A beloved Indianapolis racing tradition for 40 years, Zoopolis 500 will return May 22 with lots of fast-paced fun.
Putting a unique twist on the Indy 500, this event spotlights the slow-and-steady radiated tortoises at the Indianapolis Zoo. Additional race-themed activities, plus special guest hosts Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan and IndyCar Series expert Mike King, help make Zoopolis 500 the “Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing.”
Beginning at 10 a.m. at the Entry Plaza, visitors can meet the 500 Festival princesses and get photos with a 500 Festival pace car. Additional pre-race festivities take place near the Arena, where guests can interact with tortoise artifacts, pose for photos with a winner’s wreath, play the turtle matching game and meet snake ambassadors at the new Snake Pit. Plus, complimentary milk chugs will be available from DairyPure and TruMoo (while supplies last).
Race fans can enjoy Zoopolis 500 analysis starting at 11:15 a.m. with King as race emcee and Kanaan as grand marshal, alongside the zoo’s tortoise experts. Then the “racing” radiated tortoises and their animal care team will take center stage for a parade lap, joined by the 500 Festival Princesses and the American Dairy Association mascot, Buttercup.
Kanaan will drop the green flag at 11:30 a.m. for the feature race, and guests can cheer on their favorite tortoise as they “speed” toward the finish line where a tray of delicious fruits awaits. In the winner’s circle, the pit crew will enjoy cold bottles of milk.
Following the race, guests are invited to meet the winning tortoise and crew — animal care staff who can answer turtle-related questions. Later in the day, visitors can stop by Deserts for a special tortoise chat and to learn more about the zoo’s efforts to help these critically endangered animals in Madagascar.
As one of the zoo’s longest running traditions, Zoopolis 500 regularly draws thousands of local fans and national media attention. Event activities are free for zoo members and included with regular admission. Guests are encouraged to save time and money by planning their visit in advance at IndianapolisZoo.com.