Ready, set, slow! It’s Zoopolis 500 at the Indianapolis Zoo

Slow and steady will steal the racing spotlight as the Indianapolis Zoo hosts Zoopolis 500 presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana on Aug. 19.

A beloved Zoo tradition for more than 40 years, the “Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing” has been rescheduled to coincide with this year’s August running of the Indianapolis 500.


Race-day activities begin at 10am at the Entry Plaza where guests can meet 500 Festival princesses. Additional pre-race festivities take place near the Arena, where visitors can meet snake ambassadors at the Snake Pit and enjoy complimentary milk chugs from DairyPure and TruMoo (while supplies last).

Race fans can enjoy Zoopolis 500 analysis beginning at 11:15am with emcee and IndyCar expert Mike King alongside the Zoo’s tortoise experts. The “racing” radiated tortoises and their animal care team will then take center stage for a parade lap, joined by the 500 Festival princesses and American Dairy Association mascot, Buttercup.

The green flag drops at 11:30am for the feature race, and guests can cheer on their favorite tortoise as they “speed” toward the finish line where a tray of delicious fruits awaits. In the winner’s circle, the 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 regular admission. Guests can review health and safety guidelines as well as reserve timed-entry tickets in advance at

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