Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dolphin Shows at Indianapolis Zoo

One of the features I've always enjoyed at Chicagoland's Brookfield Zoo are the dolphin shows. I recently was in Indianapolis and spent some time at their wonderful zoo, which included taking in a dolphin show.

The Marsh Dolphin Theatre has two shows daily that are included in your zoo admission. You need to obtain a ticket for the free show and a limited amount are available, so be sure to get yours early to ensure that you'll be able to enjoy the show. The shows are about 20-minutes in length and filled with upbeat music as the residents perform under water and above.

If you're a big fan of dolphins and plan a little in advance, you can enjoy the rare opportunity for an in-water adventure with the dolphins. From the zoo's website, here are details of those exciting encounters.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Dolphin In-Water Adventure ​

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to step into the world of our dolphins!  This 90-minute Dolphin In-Water Adventure program includes:
  • A backstage classroom session about dolphin characteristics, adaptations and training.
  • More than 30 minutes of poolside/in-water time with our trainers and dolphins where in-water participants will get a sampling of the different activities the Zoo’s trainers carry out each day – feeding a dolphin, signaling the dolphin to carry out a behavior, and lots of up-close, hands-on interactions. 
  • Along with memories for a lifetime, participants will receive a souvenir towel and a digital photograph of themselves with a dolphin! 
Please note: This is a wade-in program and no swimming is involved. Each session includes up to eight participants.

Requirements for Participation

  • All participants must be at least 4 feet, 6 inches (54 inches) tall.
  • Participants who meet the height requirement and are between the ages of 6 and 13 must be accompanied by a paid  adult either in the water or as an observer.
  • Observers must be at least 6 years old. Paid observers between the ages of 6 and 13 must be accompanied by a paid adult observer with a ratio of one adult per child.
  • Observers cannot register separately; they must be associated with a participant.
  • Observers experience the classroom session and are able to watch their participant from an area near the in-water activity. Only paid observers will be able to view the interaction.
  • To insure the health and safety of our guests and dolphins, those who are pregnant may only observe.
On the date of their program, guests should arrive 15 minutes prior to their scheduled time to fill out paperwork in the Hix Institute, located directly to the right of the Zoo admission gates.


Participant: Zoo Member $205; Non-Member $225
Observer: Zoo Member $30; Non-Member $40

Payment in full is required at time of registration. Pricing is subject to change. There will be no refunds unless the Indianapolis Zoo has to cancel the program and guests cannot reschedule.  Please note that registration closes 14 days before the event date. 

Another fun feature of the shows is a "Junior Dolphin Trainer" opportunity where kids can sit up close and help give cues to the dolphins along side the trainers. It is only $10 per person and tickets can be purchased the day of your visit. More details below from the zoo's website:

Junior Dolphin Trainer

Lots of young people dream of someday becoming a dolphin trainer. The Junior Dolphin Trainer program presented by Dippin' Dots offers an up-close encounter for the little marine mammal lover in the family. 
Purchase your Junior Dolphin Trainer ticket at the admissions window when you arrive at the Zoo and you will be assigned a dolphin show to attend. Plus all Junior Dolphin Trainers receive a special badge.
Each junior trainer will be met inside the Marsh Dolphin Adventure Theatre and escorted to reserved seating in the first row of the west side of the theatre. When it's time, the marine mammal trainers will bring up their junior counterparts to help them cue the dolphins by hand! After the experience, the junior trainers will receive a collectors card with information on the dolphin they "trained," which will fit inside the badge holder as a souvenir. This program is only $10.00 per junior trainer (the rest of the party will not need special tickets to get into the show) and is for children age 5 and up. 

Of course, the dolphins are just one of the amazing zoo exhibits. Plan for a full day at the zoo where you can have fun on rides, explore a variety of species, pet a shark and visit the new International Orangutan Center. 

The zoo is celebrating its 50th year and is part of the White River State Park.

Indianapolis Zoo
1200 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN

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