Zoopolis 500: Slow and Steady will Steal the Racing Spotlight

On your mark. Get set. Slow! The 38th running of Zoopolis 500 presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana is May 24 at the Indianapolis Zoo. Considered the “Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing,” this event is one of the Zoo’s most popular and longest running traditions.

Offering a unique spin on the Indianapolis 500, this beloved event features the Zoo’s “racing” radiated tortoises and includes additional themed activities throughout the day.


Beginning at 10am, guests can meet the 500 Festival Princesses and get pictures with a 500 Festival Pace Car at the Entry Plaza. The pre-race festivities move to the Arena presented by DairyPure and TruMoo starting at 10:30am, where children can play the tire toss game and discover animal artifacts. Guests can also receive a free milk chug from DairyPure and TruMoo (while supplies last) and pose for photos with a winner’s wreath.

Race fans can enjoy Zoopolis analysis beginning at 11:15am with Zookeepers as well as IndyCar Series expert Mike King as the emcee and past Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan as the grand marshal.

The racing tortoises and their keepers will take center stage at 11:30am in the Arena for a parade lap, joined by the 500 Festival Princesses, the Dairy Princess and American Dairy Association mascot Buttercup. Immediately after the parade, Kanaan will drop the green flag on the feature race and guests can cheer for their favorite tortoise as they “speed” toward the checkered flag. A tray of delicious fruits and veggies awaits the animals at the finish line, while the pit crew celebrates in the winner’s circle with icy cold bottles of milk provided by the American Dairy Association Indiana.

Following the race, guests are invited to meet the winning tortoise and his crew — Zookeepers who can answer tortoise-related questions and tell guests all about the Zoo’s efforts to help these critically endangered animals. Plus, many of the Zoo’s other animals will enjoy race-themed enrichment throughout the day.

Zoopolis 500 activities are free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. This event regularly draws thousands of local fans and national media attention. Guests are encouraged to save time and money by planning their visit in advance at IndianapolisZoo.com.

About the Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. Visit IndianapolisZoo.com

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