These educational training demonstrations, which are an important part of our animal conservation mission, also offer opportunities to talk with our knowledgeable Zookeepers. Chats are included with regular Zoo admission and availability varies seasonally, so ask for a schedule at the front gate. All chats are animal, staff and weather dependent.
Get acquainted with these charming marine mammals as the keepers demonstrate their extraordinary ability to learn. The California sea lions will amaze with their vocalizations, gestures and wonderful diving abilities. These intelligent animals are wonderful representatives for their wild counterparts and bring the message of animal conservation combined with a sense of humor!
Have you ever seen a parade of flamingos? In one of our newest animal demonstrations, you can follow these birds as they march — escorted by their keepers of course — the paths of the Encounters exhibit. Our flock of Caribbean flamingos was hand-raised and that makes them perfect for this encounter. You can tell them apart from our Chilean flamingos because the Caribbean species are slightly larger and a brighter shade of pink. Flamingos get their beautiful coloring from their diet of shrimp and other crustaceans. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to connect with these amazing animals and learn more about them from the keepers themselves (they’re the ones in the bright pink shirts).
The very social, very active and sometimes very argumentative meerkats are the stars of the Deserts Dome. They may be small, but they are absolutely fascinating to watch as they dig, dig, dig with their agile, clawed hands and interact among themselves. With the lowered glass window into the front of the exhibit, this is a perfect stop for little ones, who can peer into the meerkats’ underground tunnels. Join the Deserts keepers for a chat about the meerkats — complete charmers in the animal kingdom — and about animal conservation.
There’s something in the air with Just Look UpSM flight presentations. See flocks of these big, brightly colored birds fly from destinations across the Zoo — in open air — to The Perch inside our Bicentennial Pavilion. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever seen! Take a bird’s eye view and meet seven species of macaws, including the blue-throated macaw, scarlet macaw, great green macaw: blue-and-gold macaw, military macaw, green-winged macaw and hyacinth macaw. While these parrots are soaring back and forth across the Zoo, these highly intelligent and social birds are in constant communication with loud squawks, croaks and screams.
Our free Dolphin Presentations feature engaging demonstrations by our incredible Atlantic bottlenose dolphins! Not only will you be enthralled by these powerful and intelligent marine mammals, you’ll learn more about the incredible bond they share with Zoo staff. Presentations are included with regular Zoo admission, but seating is limited and tickets are required. Pick up your tickets when you enter the Zoo. Pavilion doors open 30 minutes prior to each presentations and close 5 minutes before the presentation. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Meet our troop of 29 charismatic long-tailed macaques. These athletic monkeys jump and dive, sometimes in water! Long-tailed macaques are the only macaques that swim throughout their entire life. These monkeys are perfectly placed in the Oceans portion of the Zoo.
Have you ever seen a penguin “fly” underwater? They are FAST — darting, turning on a dime and heading as quickly as possible for their “fishy” targets. Join the Oceans aquarists for a chat about our penguins and a demonstration of their superior fishing skills as they dive for their dinner. Be sure to look at the third viewing window under your feet to see these skillful swimmers shoot through the water! You’ll learn more about these amazing aquatic birds and the challenges they face in the wild.
Pounce on the chance to learn about our African lions during one of our newest chats! You may hear our five vocal lions from their exhibit in the Plains area. With the addition of three curious cubs in Sept. 2015 comes a mixture of fun personalities! During a keeper’s training demonstration, keep an eye out for the playful siblings as they often like to join in on each other’s demonstration. While you experience the pride’s dynamics, find out more about these incredible cats and the challenges they face in Central Africa.
You’ll be amazed by these unbelievably agile dogs of all breeds and sizes performing aerial tricks and other fascinating behaviors. Presentations are held in the arena presented by DairyPure and TruMoo and includes a fun, educational message to teach the importance of animal adoption. Seating is first come, first served.
More than five million dogs are brought into pounds and shelters in our country each year. And unfortunately out of those, half of them don’t make it out alive. The Zoo encourages you the next time you look to bring a dog into your home or family, that you might consider adopting your next pet from Indy Humane or a local shelter in your own hometown. You’ll feel paws-itively awesome!
At the exit to the Cheetah: The Race for Survival exhibit, there’s a small gathering area where keeper chats take place daily. And though these speedy cats are among the most skilled hunters on the African plains, you’ll also learn about the threats they face in the wild as well as the ongoing conservation efforts to save them.
Come learn about rings and other things at our ring-tailed lemur chat. These highly social primates live in troops led by a strong female. Located at the exit of Forests, the lemur chat is a great opportunity to learn more about these adorable animals and how the Zoo supports their conservation in the wild.
Join our Oceans staff in front of the Pacific walrus exhibit for one of our newest chats. Only a few walruses live among zoos and aquariums in the United States and you’ll learn more about the two living at Indianapolis Zoo! Although walruses are very large — males can grow up to 3,000 pounds — they’re incredibly agile, as you’ll see during this demonstration. Plus, you’ll learn how you can help protect our fin-footed friends in the wild. If you can’t make it to the Zoo for our daily chat, tune in to our webcam!
Join the Forests staff for a chat about Alaskan brown bears in front of the exhibit in the Forests area. Visitors will learn about the extraordinary abilities of these omnivorous animals and how they’re particularly well adapted to live life in the great north. You’ll also hear about their social structure, eating habits, hibernation and the challenges they face in the wild.
The Indianapolis Zoo has had Guinea baboons — an Old World monkey species — in its animal collection for many years, dating back to the “old” Zoo on the city’s east side that opened in 1964 and then moved to White River State Park in 1988. These primates are animated, social, sometimes quarrelsome, occasionally loud, and always fascinating to watch. Join the Zookeepers for a chat just outside the baboon exhibit in the Plains area to learn more about the complex social lives of these dynamic animals.
Want a sssuper ssspecial experience here at the Zoo? Come meet Iris and Lily, our Burmese pythons, and learn about their wild counterparts. Iris is over 10 feet long and still growing! Kids and adults even have the opportunity to pet her during the chats. Burmese pythons are one of the largest snakes in the world. Although native to tropical areas including Southern and Southwest Asia, many of these pythons have been released throughout Florida, which poses a danger to the ecosystem. Make sure to stop by to see Iris and Lily and learn more about these ssstunning sssnakes!
Fly over to Flights of Fancy for one of our newest chats about our Southern ground hornbills! These carnivorous birds have large, strong beaks that help them find fruits and insects in forests, scrubland, and the savanna. Although these hornbills live up to 50 years, they are vulnerable in the wild. Discover more about these fascinating birds and how to help protect them in their native lands!
A school of dog sharks provides a wonderful opportunity for the young to have a personal encounter with these misunderstood creatures of the deep. This chat includes a discussion of the smooth dogfish shark’s unique characteristics and interesting behaviors, which you can observe through close encounters. Also, during the chat, you’ll learn how important they are to their ecosystems, and how you can help sea life by making more sustainable seafood choices. The dog shark chat is held in the Oceans exhibit, which features the nation’s largest shark touch tank in the Firestone Gallery.
Watch our tiger keepers engage with the largest cats on earth at the tiger training demonstrations in Tiger Forest. You’ll get one of the best views of the day as the tigers come up to the glass and display a variety of behaviors. Learn why tiger training is an important part of tiger care, how keepers train an animal that has razor sharp teeth and claws, and find out what you can do to help protect wild Amur tigers.