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 "biome": Deserts, Encounters, Forests, Oceans and Plains. These distinct areas present approximately 1,400 animals and about 31,000 plants together in simulated natural habitatsBecause many people will never have the opportunity to visit an African desert or a South American rainforest, the Zoo recreates the natural environments. From the Antarctic land of the penguins  to the realm of the king of the beasts — the majestic African lions — a visit to the Zoo is like 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...] ​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.​

St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion

​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. Learn more during our daily dolphin presentations. You can also go 17 feet underwater to get closer to the dolphins than ever before inside the Dolphin Viewing Dome! 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 add an element of fun to the Dome as these small but fierce creatures "mob" Zoo guests. [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. Vibrant, colorful macaws soar overhead and red pandas observe you from their tree limb perches. [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. Watch Alaskan brown bears tumbling and frolicking nearby. And see beautiful, brightly colored macaws. These highly intelligent and social birds are in constant communication with loud squawks, croaks and screams.. 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 is home to the largest group of orangutans in North America, offering them an indoor-outdoor facility designed especially to meet their physical, social and intellectual needs.​

The dynamic, interactive exhibit allows orangutans to engage in their natural behaviors, while challenging their curiosity and creativity. It accommodates the apes' 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 "functional forest" allows visitors a better understanding of the apes' styles of locomotion, social behavior and mental abilities. [close]​


Our Plains area allows our guests to get wild with cheetahs,  giraffes, rhinos, our elephant herd,​ our newest lion cubs and more! Towering stands of grasses give way to a large vista where a variety of African animals graze, including ostrich, wildebeest, zebra and vulture. 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.[close]
Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy: A Brilliance of Birds features three walk-through aviaries with bird feeding opportunities, a playground for toddlers, a backyard bird habitat, and a Nursing Moms Nest presented by Riley Children's 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  family-friendly area of the Zoo. 

White River Gardens

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]