Latest Zoo News

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

 

Bring school supplies to the Zoo during your next visit to save $2 on admission and help children in the community! We are happy to serve as a 2016 distribution site for Indy BackPack Attack.

Items requested include backpacks, crayons, spiral notebooks, and moreGuests can drop off donations at the Zoo's Entry Plaza through July 15. Plus, each guest who donates an item to support the community will receive coupon for a $2 discount on Zoo admission! The coupon is valid for tickets purchased at the gate on the day of your visit and only one offer can be used per purchase

Indy BackPack Attack collaborates with Central Indiana organizations and businesses to collect school supplies and provide children the tools they need to succeed in school. Supplies are distributed directly to Indianapolis Public Schools and Mayor Sponsored Charter Schools.​ [close]

•​ Herds of Visitors Coming to Indy for Monumental Weekend

A herd of visitors is headed toward White River State Park as part of an exciting Monumental Weekend! From Friday, June 24, to Sunday, June 26, many of our downtown neighbors will welcome more than 200,000 guests for concerts, sporting events, festivals and more. As a member of White River State Park, we're proud to welcome everyone to Indianapolis!
Guests planning to visit the Zoo this weekend are encouraged to be patient, arrive early and expect traffic delays. During the busiest times of day, Zoo-goers can save time by approaching from the west and choosing different routes to the Zoo using Harding Street and North White River Parkway West Drive. Visitors who normally park at White River State Park may also want to look for alternative parking options.
The Zoo offers convenient parking options for those planning to attend evening events at Victory Field and the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn. Parking at the Zoo is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Convention participants will also receive a discount on Zoo admission by presenting their conference badge at our Entry Plaza. A complete planning guide for Monumental Weekend is available through the Visit Indy website. [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]

 Dance the Night Away at Zoolapalooza​

Kick off your summer weekends with a wild lineup of live music on Friday evenings! Our Zoolapalooza Concert Series presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers features hit songs the whole family will love. This popular concert series runs from June 17 through July 8.

Showcasing some of Indy's top bands, Zoolapalooza days are the perfect time to enjoy the Zoo. Come early to discover our many exhibits and then dance the night away in our Party Pavilion, located near the front of the Zoo. In addition to enjoying regular Zoo fare, drink specials and specialty food options, you can show off your dance moves!

Concerts are free for Zoo members and included with regular admission, so you can come play all day and dance all night! Guests can purchase discount tickets at Indiana Members Credit Union locations, but you can also save time and money on your visit by purchasing advance tickets online. [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]

•​ Dive Into The Zoo's New Lionfish Exhibit​

We have new reef-mates! As another exciting change to our Oceans area, we have introduced a lionfish exhibit! These stunning sea creatures like to hide among the rocky crevices and corals of their new exhibit, sometimes even floating upside down.

With their distinguishing red and brown stripes providing a perfect camouflage, lionfish rely on their quick reflexes to ambush prey, which are mainly fish and crustaceans. These incredible creatures are one of the top predators in many coral reef environments. Although lionfish usually live in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, they have been found in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly along the southeastern United States coast from Florida to North Carolina. Despite their beauty, lionfish can cause major problems as an invasive species, like gobbling up native fish populations and disrupting the Atlantic ecosystem.

Nearby the lionfish, guests can also find another new exhibit, the Living Reef. This exhibit is full of uniquely beautiful coral and colorful reef fish, which are vital to a healthy ocean ecosystem! Coral is fragile, so conservationists like Carl Safina, a finalist for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, help conserve the ocean and the species that live within it.

You can play a part, too! Certain plastics can cause harm to lionfish, coral, and other marine animals, and recycling is a simple way to help protect our world's precious waterways. Invasive animals like lionfish can harm habitats and native species, too. If you're considering a saltwater tank for your own home, choose animals that were raised by aquarists and do not release your pets into waterways. [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]​