just a short drive from downtown Indianapolis, the zoo has become a centralized hub for community events and family fun.

One of our community’s favorite traditions is the annual ZooBoo, where children can go Halloween trick-or-treating with some real party animals! Kids can dress up in costume, ride a spooky train, and collect candy as they explore the zoo. And during the holiday season, the zoo transforms overnight with festive lights and activities for all ages. The Indianapolis Zoo began this tradition in 1967 as the first zoo in the nation to hold a holiday lights event, and it’s been a community favorite ever since.

A Cheetah Lays in the grass at the Indianapolis Zoo

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy