My hubby and I just returned from spending a weekend in Indianapolis, IN.
We always leave on a Fri morning and spend half the day at the jamboree and then spend all day on Sat and a few hours on Sunday before heading home.
However, this year I convinced my hubby into visiting the Zoo on Sunday instead of going back to the jamboree!
I have to admit, I go to the jamboree for my hubby as this event doesn’t interest me much!
I mostly go for the delicious pineapple whip and to see the horses in the nearby historic stables!
On Sunday, we arrived to the zoo at approx. 9:45 am and had to pay $10 to park.
After parking, we headed to the visitors center to purchase our tickets.
The zoo offers several different combo tickets that you can purchase.
Admission is $32.75 for adults and $28.75 for children (under 2 is free).
Tip: Ticket prices vary depending on the day you visit but if you purchase your ticket online, it’s usually cheaper than purchasing them at the zoo
After purchasing our tickets, we headed to the entrance gate.
On the way, we snapped a picture of the map of the zoo.…you can also download the map by scanning the QR code.
The newly restored main entrance
Right after you enter through the main entrance, you will be greeted with a beautiful botanical garden!
I’ve never seen anything like this at a zoo before…it was beautiful!
We could have spent at least an hour or more just walking through the gardens!
There were so many plants and flowers!
After spending quite some time in the gardens, we made our way inside the nearby Hilbert Conservatory.
The conservatory is an indoor garden that features 5,000 square feet of lush, tropical greenery.
There were also a few butterflies flying around.
The conservatory was featuring incredible bonsai trees…they were so cool!
This is another place that we could have spent an hour or more!
We loved all the beautiful plants and flowers.
This plant, the Alula, is now extinct in the wild
The conservatory has 65 ft ceilings and a mezzanine level that provides a bird’s eye view of the gardens below.
So, we headed upstairs to check out the views from above.
There were so many exotic plants that we had never seen before!
The views from the mezzanine level were very cool!
After finally leaving the conservatory, we entered into the area where the animals were located.
The first exhibit we came to was the sea lion exhibit.
The zoo has 4 sea lions and they all seemed very happy and healthy.
The exhibit was very nice!
My hubby and I felt this was one of the cleanest zoos we have been to and had some of the nicest exhibits we’ve seen.
Our next stop was the Oceans exhibit.
This building was huge!
It housed an aquarium, penguins, a pool where you could touch sharks and rays and a viewing area for the seals and sea lions!
You could also watch the penguins swim right under your feet!
Watching the seals
This was another very cool exhibit!
Next, was the long tailed macaques.
Long-tailed macaques are a unique monkey species that spends time in the water cooling off, playing or escaping predators.
Unlike other macaques in the wild, long-tailed macaques are the only ones that swim throughout their entire life.
The zoo had several of these monkeys and their exhibit was very nice!
After leaving here, we continued our walk through the zoo.
We spotted this huge covered area .…apparently, it’s an area that can be rented out for meetings, company picnics or formal affairs.
The Zoo hosts weddings, receptions, corporate holiday parties and more.
I’ve never seen that before at a zoo!
The zoo was getting prepared for their upcoming ZooBoo.
Our next stop was the Forests area..
This is where you will find the tigers, bears, eagles, red pandas and more.
Unfortunately, most of the animals in this area were either asleep or not in their exhibit.
We missed the gibbons & the eagles and you had to pay $4 pp to walk along the path to see the kangaroos.
We decided we were ready for lunch so, we headed to one of the nearby cafes.
I ordered the grilled chicken caesar wrap while the hubby ordered a hotdog.
The food was actually decent….much better than our last zoo experience!
Tip: Bring in your own water bottles as they have refill stations throughout the zoo and bring in your own food as food is expensive
After lunch, we headed to the dolphin pavilion.
This building is where they have the dolphin shows …and you can even “swim” with the dolphins!
Since the next show was 45 mins away, we decided to go to the dolphin viewing area that’s located in the same building.
The viewing area is like nothing I’ve ever seen before!
In 2005, the zoo opened up the first, one of a kind, completely submerged, fully enclosed dolphin dome viewing room.
The dome sits below 5 feet of water while providing 360 degree views of the pool around it. The dome is suspended 10 feet from the bottom of the pool and 5 feet from the surface.
You could watch the dolphins swimming all around you!
Next, we decided to ride the gondola.
This is something else that we had never seen at any of the other zoos we had visited.
We had to purchase a separate ticket for this ride and the cost was $4 pp.
The gondola offers incredible views of the Zoo and reaches heights of up to 50 feet in the air.
The ride lasts approx 10 mins.
It was very cool being able to view the zoo from this perspective.
Especially the incredible Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center! The building appears to be leaning forward!
Note: See all the cables and platforms in the picture above? That’s for the orangutans to climb on!!
After exiting the gondola, we headed inside the orangutan center to check it out.
The center has been called one of the most significant zoo exhibits anywhere in the world!
The goal, when building the center, was to give the orangutans spaces that function as trees to allow them to express their normal behaviors for optimal physical, physiological, and intellectual health.
Because orangutans prefer to dwell high up in the forest canopy, the design of this center provided them with multiple opportunities for vertical and lateral movement within and outside the center.
The orangutans appeared to really enjoy thier habitat!
Next, we headed to the desert exhibit.
In this exhibit, you will see animals & plants that survive in the desert.
This exhibit is housed in dome where the temperature remains above 80 degrees year round.
The hot, dry environment in the dome, mimics these species own natural environment.
It was a very cool exhibit!
Next, we decided to ride the train around the zoo.
The cost was an additional $4 pp.
The train is small but encircles the Plains area of the park.
You will pass a couple of the animals while on the train and a small butterfly and vegetable garden….the ride lasted approx. 10 mins.
Tip: There’s also a small roller coaster that you can ride…it’s also $4 pp.
After our train ride, we headed to the Plains area.
This area is where you will see the zebras, rhinos, giraffes, lions, elephants, cheetahs, and more.
Once again, this area was very nice and clean…and huge!
Next, we headed to the area called Flights of Fancy.
On the way, we passed the carousel.
The flights of fancy area features beautiful birds from all around the world.
There are two separate bird aviaries that you can go into…you can also purchase bird seed and feed the birds.
The budgies were so colorful!
Budgies are members of the parrot family and originate from Australia’s deserts, scrublands and woodlands.
The next aviary featured lorikeets and other types of birds.
So many colors in these birds!
A couple of the other birds we saw
Next, we headed to the alligators and crocodiles exhibit.
They had a couple of gators and a crocodile on exhibit
After this exhibit, we decided to leave the zoo as we had seen everything and it had started sprinkling.
As we were heading towards the exit, we saw a huge orangutan walking on the cables above!
Before we left, I had to get a picture in front of the zoo sign.
We also spotted the gift shop so decided to go in and check it out.
After purchasing a coffee cup, we exited the zoo.
As we were leaving, we noticed they were in the middle of constructing a new chimpanzee exhibit.
Read reviews for the zoo here
On our way home, we decided to stop and eat at the Cast Iron Steakhouse.
We had eaten here about a month earlier when we spent a weekend in Louisville, KY.
I went online and made reservations before we arrived.
Once we arrived, we were seated right away.
After looking over the menu, we decided to order the delicious macaroni bites that we had ordered the first time we had eaten here.
Then for our main course, I ordered the surf and turf…it came with a 6 oz sirloin and coconut shrimp with your choice of two sides…so, I ordered the brussel sprouts and a salad.
The hubby ordered a steak and baked potato.
Once again, the food was delicious!!
Read reviews here
Thanks for reading!
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Stay tuned for my next adventure!