Friday, September 3, 2010

The Indianapolis Zoo: We're now a card-carrying member family

Admiring the giraffes with grandma

Checking out a large cow in the farm animal area
Taking your child to the zoo is one of those rights of passage.  The arrow had been to the Louisville Zoo this spring (a little bit about that here and here), but I had not yet been to the zoo in Indy with him.  I knew he'd love it--he's one of those "animal" kids.  (Plus his grandmother was coming, too... need I say more?)  What I didn't realize was how much I would love it.

I hadn't been to the Indianapolis Zoo in years.  I was shocked by how beautiful it was.  The grounds were immaculate and lush (and trust me, anything green in Indiana right now is no small feat--my backyard looks like the Sahara.)  It was interesting that many of the exhibits had animals co-habitating together.  So it was fun to see three or four descriptions on the signs, and then try to spot those animals.  And dare I say the animals look happy?  They all seem to have plenty of room to run around and be as free as possible. 

A few tips, if you go:
  • If you like it as much as we did, buy a membership on your way out.  Keep your receipt (both parking and entrance fee), and much of that will apply toward your membership.  I was able to get a year pass for about $50 once they applied that day's costs.  So while it's an expensive outing individually, the membership is a great deal.
  • Get there early.  We went on a Monday once school was back in session.  We got there at 9 a.m., and we basically had the place to ourselves.  Plus, the animals were really lively and the weather was cooler.
  • If you go to the dolphin show (loved it!), you can't bring a stroller in.  They have a good spot to park them, but just a heads up in case you have more than one kid to juggle.  I also don't think you can bring a stroller into the underwater dolphin dome.  We passed on that because I had just buckled the arrow back in, and was too lazy to get him back out.  We'll hit it next time, for sure.
  • On hot days, there's a splash pad.  There is also a playground, in case your kids need to get the wiggles out.
  • The price of admission also gets you into the White River Gardens.  Hoping to see that during a future visit.
I've been enjoying some recent book recommendations that a few other bloggers have been adding to their posts, and the arrow has a few animal/zoo related books that he loves.  I'm actually planning to bring these books with us on our next trip so that he can start associating those pictures with the real thing.  Here are our favorites:*

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby

*I was not provided with these books, nor was I paid to recommend them.  If you choose to buy these books from the links above, a small portion of the sale will come back to support this blog.


  1. Look like you can get pretty close to the animal as well. I love the zoo that doesn't have tall fence. This seems to be perfect for children.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful day! I often discover that when I'm adventuring with my little ones I have as much fun (or more) than they do. Exploring with kids is a real gift for those who go along! :)

  3. Memberships, as you point out, are usually a pretty good deal. We have memberships to the Detroit Zoo and a lot of other museums/cultural institutions in the area and find that having them makes us far more likely to visit. We can do things like zip in to some places for just an hour or so to shoot photos at a certain time of day without worrying about how much it costs us per visit, for example. And we always have a handful of places we can go to on the spur of the moment if there's "nothing to do" that day :)