Latest Zoo News

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

•​ Enjoy Four Weekends of Halloween with Your Family at the Zoo ​

October means a month of tricks, treats and fall fun at the Zoo! ZooBoo presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers, one of our most beloved fall festivities, is back for its 35th year with four weekends of Halloween fun! The Zoo opens daily at 9am, and you can enjoy special themed activities from 2-7pm every Friday-Sunday through Oct. 30.

Come watch our brown bears bobbing for apples, or the pumpkin-splattering fun of the Elephant Pumpkin Smash presented by Sam's Club. Climb aboard the Spooktacular Train Ride presented by MedExpress for a ride that includes some Halloween surprises and a special treat. Stroll through Spooktacular Square presented by Macy's, located in front of Kombo Coaster, for Pumpkin Bowling and goulish, goofy dancing to our DJ! With these and so many more festive favorites, the whole family is sure to have a wild time.

Children are also encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and bring a reusable goodie bag to gather a few treats along the Trick-or-Treat Trail presented by Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent.

ZooBoo is included with regular Zoo admission and free to Zoo members. Discount tickets are available at participating Donatos and Indiana Members Credit Union locations across Central Indiana. Or you can save time and money by purchasing advance tickets online.  [close]

​•​​ Looking for Motivated Young Adults for Spring Internships​

Do you have an interest in the zoo field and are looking for more career experience? Then look no further than the Zoo. We're now accepting applications for spring interns! The Zoo's internship program offers a unique opportunity for college students as well as recent graduates interested in enhancing their knowledge and experience in various animal care or administrative roles.

From veterinary care to human resources, conservation education to marine mammal care and much more, we're looking for enthusiastic, self-motivated young adults to join our team across all departments.  You'll experience a hands-on, fully immersive internship experience that will pair learning in a career​ field with an exciting atmosphere you already love.

Voted by Vault as one of the Top 10 Non-Profit Internship programs in the United States, the Zoo's internship program is committed to the success of its interns and their growth during their time at the Zoo.

Interns work 20-40 hours per week for 12 consecutive weeks. Positions are experience-based and are therefore unpaid. 

To apply, please complete and submit the internship application  before Nov. 10.For more information, contact Adam Garrett in Volunteer Services at or 317-630-2041. [close]

•​Wild Changes are Under Way With the Start of our Bicentennial Pavilion

​As the seasons begin to change and summer turns to fall, an innovative transformation is beginning at the Zoo. Construction has started on our new Bicentennial Pavilion, which will become an all-seasons destination for family experiences and wild encounters.

When the Bicentennial Pavilion opens to the public in the summer of 2017, guests will also have the chance to experience brilliant birds in a brand new way. Seven species of macaws — 60 birds in all — will join the Zoo's flock and take part in the Magnificent Macaws presentations. Guests will see the macaws' in-air artistry in action as they soar high above the Pavilion from destinations all over the Zoo. Watch for more details soon about these daily encounters. 

While work continues on the new Pavilion, activity will be focused near the front of the Zoo where foundations are starting to form. This spectacular structure, which will take the place of our existing Party Pavilion, will​ provide opportunities for a new Zoo experience in the colder and wetter months. The 40,000 square foot pavilion will off​er unique animal programming and a community events space surrounded by beautiful landscaping. 

During the transition, all of our exhibits will stay open, though guests will need to use the north pathway between the Sea Lion and Walrus exhibits or take an Oceans adventure before heading to Forests and the rest of the Zoo. 

As we enter the holiday season, visitors can also enjoy all of their favorite ZooBoo and Christmas at the Zoo activities this year. Just look for updates on our event maps.

The Bicentennial Pavilion, which is funded through a Lilly Endowment grant, will greatly enhance our guests' experience, and we're excited to break ground on this new part of our Zoo. As this project develops through the winter and into next year, watch our website and social media for updates. [close]​​​

•​ Have You Herd About Our New Kudu Calves?

We've added two-times the cuteness in our Plains area with some adorable new arrivals! A male calf, Jelani, was born on July 24 to mom 12-year-old Taraja followed by a female calf, Tootsie, on Aug. 10 to 3-year-old mom JoJo. Baraki is the calves' father. Both Taraja and JoJo are experienced mothers, and are caring and attentive to their newborns. The herd has started going outside together and the youngsters have enjoyed exploring their new surroundings.  

Greater kudus are native to eastern and southern Africa. These woodland antelopes can weigh up to 600 pounds, however females are noticeably smaller than males. Their tan coats marked with thin, white stripes offer great camouflage on the arid African savannas.

In the wild, female kudus will form groups of mothers and calves. Moms will give birth in ar​eas of tall grass that provide the babies with protection from predators, which is especially important during the first few weeks. During that time, kudu mothers spend most of their time grazing and only tend to the calves for short periods to nurse. When the calf is a little older, mom returns and the two spend the next several months together bonding.

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

•​ Get Wild About Learning With Seasonal Education Programs​

Discover a love of wildlife by learning more about the world around us! We offer a wide variety of educational programs and special zoo experiences, each designed to engage guests in thinking more about our animals and our role within the environment.

Young scientists can observe, question and explore areas of the Zoo during our Saturday Science Programs while budding conservationists can learn what it takes to work at a zoo during our new Career Tours. Plus, our upcoming adult garden container classes offer the young-at-heart an opportunity to explore their curiosity about the natural world and create a beautiful themed planter to take home.

We also have fun, educational programs for school groups and scout troops! Students can investigate the science behind our natural world through a number of programs, from Orangutan Observers to Tropical Topple. Scout Programs provide a fun way for Scouts to collect experiences that will help them reach their scouting goals.

There's always something new to discover at the Zoo, no matter what your age! Email or call our education department at 317-630-2000 and plan your exciting Zoo experience today. [close]

•​ Rocky's Vocalizations Gain Worldwide Attention​

Groundbreaking data from the Indianapolis Zoo's Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center gives clues to the evolution of human speech. 11-year-old Rocky revealed a previously unknown level of vocal learning for orangutans.

The research, conducted at the Zoo in 2012 by scientist Dr. Adriano Lameira, was published today in Scientific Reports, and provides key insight to understanding how speech in humans evolved from the time of ancestral great apes.

The results showed that Rocky not only learned new sounds, but controlled the action of his voice in a "conversational" context as he took turns exchanging utterances with a social partner. In an imitation "do-as-I-do" game, Rocky copied the pitch and tone of sounds made by researchers to make vowel-like calls. Prior to this research, many researchers still presumed that great apes' sounds were driven only by reflex.

England's Durham University's Dr. Lameira, the lead author on the research, analyzed Rocky's ability to exert fine and precise vocal control, giving the orangutan a unique capacity to learn new vocalizations — a historic first. Dr. Rob Shumaker, the Indianapolis Zoo's Director, is a co-author on the publication.

"This important work fundamentally alters our understanding of the capabilities of orangutans. It also reveals the significant value of carefully conducted studies with apes living in highly enriched, behaviorally naturalistic zoos," said Shumaker. "Research that expands our awareness of orangutan intelligence inevitably leads to a greater commitment for their conservation in the wild."

Want to learn more? Check out our blog. [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]​

•​ 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]​​

•​ 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.

Come celebrate the world we share together and see how the blue thread of water connects us all.

​​​​•​ 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]​​