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Taking Toddlers to the Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo is a summer staple for me and my family. I have ventured out on solo trips with my kids as well as with my family and friends. Figuring out the best tips to taking little ones has been key in helping everyone (including the adults) have fun and feel confident in going without fearing meltdowns!

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I’d love to share some of the tips and tricks I learned on how to take your zoo trip feeling confident that EVERYONE will have fun!


Plan to visit all the Indoor exhibits you can find on hot days.


  • There are multiple indoor exhibits all across the zoo. This is a great chance to visit a bathroom and get out of the sun for a little bit with little ones. The Oceans exhibit has a large bathroom with a stall big enough to fit my double stroller.

Figure out what attraction or activity you want to do early in the trip.


  • Animal Feeds happen daily at the zoo. It’s best to check their website for the most accurate information on times and what animals are being fed that day.

  • Tickets are $4 per ticket, $35 for 10-ticket package

RACE-A-CHEETAH PRESENTED BY THE TONY STEWART FOUNDATION

  • This interactive activity in the Plains Exhibit allows for a close-up view of cheetahs and is fun for the whole family. All proceeds go to helping the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Attraction is open from mid-March through October, weather dependent.

SHARK TOUCH POOL

  • In the Oceans Exhibit, a school of smooth dogfish sharks provides a wonderful opportunity for guests of all ages to have a personal encounter with these misunderstood creatures found in the shallows. Open daily, year-round.

Endangered Species Carousel

  • The Carousel is wheelchair accessible. Open mid-March through December, weather permitting.

  • * Please Note: Children under age 3 must be accompanied by an adult. For safety reasons, one adult without a ticket may stand with a paid child.

Kōmbo Family Coaster

  • Featuring 13 two-seater cars individually themed as safari jeeps, the Kōmbo Coaster delivers just the right heights, speeds, twists and turns for the whole family to enjoy.

  • Guests must be at least 47 inches tall to ride.

  • Children under the age of 6 who meet the minimum height requirement must be accompanied by an adult

Skyline

  • The 8-minute ride will give you a new perspective of how orangutans view the world, and you might even see one swinging nearby on the Myrta Pulliam Hutan Trail!

  • Children under age 10 must be accompanied by an adult, but there is no height requirement.

White River Junction Train

  • Climb aboard the White River Junction Train Ride for a tour of the “Zoo behind the Zoo.”

  • Available mid-March through December, riders will also learn about the Zoo’s animal conservation mission.

  • Children under age 10 must be accompanied by an adult.​




Make sure to check their website and social media pages to see what is going on that day!


Map out your trip before you go!

  • This zoo is fairly large and a couple hours to get through at least if you walk through everything. With kids, it will definitely take at least that.

  • This will help you hit all of the places you definitely want to visit before the kids tucker out for nap time.

  • You can find a PDF copy of the map here!


Pack snacks or lunch in a small insulated lunch bag to save some time and money or you can pick out which cafe you want to eat at!

  • Snacks are what get us through our days when we are out and about. (my toddler can’t sit still to really eat when there is cool stuff around to do!)

  • With the insulated lunch box, were able to bring some healthier options and cold waters as well.

Now onto the cafes– There are 4 awesome cafes at the zoo!

  • Cafe at the Commons: The Café is open year-round and serves fresh, healthy options such as fruit, salads with a variety of toppings, wraps, and healthier snacks and drinks. The Café has indoor and outdoor seating and is open during regular Zoo hours.

  • Pavilion Cafe: New menu items like a brisket sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, smoke stack tacos, food truck fries, fried pickles, and much more mean there’s something for everyone. Local craft beer, domestic beer, and wine are also available.

  • Crossings Cafe: Located next to Kangaroo Crossing, the Crossing Café features hot dogs, smash burgers with sustainable local beef from Fischer Farms, gourmet treats, healthy meal options and more.

  • Westside Cafe: Located near the entrance/exit to Plains, the Westside Café presented by Red Gold is the perfect place to pick up a cool beverage or favorites like pizza, breadsticks, and other treats.

  • There are also Encounters Snacks and dining carts sprinkled throughout the zoo.

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I hope these tips help make your first OR next trip to the zoo with your littles a little bit easier!

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