When the autumn breeze rustles the leaves and witches stir their cauldrons by moonlight, it must be time for ZooBoo presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers!
Now beginning its 39th year, the Indianapolis Zoo’s beloved Halloween event returns with four more magical days added. Kicking off Oct. 7, ZooBoo runs every Wednesday to Sunday through Nov. 1. The Zoo opens daily at 9am, and visitors are encouraged to come early then stay for the festivities beginning at 2pm. Guests can enjoy the spooktacular ambiance of the Zoo after dark on Fridays and Saturdays with activities running until 9pm, or until 7pm Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Zoo members have the chance to preview the event Oct. 5-6.
Under a canopy of pumpkins in the Bicentennial Pavilion, Mayor Jack hosts new family friendly activities and a little hocus pocus at Pumpkin Town. This whimsical village is among the most popular additions to ZooBoo, so attendance will be monitored to allow for social distancing. Plus, new décor and hands-free activities let visitors enjoy the festivities from a distance.
Little witches and wizards can meet Professor Pumpkin and watch wickedly cool science demonstrations at Pumpkin School. Fancy rats, snakes and other spooky creatures scurry in Jack’s Barn presented by State Farm, where Caretaker Chris also shows off a collection of spooky skulls. At Bewitching Bites, guests can see the witch’s carnivorous plant collection as well as the black cats that are available for adoption through Indiana Animal Care Services. Near the center of town, the giant pumpkin provides a perfect family photo op, plus visitors can try to guess the weight for a chance to win an Animal Art Adventure.
More Halloween fun awaits elsewhere in the Zoo, too. Kids can twist around the Mystery Maze or visit the friendly witch to see what’s brewing in her cauldrons. Plus, the Zoo’s rides also feature a wild twist, like the Round-Go-Merry — the carousel that moves in reverse.
Children are encouraged to wear costumes and bring a reusable bag to collect goodies along the Trick-or-Treat Trail presented by WISH-TV. Four stations are spaced out around the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center and feature one-way traffic flow for safety. Allergy-friendly options are available upon request and all treats are free of palm oil.
Adults can also discover the spirits hiding around ZooBoo. The brand new Adult Trick-or-Treat Trail presented by Goose Island offers free beverage sampling for guests age 21 and older from 5-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Plus, craft beers and a special fall cocktail presented by Hotel Tango are available for purchase daily in Pumpkin Town.
Speckled with colorful fall foliage, the Zoo’s exhibits provide the perfect backdrop for all the festivities, and even the animals join in the fun with themed enrichment activities like the squash-splattering fun of the Elephant Pumpkin Smash.
ZooBoo is free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. All members and visitors must visit IndianapolisZoo.com to reserve a timed-entry ticket in advance of their visit. The Zoo is totally compliant with the most up-to-date safety guidelines from the city and state. With limits for Zoo capacity, guests are encouraged to plan ahead and visit early in the season.
All guests age 3 and up are required to wear face coverings when entering the Zoo, in all indoor areas and outdoors when social distancing is not possible. All the Zoo’s standard safety guidelines will also be in effect during ZooBoo, and guests are encouraged to visit the Zoo’s website to know what to expect for their visit.