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  • Writer's pictureJoey Amato

Zoopolis 500 Set for its 45th Running

The month of May in Indianapolis is all about racing, and guests at the Indianapolis Zoo can look forward to some fast-paced fun during the annual running of Zoopolis 500 presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana, Inc. on May 22.

Considered the “Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing,” this beloved event spotlights the Zoo’s slow-and-steady radiated tortoises who provide a unique spin on the Indianapolis 500.

Festivities begin at 10am under the Bicentennial Pavilion, where guests can meet the 500 Festival Princesses and snap photos with the 500 Festival Pace Car and the giant milk jug. Plus, the American Dairy Association Indiana, Inc. will be handing out free TruMoo chocolate milk for all to enjoy.

Race fans can enjoy Zoopolis 500 analysis beginning at 11:15am with one of the Zoo’s tortoise experts as well as Indycar Communications VP Dave Furst as the emcee and past Indianapolis 500 champions Tony Kanaan and Alexander Rossi as the grand marshals.

The tortoises and their animal care team will take center stage at 11:30am for a parade lap, joined by the 500 Festival Princesses and American Dairy Association mascot, Buttercup. The green flag drops at 11:30am for the main event, and guests can cheer on their favorite tortoise as they “speed” their way down the track. But these natives of Madagascar aren’t competing for a trophy, but rather some delicious fresh fruits provided by Kroger, which will be waiting for them at the finish line.

Following the race, guests are invited to meet the winning tortoise and pit 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 learn more about the Zoo’s efforts to help these critically endangered animals in Madagascar. One of the Zoo’s longest running traditions, Zoopolis 500 activities are free for Zoo members and included with general admission.

Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at

Photo by Cody Mattox

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