Latest Zoo News

​​​​​Click on any of the headlines below to learn more about today's hot topics:

Fabulous Flamingo Chick is the Newest Addition to Encounters

Our Flights of Fancy family has a new addition! On July 9, the Indianapolis Zoo welcomed the first Caribbean flamingo chick ever hatched here. If you look closely in the photo, you'll notice its "egg tooth" at the end of its beak, which all chicks have to help them peck their way into the world. Although we don't yet know if the bird is a male or female, this youngster is healthy and strong, topping the scales at a whopping 73.8 grams.. Flamingos are native to the Caribbean and Galapagos regions. When they hatch, the chicks are covered in a soft, white-gray plumage that will begin to turn a brilliant shade of pink around 9 months old. But you'll still be able to tell this newcomer apart from the rest of the flamboyance (yes, that's the real name for a group of flamingos) because it won't have it's full adult plumage until age 4. Make sure to check out the flamingo exhibit in Encounters this fall to see our newest Zoo baby! Thanks to our friend Community Health Network for sponsoring Zoo Babies! [close]

Let the Sounds of Jazz Surround Your Summer

Ready for an evening of family fun and the smooth styles of jazz? Then you’re in luck! Animals and All That Jazz presented by Indiana Members Credit Union is back for six Thursday nights, July 10 through Aug. 14.

This Zoo tradition will have live music from 5:30 to 8:30pm with animals out and rides available until 7pm. Zoo members have access to a free featured ride each night and with the Kroger Splash Park nearby everyone is sure to keep cool while listening to catchy tunes. This year’s lineup includes newcomers and crowd favorites, from Cynthia Layne and Direct Contact to Blair Clark and the Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra, that are sure to delight all ages.

In addition to regular Zoo fare and a cash bar, each concert features themed food stations with a variety of options available for purchase. Plus, adult guests can enjoy free beer sampling from Sun King Brewery.

Guests are welcome to sit at tables or bring lawn chairs to get comfortable for the show. If storms arise the festivities will simply move under the Party Pavilion near the Zoo’s entrance. Concerts are included with regular Zoo admission and free to Zoo members. Discount tickets are available at Indianapolis-area Indiana Members Credit Union locations, or guests can save $2 at the gate by bringing in a Dean’s milk jug to be recycled. Check out the Zoo’s Facebook for limited time discounts during both concert series! [close]

Put On Your Dancing Shoes — Zoolapalooza is Back!

There will be more than birds singing this summer. That's because the Zoo's annual concert series Zoolapalooza is back to offer music, food and fun for family members of all ages! Guests will be rockin' away every Friday through July 18. Concerts last from 5:30 to 8:30pm, with animals and rides available until 7pm. Zoo members have access to a different free ride each night. With plenty of exhibits nearby, as well as the Kroger Splash Park, guests can enjoy the full Zoo experience without missing a beat! This year's concert lineup includes a diverse mix of talented acts, including the Impalas, Jennie Devoe, 8 Miles High, Bahama Llama and West Central Quartet. These incredible entertainers will play everything from the oldies to today's hits with tunes that will have you jumping on the dance floor presented by Macy's!

In addition to regular Zoo fare and drink specials, each concert features specialty food options with tastes to tempt everyone. Plus, adults can also enjoy sampling each night from Sun King Brewery. In the event of inclement weather, the festivities will simply move under the Party Pavilion near the front of the Zoo. Concerts are included with regular Zoo admission and free to Zoo members. Check out the Zoo's Facebook for limited time discounts during both concert series! [close]

Healthy Living is Easy with the 5-2-1-0 Program

Looking for ways your family can live a little healthier? Let us help! Sign up for the 5-2-1-0 Countdown to Health Challenge! This free program offers motivation and shares tips to help you find the right balance between healthy eating and exercise. As you meet your goals you'll be entered to win special Zoo prize packs awarded each month as well as other exclusive opportunities, including the grand prize of a behind-the-scenes tour at the Zoo! So join the Indianapolis Zoo, WFYI and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in this initiative that focuses on eating healthy, limiting screen time, increasing physical activity and decreasing sugary drinks.

To begin, try eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day! Get your family together for at least one meal every day and involve your kids in the meal planning and preparation process. Next, limit recreational screen time to two or less hours a day and instead encourage at least one hour of physical activity per day. Throw the baseball, have a dance party, or take a family walk or bicycle ride to the nearest park! Finally, cut out sugary drinks. Adding these healthy habits into your lifestyle can decrease in stress, improve sleep quality and increase energy!

Even the Zoo's orangutan enjoy staying active and eating healthy foods. Some of their favorites include grapes, apples and even fruit smoothies! Two great examples are Knobi, who struggled with Type II diabetes, and Lucy, who was considered clinically obese, when they arrived the Zoo. Knobi now has her condition under control while "Lightning Lucy" has lost 100 pounds, both through a balanced diet and frequent exercise!

A combination of these 5-2-1-0 Countdown to Health steps will improve your family's overall lifestyle and will teach your kids healthy habits they can use for years to come. Visit the 5-2-1-0 Countdown to Health website to sign up and track your weekly activity with this form​! [close]

Receive $2 Off Admission by Supporting Area Students

Give back to local school children and earn $2 off Zoo admission during the Indy BackPack Attack — it's just that easy! Once again, the Indianapolis Zoo is supporting this remarkable organization for its annual school supplies drive to benefit  students across central Indiana, including many here in Indianapolis. From June 23 through July 18, the Zoo will collect donations of supplies at the Entry Plaza. An array of items are needed, from backpacks and notebooks to hygiene products and alarm clocks. Indy BackPack Attack will distribute all the donations to students on July 26. Since 1999 Indy BackPack Attack has collected over three million school supplies! Guests who donate will receive  one discount coupon per person for Zoo admission purchased at the front gate. Only one discount offer can be used per purchase. So when you're heading to the Zoo this summer remember to bring any extra school supplies you have to help area school students! [close]

Bring the Zoo Into Your Home with Pet Pals TV

If you just can’t get enough of all the adorable and amazing animals here at the Indianapolis Zoo, now you can find us on Pet Pals TV! Each week, Pet Pals brings you feel-good features about your favorite furry friends. Plus, you can go behind-the-scenes and learn more about some of the Zoo’s most incredible creatures with new segments each month. Check out this recent episode featuring all of the fun ways the Zoo provides enrichment for our animals. This episode also gives you examples of how you can encourage your pets at home to participate in enrichment activities! Pet Pals TV airs locally on Saturday mornings at 5:30am on WISH-TV and 9:30am on WNDY. Pet Pals also airs in five other Indiana cities as well as in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Idaho, Utah and Texas; so check local listings for schedules in your area. [close]

Four Warthog Piglets Are Our Newest Zoo Babies

We are excited to announce the birth of four adorable warthog piglets as exciting additions to the roster of newborn friends!  Born on May 1, the two male and two female piglets weighed about 4 pounds at 10 days old and continue to grow at a steady, healthy pace. As they grow, they will acquire two pairs of tusks from their upper and lower canine teeth. Warthogs get their name because of these wart-like lumps on top of their head that serve as protection as well as an excellent mechanism for digging! These intriguing mammals enjoy activities such as rooting in the dirt or grazing on hay while kneeling on their front wrist pads. If you see them dashing to a den or burrow with their tails held straight in the air, this means they feel threatened. Even though warthogs may seem ferocious they would rather skedaddle than engage in any sort of fight! These adorable Zoo Babies are presented by Community Health Network! They recently went on exhibit for the first time, so be sure to look for these new additions on your next Zoo visit. [close]

Experience the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

An epic adventure awaits inside the incredible Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which offers an unparalleled experience for both guests and orangutans. This one-of-a-kind facility has been years in the making, and now guests can experience for themselves why it's being called one of the most significant zoo exhibits in the world! This innovative new facility is already receiving nationwide media attention. The Center is sure to draw record-breaking crowds to the Indianapolis Zoo, and guests are encouraged to plan ahead for their visit and purchase advance tickets online to save both time and money.

An exclusive opportunity enables members to wake up with our group of orangutans. Beginning at 8am every Saturday and Sunday morning from May 24-Sept.1, members can see the apes rise and shine. Not only is this a full hour before the Zoo opens to the general public, but you'll also get the unique opportunity to watch the sleepy orangutans as they start their day — snuggled in blankets, big morning yawns, "aww" inspiring bedhead and all! If you're not a member yet, now is the perfect time to start your 12-month membership! Be among the first to explore the most important zoo exhibit in the world and discover why the Indianapolis Zoo is giving new hope for a species on the verge of extinction. [close]

New Weekend Zoo Shuttle Service Begins this Summer

The opening of the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center is sure to attract crowds here at the Indianapolis Zoo. We want your experience at the Center to be amazing, so with that in mind we want to provide our guests with the opportunity to avoid the hassle of searching for a parking spot. On weekends only, you can park for free at the Vermont Street Garage and hop on one of the Zoo Shuttles, which will depart every 25 minutes and run until 8pm. Simply take a seat and be whisked away on a short trip toward wondrous animal adventures.

When you’ve had your fill of our furry and feathered friends just pick up the Zoo Shuttle where you were dropped off – look for the sign just past the gift shop to the right of the Zoo’s exit. Don’t forget when you board the return shuttle to grab your parking voucher from the attendant for free weekend parking! Click the map for location of the garage, the weekend Shuttle route and walking paths. [close]

Learn What It Takes to Be a Zookeeper with Zooper Challenge 

Think you have what it takes to be a zookeeper? Upgrade your visit with a Total Adventure Package™ and explore the Indianapolis Zoo in an all-new way. Zooper Challenge is the interactive game experience that puts you into virtual zookeeper training for the day. Using your Total Adventure Package (TAP) wristband you'll unlock 14 animal stations and six keeper kiosks across the Zoo, for an amazing experience. Discover virtual animals that need your care, utilize behind-the-scenes information and answer exciting questions to show your zoo smarts.By the end of the adventure you'll receive an award for your efforts, and you just might work your way up to head keeper! Our real life zookeepers work extremely hard each day to provide professional care for animals. Important duties such as feeding, cleaning, enrichment, monitoring animal health, and educating the visitors are all part of a zookeeper's daily job. You can find out more information about working in zoos, aquarium or other places studying animal behavior by visiting the careers page of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums website. [close]

#MyIndyPrize Video Contest for Teens

The Indianapolis Prize and Indianapolis Star are partnering up to launch a video contest for teens! The contest includes creating a two minute video submission about animal conservation that addresses a specific species that is endangered, why the Indianapolis Prize is important and what animal conservation means to the contestant. Each video will be submitted through YouTube and will then be added to the Indianapolis Prize’s YouTube page on a playlist of all other submissions. There is a junior division ages 11-14 and a senior division ages 15-18.A winner from each division will be chosen and receive tickets to the Meet a Hero event at the Indianapolis Zoo where their video will be looping, four tickets to the Indianapolis Zoo and a Sony Handycam Camcorder from Roberts Camera​! To enter, visit the My Indy Prize page on the Indianapolis Star’s website and fill out a form including the link to the video. Submissions can be made through Aug. 15.

The Indianapolis Prize is the world's leading award given to a conservationist who has gone above and beyond for a species of animal every other year. The prize includes a $250,000 award along with the Lilly Medal. The 2014 Indianapolis Prize recipient is Dr. Patricia Wright. She works as a conservationist in Madagascar in an effort to save the lemurs as well as their rainforest habitat. ​[close]

Dr. Pat Wright Named Winner of 2014 Indianapolis Prize

After a long wait, Dr. Patricia Wright has been named the 2014 Indianapolis Prize winner! Wright has made lemurs her life. She was the first to discover the golden bamboo lemur and lobbied to protect a forest for lemurs in their native Madagascar habitat that is five times the size of Manhattan. This national park is now home to more than a dozen lemur species, which Wright still studies today.

Wright gained interest in animals when she became intrigued with a pet owl monkey. Fascinated with everything the monkey did, she went to Peru to see them in their natural habitat. After her visit to Peru, she decided to go back to school and study primatology. "My family thought I was crazy. I was almost 40 years old and here I was going back to graduate school," she said. While studying, the Duke Lemur Center took her to Madagascar, where she went on to discover the golden bamboo lemur and gained a passion to protect such beautiful creatures.

She created the Ranomafana National Park in 1991 to protect the rainforest and all the lemurs in it. Since its creation, 18 other national parks have been established. Wright also wanted to conserve the biodiversity that Madagascar offers, so she created the Centre Valbio. This center helps educate the local population and the world about the value of conservation in Madagascar.

The Indianapolis Prize jury, made up of distinguished conservation leaders, determined the winner of the 2014 Indianapolis Prize. Wright will be honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., to be held Sept. 27, 2014, in Indianapolis. [close]

Beautiful Butterflies are Back in White River Gardens

Immerse yourself in the beauty of butterflies as these wonderful winged insects return to White River Gardens! Our spectacular seasonal exhibition, Butterfly Kaleidoscope presented by Citizens Energy Group, is now open. We've transformed the indoor gardens into a tropical paradise to bring you butterflies in a way that you'll never forget! As you walk through the warm, aromatic indoor garden, 40 species of butterflies will flit nearby — and one might even land on you! Each day, new butterflies, like the blue morpho, monarch and great owl butterflies, will be released from the chamber. Come during our daily releases to see these lovely creatures take their first flight! Learn about the amazing metamorphosis of these magical creatures — from egg to larva to pupa to butterfly. Feel the soft flutter of their wings as they float by on their way to take a drink of nectar from stunning glass feeders. Don't forget your camera to capture the stunning colors and delicate details of these fascinating creatures! Plus the Hilbert Conservatory is the perfect place to escape and relax for an afternoon or even a few hours. Butterfly Kaleidoscope continues through Sept. 2, so make sure you plan ahead and

pick your day to see these beautiful creatures before they fly away! [close]

Put a Tiger on Your Trunk!

Thanks to input from Facebook fans, the Indianapolis Zoo is represented by the image of the beautiful and endangered Amur tiger on the Zoo s​pecialty license plate. The Zoo was one of 10 organizations approved for specialty license plates in 2012 by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The tiger plate is available for purchase through the BMV for $40, with $25 going directly to the Zoo to support food and medicine for the animals in its care. The Zoo is a nonprofit organization that receives no direct tax support, so contributions from programs like this are essential to supporting our conservation mission. In 2010, Hoosiers purchased 442,573 specialty plates that generated more than $11 million for the sponsoring organizations.​ [close]