May in Indianapolis is all about racing, and guests at the Indianapolis Zoo can get into some fast-paced fun during the 42nd running of Zoopolis 500, presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana on Wednesday, May 26.
Considered the “greatest spectacle in tortoise racing,” this beloved event features the Zoo’s “racing” radiated tortoises who provide a unique spin on the Indianapolis 500.
The day’s festivities begin at 10am at the Entry Plaza where guests can meet the 500 Festival Princesses and get pictures with a 500 Festival Pace Car. Additional pre-race festivities take place at the Arena, where visitors can meet snake ambassadors at the Snake Pit and enjoy complimentary Dean’s TruMoo chocolate milk chugs (while supplies last).
Race fans can enjoy Zoopolis 500 analysis beginning at 11:15 a.m. with one of the Zoo’s tortoise experts as well as IndyCar expert Dave Furst as the emcee and Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan as the grand marshal.
The tortoises and their animal care team will take center stage at 11:30 a.m. for a parade lap, joined by the 500 Festival princesses and American Dairy Association mascot, Buttercup. Immediately following the parade, Kanaan will drop the green flag on the feature race, and guests can cheer on their favorite tortoise as they “speed” toward the finish line. A tray of delicious fruits awaits animals in the winner’s circle while the winning pit crew will enjoy cold bottles of milk provided by the American Dairy Association Indiana.
Following the race, guests are invited to meet the winning tortoise and pit crew — animal care staff who can answer turtle-related questions. Later in the day, visitors can stop by Deserts for a special tortoise chat and to learn more about the Zoo’s efforts to help these critically endangered animals in Madagascar.
One of the Zoo’s longest running traditions, Zoopolis 500 activities are free for Zoo members and included with general admission. Visitors are encouraged to review current safety guidelines as well as reserve timed-entry tickets in advance at IndianapolisZoo.com.