May 23 • 10:30am-12:30pm
Tortoises, start your engines! Zoopolis 500, presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana, is held annually the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend. This unique Zoo event and race-fan favorite includes a morning of family-friendly pre-race festivities leading up to "the Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing".
Each year, you can meet 500 Festival Princesses and take a photo in front of a pace car. Then, discover animal fun facts as you head back toward the Arena presented by DairyPure and TruMoo for the pre-race festivities, including a tire toss game and animal artifacts. Plus, the American Dairy Association Indiana will hand out free milk chugs from DairyPure and TruMoo (while supplies last). At 11am, racing expert Mike King and Indianapolis 500 Champion Tony Kanaan begin their pre-race commentary leading up to the parade lap at 11:30am. Following the parade, Tony Kanaan serves as Grand Marshal to start the race with the green flag and wave the checkered flag to signal our winner.
It's always exciting to cheer on the tortoises as they race up, down and around the straight track! But these natives of Madagascar don't race for a trophy. Instead, they're after the delicious fruits waiting in the winner's circle. As they race down the course, you can catch a glimpse of their beautifully marked shells, which have star-patterned stripes radiating from the center (hence their name). Because of these markings, radiated tortoises are considered to be one of the world's most beautiful tortoises.
After the race, a "pit crew" member will join the American Dairy Association in the Winner's Circle to drink a glass of milk on behalf of the winning tortoise. Our Desert Zookeepers will also answer any tortoise-related questions and tell you all about our efforts to help these endangered animals.
The Zoopolis 500 is one of our oldest and most popular events, and has been highlighted by Top Events USA website as one of the top in Indianapolis! And the best part is all of the day's activities are included with your regular Zoo admission. See what makes the Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing such a beloved event at the Zoo!