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A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to the Indianapolis Zoo, located in White River State Park. It was a rainy Sunday, which I decided I like, because we had the entire zoo to ourselves. (There were actually other families there, but it felt like it was all ours.)
The great thing about the zoo is that you can literally see animals from all over the world. From polar bears to penguins, meerkats to reticulated tortoises, monkeys and koalas. You can even pet some dog sharks in the ocean display (they’re smooth, but a little squishy. Not at all firm, like a regular fish). Since we have a family membership, we’re able to visit the few displays we want to see without the need to race around to get as many displays in as we can.
My favorite display is always the penguins. The little tuxedoed waiters waddling ungainly around their refrigerated display turn into sleek torpedoes as soon as they hit the water. They actually occupy two large displays that are separated by the visitors’ hallway, although the penguins can swim under the floor. The walls are made of Plexiglass so you can even crouch down to see the little creatures under water. We spent several minutes watching the penguins — at least, I did, and my kids kept telling me they were ready to go somewhere else.
“Somewhere else” turned out to be the walrus display, and if anything is cooler than penguins; it’s walruses. These sea buffaloes are excellent swimmers, and are very playful. In fact, my wife spent about 15 minutes playing with one of the walruses. They have a similar Plexiglass wall in their giant habitat so you can watch them swim under water. Toni would crouch down and run to one end of the wall, and her friend would follow her. Then she would pop up, and the walrus would pop up. She would crouch down, wave “come on,” and run back to the other end, the walrus keeping up with her.
They played this way for 15 minutes, with the walrus waiting patiently if she ever stopped to see if he would go on without her. (He didn’t.) Finally, when we had to leave, the walrus started bobbing his head up and down excitedly, as if to say “don’t go! Play with me some more!” With promises that we would return, we headed for home, the rain having turned to a light drizzle.
Although we won’t wait for another rainy day to return, we’re planning on taking advantage of our family membership as often as we can this year.
Photos: Erik Deckers (Picasa)
Have you ever been to the Indianapolis Zoo? What are your favorite animals? We’ll announce a way you can enjoy Indiana’s only urban State Park later today!