Latest Zoo News

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

•​ Show Your Pride During Lion Awareness Day

Come honor some of the world’s most incredible predators at Lion Awareness Day​ presented by MainSource Bank from 10am-2pm on Saturday, Aug. 6. Learn more about our five lions and the pride’s dynamic during our special lion chats at 10am and 1:30pm. Hear amazing vocalizations and see behaviors these big cats have learned for wellness checks. Plus, be sure to stop by our Plains exhibit for complimentary face painting and special prizes!

Lions have been a symbol of strength for thousands of years, yet lions are now vulnerable to extinction and their numbers are declining. Join us Aug. 6 for a day dedicated to these beautiful big cats, and celebrate the importance of our lions and lion conservation. ​[close]

 Indianapolis Zoo named 2016 Indy A List winner​

Have you herd? The Indianapolis Zoo was named an Indy A List winner! We're honored to have been voted Best Family Entertainment for 2016.

The Indy A-List features more than 6,000 businesses competing for the title of Indianapolis' best. There was a stampede of Indianapolis locals who cast more than 100,000 votes to show support for their favorite business and organization nominees.

This is our fifth award from The Indy A List – fur real! Indianapolis Zoo was voted Best Family Entertainment in 2013 and Best Family Fun in 2012. We also ranked second for awards in 2014 and 2008. Plan your visit today and discover why the Zoo is a "Great place to visit no matter what your age!" [close]

 Animals and All That Jazz is a Swingin' Time​

Bring your flock and enjoy a longstanding Zoo tradition as Animals and All That Jazz presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers returns for the 29th year! This swinging concert series runs Thursday nights from July 7 to Aug. 4.

Featuring sensational music from all genres of jazz, Animals and All That Jazz days are the perfect time to enjoy the Zoo. Come early to discover our many exhibits and then sit back to enjoy a relaxing evening of live music from 5:30-8:30pm in our Party Pavilion, located near the front of the Zoo. Not only do concert nights offer drink specials and specialty food options, but our extended hours also allow you to enjoy the whole Zoo and all our animals further into the evening! Animals will remain out and rides will be open until 7pm each night.

Concerts are free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Guests can save money at the front gate by bringing a Dean's milk jug to recycle for $2 off Zoo admission or by using the White River State Park coupon, which offers $4 off admission after 4pm on concert nights. Plus, you can also save time and money on your visit by purchasing advance tickets online. [close]

 Curious Giraffe Calf Mshangao is Healthy, Growing Fast​

As summer begins, our 5-month-old giraffe, Mshangao, continues to grow healthy and strong, standing well over 7 feet and weighing upwards of 500 pounds. Zookeepers say he is adventurous and enjoys exploring the giraffe yard with his new friend, an Addra gazelle. Mshangao is the sixth calf — all males — for 18-year-old mother Takasa and is the first giraffe born at the Zoo since 2011.

Mshangao is also exceptionally curious! Zoo-goers may often feel Mshangao's gaze on them from afar, and he occasionally wanders over during public feeds with other members of the herd. Mshangao has already exceeded several expectations, such as chewing on tree trimmings earlier than the four to five months it typically takes for newborns to eat solid food. He also discovered early on how to use his long, prehensile tongue to strip the bark from bigger branches — an important skill for giraffes.

While the zoo received several name suggestions, Mshangao (ma-SHAN-goe), meaning "amazement" or "surprise" in Swahili, was chosen during a public naming poll on the Zoo's Facebook page. The poll drew nearly 4,000 votes in total. The giraffe exhibit and feedings are presented by Meijer. Indianapolis Zoo babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health.​ [close]

•​ Adorable Orangutan Baby Mila is Starting to Explore

The Indianapolis Zoo is excited to announce the first orangutan birth for the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan CenterSirih, the Zoo's 23-year-old Sumatran orangutan gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 5:07pm on March 23. Sirih is a very attentive mom and is doing everything an orangutan mother should do.

Now nearly 3 months old, baby Mila recently started teething. She's also becoming more active every day. She has started to climb and explore a little on her own, though she always stays very close to mom. Sirih and Mila go out into the public spaces of the Center on most days, however we expect there will be days when Sirih chooses to stay behind the scenes. Guests can catch glimpses of baby clinging tightly to mom by looking for her distinguishable lighter colored hair.

Thousands of Zoo fans helped name this adorable newcomer. The name Mila (pronounced MEE-lah) which means "dear one" in Indonesian.

Orangutan mothers spend seven to 10 years actively bringing up a baby. Sirih will model what life as an orangutan looks like for her daughter, as the youngster learns to climb, build nests and interact with surroundings including the other apes, Keepers and Zoo visitors.

Sirih and first-time father, 14-year-old Basan, were recommended as a breeding pair through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan, a program ensuring a sustainable, genetically diverse and demographically varied AZA population. Thanks to our friends at Hendricks Regional Health for presenting Zoo Babies. [close]​

 Find a Favorite Wild Painting Among Naturally Inspired Art​

Need a little inspiration this summer? Come enjoy our Naturally Inspired Art exhibit presented by The Great Frame Up Broad Ripple & Downtown! Earlier this spring, 15 talented artists transformed blank canvases or hunks of clay into extraordinary works of art inspired by nature, right here at the Zoo and White River Gardens.

Also among the exhibit’s artworks are creations from some of our more artistically inclined animals – you will see an elephant Escher, a rhino Rousseau, and many others!

Want to support animal conservation with a painting or sculpture in your own home? Then join us for the annual Silent Auction and Artists’ Reception. In addition to bidding on your favorite artwork, you’ll get to meet the artists, mingle with other zoo patrons, and get after-hours access to Hilbert Conservatory.

This temporary exhibit, which continues through Aug. 24, is free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Save time and money on your visit by purchasing advance tickets online. [close]

•​ Search for Zoo Clues for a Chance to Win a Behind-The-Scenes Tour

Add some extra fun and adventure to your next Zoo visit with Zoo Clues! For the second year, we are partnering with Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health to bring your family a new challenge as part of the Change the Play program, which encourages kids to make healthier choices about nutrition and exercise. Zoo Clues is just one of many activities that can be done in Indiana throughout this eight-week challenge.

Zoo Clues will take you and your family on a scavenger hunt throughout the Zoo. Let the map be your guide to solving each riddle. You'll explore many areas of the Zoo, from the depths of our Oceans to the heat of our Deserts!

Plus, make sure you write down answers as you go as guests who complete the Zoo Clues challenge can also enter for a chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the Zoo with this Change the Play activity. See you soon, detectives! [close]

​•​ Connect to the Wild World in a New Way With Nature Connects®

Here at the Indianapolis Zoo, it's all about making connections — to animal conservation and our community. So our new temporary exhibit fits in perfectly! Join us this summer to enjoy the Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® bricks exhibit presented by Citizens Energy Group and Indiana Members Credit Union. This engaging and educational exhibit features 12 animal sculptures constructed with hundreds of thousands of LEGO® bricks. 

Visitors will see a polar bear and her cubs, sea horses floating by a coral reef and a snow leopard, to name a few. Artist Sean Kenney's remarkable creations will all be set amid the stunning scenery of White River Gardens. Plus, the little ones can build their own conservation-inspired creation using LEGO® bricks inside the Family Nature Center.​

This temporary exhibit, which continues through Labor Day, is free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Save time and money on​ your visit by purchasing advance tickets online. [close]

•​ New Presentation Will Highlight Connection to Dolphins in the Gulf

As a global conservation organization, the Indianapolis Zoo often reaches beyond the borders of Indiana to preserve a future for wild things and wild places. And beginning this summer, Zoo guests will learn how they, too, can help animals and an ecosystem hundreds of miles away.

The Indianapolis Zoo and The Nature Conservancy, both known for leadership in protecting wildlife globally, are partnering to increase awareness for conservation efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, which has lost huge portions of its wetlands, sea grass beds and oyster reefs. When guests come to the Zoo's Dolphin Pavilion to connect with our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, they will also learn about the role Indiana plays in ensuring a healthy Gulf and be empowered to help make a difference for dolphins.

Dolphins living in the Gulf face many threats, including oil spills and pollutants. Living upstream, Hoosiers have a lasting impact on the health of the Gulf and the dolphins that make it their home. Indiana's Wabash River contributes 11 percent of the nutrients that create dead zones in the Gulf, leaving large areas where marine life cannot live, thrive or eat.

To help highlight the connection, the Zoo and TNC have worked together during the last year to bring the story back to Indiana with new Zoo programs and an incredible new dolphin presentation. With images filmed on location in the Gulf and displayed through an enhanced video-and-sound experience, we'll take guests on a trip through Indiana and down to the Gulf to meet people committed to making a difference for dolphins hundreds of miles away from Midwest.

The new dolphin presentation will be unveiled this summer. Come celebrate the world we share together and see how the blue thread of water connects us all. [close]

•​ Our Lion Pride is Three Times Cuter with Cubs

Our lion cubs are growing up quickly! Now weighing between 70-85 pounds, Zoo veterinarians and keepers are pleased with the progress of our two males and one female African lion cubs. The trio has begun eating meat, exhibit stalking behaviors and continue to grow more active with each passing day. These are the first lions born at the Zoo since 2003.

Through a poll on the Zoo's Facebook page, the public helped to choose the names of the cubs. For the male names, Enzi (ehn-ZEE), meaning "powerful", and Mashaka (mash-AH-kah), meaning "troublemaker", received the most votes while Sukari (sue-CAR-ee), meaning "sweet", was the top female name.

Now 7 months old, the cubs are outside regularly with first-time parents Zuri and Nyack. They are becoming more adventurous and have even started climbing on the rocks and limbs in their exhibit, presented by MainSource Bank. Mashaka is the mischievous cub and enjoys playing with dad's mane. Both Mashaka and Enzi enjoy wrestling with each other, while Sukari likes hanging out and lying beside mom. 

In the wild, lions live in family groups, called prides. Males, distinguishable by their thick, dark manes, are the defenders of the pride and its territory, while the females hunt and provide for the group. Yet, the youngsters still rely on their mother for survival. Zuri has shown excellent maternal behavior and is a caring, protective mom. Nyack is very tolerant of the cubs and allows for them to investigate and play with him. Both have gotten more comfortable with the trio exploring the longer they've been on exhibit. 

Guests can see the family in the newly renovated exhibit presented by MainSource Bank, where windows and expanded viewing areas allow for guests to get closer to the lions than ever before.

Indianapolis Zoo babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health. [close]

​​​​•​ Indianapolis Zoo Earns AZA's Quarter Century Award

The Indianapolis Zoo is pleased to announce it has earned the Quarter Century Award, recognizing 25 years or more of continuous accreditation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Initially accredited by AZA in 1981, the Zoo was accredited most recently in 2015, marking 34 years of continual accreditation for the Zoo and renewing its commitment to the advancement of animal conservation. Additionally, the Zoo was selected as the recipient of the AZA's 2015 Exhibit Award for Innovation for the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which opened in May 2014.​

The Quarter Century Award was established in 2015, and the Zoo joins a group of 119 of the nation's top zoos and aquariums in receiving the award. For the Zoo's accreditation, it underwent a thorough review by the AZA's independent Accreditation Commission to ensure the Zoo has and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, safety and other areas. The AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this extensive process every five years to remain accredited.​ Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium to know you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things.​

The Zoo, which is home to nearly 1,400 animals and 31,000 plants, was the first in the nation to be triple accredited as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. It's also one of the largest zoos in the U.S. that receives no direct tax support. In addition to being a leader in global conservation, the Indianapolis Zoo is one of the state’s largest attractions, hosting more than a million visitors annually. ​[close]​