The Great Outdoors


Summer is coming to a close. Your favorite sports’ seasons are ending, the yard has started to get cluttered with leaves, and it’s almost time to hunker down for the winter. There doesn’t seem to be any good outdoor activities to enjoy with the family! “Woe be unto the outdoorsman! There’s nothing fun to do now that it’s colder!” But what if there were some magical land where you could experience the wonder of nature and not have to worry about the brisk air?

Indiana has several zoos whose denizens are just waiting for more visitors!

Zoos these days are working to preserve animals from all over the world from the changing climate and habitat loss due to humanity’s impact. Each zoo has its own style in presenting its animals to the public.

The Indianapolis Zoo has a wide variety of exhibits and interesting stations. The Ocean exhibit displays a plethora of underwater creatures. With more than seventy percent of the Earth being covered in water, and with sea-life coming from fresh and saltwater, the diversity of life from our oceans is astounding. A few highlights of this exhibit include being able to pet sharks, stingrays and interacting with dolphins!

Another great exhibit is the White River Gardens, a “3-acre landmark botanical” garden that contains plant life and natural beauty from a variety of environments. From the indoor Family Nature Center to the outdoor DeHaan Tiergarten, visitors can spend a few hours basking in these peaceful gardens.

For families, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has some great exhibits that kids can interact with and learn more about the diversity of nature.

Compared to the Indianapolis Zoo, the selections of animals are a bit fewer; there are only a few continents represented on the property. But the activities spread around the zoo means that there are very few dull moments. The “Sky Safari” in the African Journey is a ride that takes the participants “38 feet above the African Journey exhibit!” In the center of the zoo is the “Z.O. & O. Railroad,” a replica of an original 1863 C.P. Huntington locomotive, which takes the passengers on a relaxing ride along the zoo’s own Shoaff Lake.

The Potawatomi Zoo in northern Indiana is the state’s oldest animal park. The zoo is spread over 23 acres and holds an impressive 400 animals. The array of activities and sights available for those interested in the zoo are vast and allow everyone who is interested a guaranteed fun time.

These are just a few zoos in the state. Each one has its own flair and mission for the animals that call zoo-life “home.” The patronage to enter goes straight to keeping the zoos running and to further their goals of environment conservation. Why not spend a windy fall afternoon at your local zoo?

The Waynedale News Staff

Ross A. Delong

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