From furry and slow to sleek and fast, the newest species at the Indianapolis Zoo will take visitors to the extremes when they make their debut Memorial Day Weekend.
Two-toed sloths and black mambas will be featured as part of the two brand-new permanent exhibits:
— MISTery Park presented by Kroger.
— Size, Speed & Venom: Extreme Snakes.
The brand new MISTery Park offers a lush, green landscape of colorful flowers, tall grasses and trees for visitors to explore. In the location of the former Splash Park, misters fill the pathways with a cooling fog while nature sounds from a tropical rain forest play in the background, creating an ideal setting for a close encounter with sloths, which are among the planet’s slowest-moving mammals — so slow, in fact, that algae can grow on their fur in the wild.
Sloths spend most of their day sleeping and hanging out in trees. In the Zoo’s open-air habitat, guests can stand just feet away from Hoffmann’s and Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths, providing a perfect opportunity to snap a selfie. Visitors are then encouraged to share their photos on social media with #IndySlothie, along with a pledge to preserve native habitat for sloths in the wild by purchasing products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Inside the renovated Deserts Dome, Extreme Snakes will showcase more than 20 species from around the world, including some of the largest and most dangerous. Brave guests can then get as close as they dare to an animal widely regarded as one of the deadliest snakes on the planet.
Native to Africa, the black mamba has earned its infamous reputation by combining a strong bite and deadly venom with bursts of speed that outmatch an average human. Their striking name comes from the inky black color inside their mouths, not the dull, brownish-gray color of their bodies. The vibrant eastern green mamba is also highly venomous.
Nearby, two powerful constrictors slink between vines and leaves in large habitats resembling a forest floor. Among Asia’s biggest snakes, the reticulated python — growing up to 30 feet in length — as well as the Burmese python feature marvelous and unique patterns that help them blend in with their surroundings. Visitors can meet these impressive predators during daily python chats, which also highlight the importance of snakes for Earth’s ecosystems.
Extreme Snakes will also highlight native venomous species — the copperhead, cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake — along with safety tips for encountering a snake in the wild.
With two dramatically different exhibits, guests have a chance at the end of each Zoo visit to vote whether they are Team Snake or Team Sloth. The Zoo will provide updates on the teams’ standings throughout the summer on social media.
Both the MISTery Park and Extreme Snakes exhibits are included with regular Zoo admission and free for Zoo members. Guests are encouraged to save time and money by planning their visit in advance at IndianapolisZoo.com.