May 25 • 10:30am-12:30pm
Tortoises, start your engines! This year marks the 37th "running" of the Zoopolis 500 presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana. 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 race.
On your way in, be sure to meet 500 Festival Princesses and take a photo in front of a pace car. Then, follow the tortoise and dairy fun facts back towards the Arena presented by DairyPure and TruMoo to enjoy pre-race festivities from 10:30-11:30am. The American Dairy Association will be handing out free milk chugs from DairyPure and TruMoo (while supplies last), enjoy a tire toss game and touch animal artifacts. At 11am, racing expert Mike King and Indianapolis 500 Champion Tony Kanaan will start the excitement as it buils up to the parade lap at 11:30am. Following the parade, Tony Kanaan will serve as Grand Marshal to start the race with the green flag and wave the checkered flag to signal our winner. Check out the video to relive all the action from the 2015 race!
It's always exciting to cheer on the tortoises as they race up, down and around the straight track! But these natives of Madagascar aren't racing for a trophy. Instead, they're after the delicious fruits waiting in the winner's circle. As they race down the course, see if 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 be happy to answer any tortoise-related questions and tell you all about our efforts to help these endangered animals. Later in the day at 1pm, Keepers will be back out infront of Deserts to host a Tortoise Chat with these great athletes.
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!