November 19, 2018
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Walk on the Wild Side

Get hands on with animals at the Indianapolis Zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo includes admission to access the White River Gardens, which has lush outdoor flower gardens.

Two new animal additions on loan from the San Diego Zoo have sent Indianapolis into a furry frenzy. For the first time since 2008, koalas join the Indianapolis Zoo’s roster of 1,600 exotic animals on 64 acres.

“They are a seasonal exhibit available for a limited time. If koalas are your favorite animals, this is your chance. We are seeing a large audience of people who have never seen these animals before,” says Carla Knapp, public relations specialist at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Visitors can see the two Queensland koalas in the Forests area of the zoo, located just three hours from Evansville at 1200 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis, from now through Labor Day on Sept. 7. Milo, a male koala, is the son of Coombah, who visited the zoo in 2008, and two pink spots under his nose can identify Thackory, also a male.

“These guys are so cute, fuzzy, and adorable and have weird faces with their nose and ears,” says Knapp. “We find a lot of people who just love koalas. They are a fan favorite.”

In addition to this summer attraction, Knapp says it’s a priority for their zookeepers to provide interactive experiences with animals year-round. Free daily animal chats and demonstrations are offered, as well as up-close and interactive animal exhibits indoors and out such as feeding giraffes and birds, petting sharks in the nation’s largest shark touch pool, viewing orangutans like never before, and a dolphin encounter.

“A lot of zoos bring orangutans to the ground so you can see them up close that way, but that’s not really how they are built,” says Knapp on the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center at the zoo. “They are built to be up in the sky. (The center has) a sidewalk in the sky. They are swinging overhead on a cable system that encircles the exhibit. You can see them and experience them in the way that orangutans move in the wild.”

The Indianapolis Zoo also is the only destination in the Midwest where visitors can get into the water with dolphins through its “Dolphin In-Water Adventure.” The 90-minute session allows participants to feed dolphins, signal for behaviors, and experience the animals up-close. Zoo admission is included in the cost.

If you’re making the drive from Evansville, Knapp recommends arriving at the zoo early, around 9 a.m. and walk to the back of the zoo in the Plains section and work your way to the front. The animals will be the most active during that time. She also encourages those with children to stop by White River Gardens, included with zoo admission, and see the Butterfly Kaleidoscope in The Hilbert Conservatory. Children can watch the metamorphosis of these winged creatures.

For more information on the Indianapolis Zoo, call 317-630-2001 or visit indianapoliszoo.com.

Don’t Miss: While you’re visiting Indianapolis, enjoy more hands-on experiences at the world’s largest children’s museum, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Play a part in the “Inside Hollywood, Film & TV: You’re on the Set!” exhibit. Build and test speed machines in the “Hot Wheels™: Race to Win!™” experience or come face to face with full-size dinosaur skeletons with “Dinosphere.” Experience the fun and visit childrensmuseum.org.

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