When visitors arrive at the Indianapolis Zoo Saturday, they’ll discover an entirely new entrance – one which takes them through the White River Gardens, past “animal ambassadors” and through an area emphasizing the Zoo’s global wildlife conservation efforts.
Walking through the Indianapolis Colts Welcome Plaza, they will have the chance to meet the likes of a chatty parrot, sleepy sloth, slithery snake, adorable aardvark or pouched rat. Guests can choose to set their own pace and enjoy the gardens or slip into the Hilbert Conservatory to marvel at monarchs and exotic butterflies. They’ll also get a glimpse of an ongoing construction site – which sometime next year will open as the International Chimpanzee Complex.
The next step is to enter the Global Center for Species Survival, where guests will be greeted by the stunning images and video of National Geographic PhotoArk photographer Joel Sartore.
Walking through the Nina Mason Pulliam Grand Concourse, visitors will learn about the conservation efforts taking place through the Global Center for Species Survival and tour the area highlighting the Champions of Conservation honored through the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation.
The Indianapolis Zoo’s Global Center for Species Survival is a partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission. The Global Center staff supports and connects thousands of conservation experts working to secure a future for animals, fungi and plants in more than 160 countries. The Global Center for Species Survival was made possible through a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
Then, it’s time for guests to look up and enjoy “Our Living Planet” a video experience in the Schaefer Rotunda – videos of wildlife such as orangutans, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, arctic foxes, bison, fish and many more recorded in the wild and at the Zoo utilizing 360° technology.
“Our spectacular new welcome experience provides guests with inspiration and enjoyment while highlighting the Zoo’s efforts to save species locally, nationally and internationally.” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo.
Earlier this year, the Zoo launched its $53 million campaign for Our Zoo, Our Community, Our World, which funds major initiatives including the new guest welcome experience and entry, the Global Center for Species Survival.
Guests and members are urged to purchase tickets ahead of time online to receive the best price. This provides an immersive and enjoyable entry to the Zoo without stopping down to purchase a ticket. The Zoo is now cashless but will convert cash to a debit card at no fee for guests.