Indianapolis Zoo#7 in Best Things To Do in Indianapolis
Spread across 64 acres and home to more than 1,600 animals and 23,000 plant species, the Indianapolis Zoo is a favorite among families visiting Indy. Easily navigate its sprawling acreage by planning your visit around the zoo's five biomes, or areas of plants and animals separated by climate: Oceans, Deserts, Plains, Forests and Encounters. Among the highlights for recent guests were the underwater dolphin viewing dome and the newly opened orangutan center. Travelers were also impressed with the White River Gardens, which boast a glass-enclosed conservatory, a water garden and 1½ miles of walkways, among other features. The zoo also offers "special zoo experiences" (not included in admission) ranging from swimming with dolphins to watching a penguin paint a work of art (that you get to take home).
Recent visitors raved about the zoo and noted that it was clean and the guides were friendly. The only downside: visitors felt the special zoo experiences were a little pricey, and not reasonable for families on a budget. Reviewers also cautioned against eating at the zoo, as some felt the expensive menus weren't worth the convenience.
You'll find the zoo about a little more than a mile west of downtown Indianapolis inside of the White River State Park. Admission fluctuates depending on the day, but no matter what day it is, you'll receive a discount by purchasing your tickets in advance online. Generally, adult admission costs $10; children between the ages of 2 and 12 can get in for $8. Parking costs $6 per vehicle year-round. Hours change based on the season, but the zoo is usually open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to at least 4 p.m. In the summer, there are extended hours. According to the zoo, the animals are generally more active during moderate temperatures, meaning spring and fall are ideal times to visit. If you're at the zoo during the warmer months, you'll still spot some animal activity as long as you visit in the morning when the temps are cooler. For more information, visit the zoo's website.
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#1 Central Canal
The Central Canal, which also goes by the name Indy Canal Walk, was born in the 1840s when the Indiana state government was trying to bring more commerce to the city. But soon after, the state found itself bankrupt and the plans for a 296-mile waterway were shelved. Today, the Central Canal is a 3-mile loop that flows by the Indiana State Museum, Victory Field, the Indianapolis Zoo and the 250-acre White River State Park, among other popular attractions. You can walk alongside the canal or book a segway tour, but you can also hire a gondolier or rent a pedal boat or kayak.
Whatever mode of transport you choose, you'll enjoy a spectacular view of the Indianapolis skyline, not to mention a 17-foot waterfall, some of the city's best contemporary architecture, and memorials to the U.S.S. Indianapolis and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Keep your eye out for colorful murals on the canal underpasses, too. According to recent visitors, this is the spot for quiet relaxation in Indy. Aside from the peaceful atmosphere, travelers also love how clean the area is, calling the Central Canal an "asset to Indiana."
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