Animals & Exhibits

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Indianapolis Zoo was the first in the nation to be accredited as a zoo, an aquarium, and a botanical garden by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium to know you're supporting an organization dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for wild things and wild places all over the world!​

Connect with our animals and plants in our "biomes," Deserts, Encounters, Forests, Oceans and Plains. These five distinct areas present approximately 230 species of animals and about 2,000 varieties of plants together in simulated natural habitats.


As you walk through the Zoo, from one fascinating ecological system to another, you'll begin to discover the diversity of life. Because many people will never have the opportunity to visit an African Savannah or an Asian temperate forest, the Zoo recreates the natural environments. From the Arctic land of the penguins near the front of the Zoo to the realm of the king of the beasts — the majestic African lions — near the far end, a visit to the Indianapolis Zoo is literally a trip around the world!


​​​When you enter the Oceans building, you will first encounter the OneAmerica Foundation Entry Gallery, with its beautiful reflecting pool. Then, the Efroymson Gallery begins with a large tank featuring cownose rays and wobegong sharks. Next, the reef exhibit highlights a whole group of green moray eels, while the tank next door has lionfish camouflaged within colorful coral. [more...]


The Zoo has exciting news on its future that will engage you, enlighten you and empower you. The Zoo has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to tell you the story of dolphins in the wild and how Indiana actually plays a role in their habitat and health.

Leading from the exit of the Oceans building are several exhibits of marine mammals, including California sea lions, seals, and walrus, that are part of the aquarium portion of the Zoo.  The largest and most popular of these is the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion. Highlights include a 30-foot-diameter, 12-foot-high underwater viewing dome in the center of the main presentation pool — the first of its kind in the country — bringing guests closer to the dolphins than ever before! The Pavilion also includes the Midwest's only in-water dolphin program. [close]


The Deserts Dome is home for some furry mammals in addition to its collection of reptiles and birds.  Meerkats adds a whole new dimension to the Dome as these small but fierce creatures "mob" the Indianapolis Zoo. [more…]

The Deserts Dome also features directed pathways, photo murals and dynamic interpretative signage.  Among the other species inside this unique geodesic dome are several free-roaming reptiles and free-flying birds, including three species of agama lizards (Mali spiny-tailed, clown and red-headed), plated lizards, desert whip-tail lizards, plus Gouldian, owl, cordon bleu, zebra and red-billed fire finches. 


Temperate and tropical forests of the world are represented in the Forests area. Filtered sunlight through a dense tree canopy creates dappled shadows on the path as you enter Forests. Red pandas observe you from their tree limb perches while tiny little deer called muntjacs scamper underneath. [more ...]

Across the way, you'll find an incredibly energetic bunch of white handed gibbons. The Tiger Forest exhibit features the stunningly beautiful and predatory Amur tigers. Then Alaskan brown bears tumbling and frolicking nearby, and an aviary with an American bald eagle and some feathery friends. This rich ecosystem of Forests brings home the message in a powerful way that animals and the habitats are inextricably linked.  ​


Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

The spectacular International Orangutan Center, the newest and most dynamic exhibit ever designed for the Indianapolis Zoo, is home to eight fascinating and endangered orangutans, offering them a special facility designed and built especially to meet their physical, social, and intellectual needs.​

The orangutan habitat is a dynamic, interactive exhibit that allows orangutans to engage in their natural behaviors, while challenging their curiosity and creativity. It accommodates the orangutans' arboreal lifestyle, stimulates and engages their remarkable intelligence, and supports their unique social structure. It also creates a visitor experience like no other. Zoo guests enjoy diverse viewing opportunities, ranging from intimate encounters at ground level to spectacular aerial rides above.

This habitat, an interior and exterior interpretation of a rainforest environment, encourages and stimulates the normal range of orangutan behavior. At the same time, it maximizes visitor interaction with the apes allowing better understanding of their styles of locomotion, social behavior and mental abilities. A soaring tower-like structure draws people into the Indianapolis Zoo while enhancing the downtown skyline. With its unique design, it is an icon for the Zoo, and a beacon for the city and for wild orangutans.



Our Plains area allows our guests to get wild with cheetahs,  giraffes, rhinos, our elephant herd,​ our newest lion cubs and more! The first thing visible in the Plains Biome is a large vista where a variety of African animals graze, including kudu, wildebeests, zebra and vultures. Around the corner, giraffes pluck leaves from trees, rhinos gather near a visitor platform, and elephants interact quietly by a waterhole. [more...]​

East African crowned cranes and Marabou storks rest near a pond that runs under a wooden bridge carving a visitor trail through the plains with exhibits of lions and baboons. The Cheetah: Race for Survival exhibit offers unparalled views of these stunning big cats, plus a unique interactive activity that benefits cheetah conservation in Africa. This close up view of cheetahs is presented in cooperation with The Tony Stewart Foundation. The warthogs exhibit is located across from the cheetahs and includes warthogs and African crested porcupines.[close]

 Flights of Fancy: A Brilliance of Birds features three walk-through aviaries with bird feeding opportunities, a playground for toddlers, a 4-D theater, a backyard bird habitat, and a Nursing Moms Nest presented by Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health for the human moms with babies of their own. Exotic bird species from around the world fascinate visitors young and old in this very family-friendly area of the Zoo. 


White River Gardens is a 3-acre landmark botanical attraction combining the best of gardening ideas, plant information and inspirational design to serve the needs of all visitors.  With hundreds of plant varieties on display plus entertaining special exhibits throughout the year, White River Gardens is an international showplace for Indiana where visitors can enjoy and learn about the bounty of the natural world. [more...] Whether collecting plant information from the resource room, staging a wedding in the most attractive location in the city, or simply strolling through miles of flowered pathways, visitors to the Gardens will be inspired, impressed, enlivened and entertained.​ [close]