Wander Indiana, near the center of the State, the Indianapolis Zoo!


album003The Indianapolis Zoo is a great place to visit in the Capital of Indiana. Located on the South side of the city and snuggled up against the White River that runs along the South side of Indianapolis. The zoo and Arboretum are in the same area. Every year the Arboretum has a delightful butterfly display in their main area. I love going to see all the different kinds of Butterflies. As a former teacher we went to the Zoo every year. It is a good zoo for wandering and see animals in as close to a natural setting as possible. Having been now, to Zoo’s all over the world it isn’t a drop everything must go see zoo, but if you are in Indianapolis, it is a great way to spend a day. The joy for me is getting to share some of my father’s pictures. All the images that are shared with Today’s blog were taken by my father. They are actually from the old zoo of Indianapolis, that later moved to its new location. I remember visiting the old zoo in the early 1970 or possible mid-1969 time frame. We had moved down to Bloomington Indiana in the mid-1960 time frame and wandered around the state seeing many of the state parks. The Indianapolis Zoo was one of our family stops then.

My dad did a bunch of things with the education group at the zoo over the years. So many of his pictures were taken of animals in their habitats. We weren’t often with him as he was working with the Zoo. I did drop him off one time, while I was doing something one evening in Indianapolis and then picked him up later to head back to Bloomington.

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Zoo’s are funny when they move to a new location. What do you do with a Zoo when it closes? Frankly the only thing to do is tear the buildings down and start over. Or let the zoo become overrun with wildlife as a refuge in the city. My favorite part of the old zoo (and they still have one in the new zoo) was the train that went around the entire zoo. It wasn’t a real train, but I loved riding on it.  As a young child my favorite animals were the lions and tigers. I used to love to watch them walk around their cages and look menacing. Now I worry that they are pacing and not happy, which they aren’t but that is maturity speaking. At the time it was amazing for me to see them. I do not have a great desire to see one in the wild. I’ve seen a bear in the wild and that is enough large predator that could easily shred me, in person for me. All images by my father were taken with a Pentax SLR. No D, as this was long before digital cameras. I remember dad having his camera on everywhere we went. The first time we went to the Indianapolis Zoo as kids was in the summer. We had a picnic outdoors. For some reason I remember that was the first time I drank Mountain Doo. Who knows with memories.

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At the bottom of the picture you can see the head of the polar bear in the water. It is funny to me, looking at the zoo in Indianapolis, just North of one of the largest deposits of limestone in the world, that they created all the rock features in the zoo. I understand that the reason you create them is that you can create areas where zookeepers can safely work preparing for feeding and other moments of animal care. But now, looking back at the zoo then, it makes me smile. You have virtually free rock just 50 miles away. And instead you make rock. Anyway, the bears were always a stop when visiting the zoo. The new zoo is really easy to spend the day walking around. It doesn’t have the hills of the Cincinnati Zoo. It is not free (like the national Zoo in Washington DC) but the price is not too high. They have a dolphin pavilion and aquatic area as well. As much as possible the natural environment of the animals is replicated with humans kept in more traditional pathways. It is a good zoo and thanks dad for the wonderful pictures of the old zoo!

(why a family history project? I had promised my father when he was alive that I would scan all his slides and turn them digital. Over the course of the five years that followed that promised I had scanned about 300 of his slides. I figured I had made a dent. When he passed away part of his legacy for me was the rest of his slides and pictures. Over the course of his 79 years my father had taken more than 30,000 slides and pictures. Not including the 3000 digital images he had on thumb drives and S.D. cards, Of all those images maybe 1/5 had been seen by other people. Scan, share (everyone in the family now has all my dad’s pictures digitally) and add to my blog)!

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Family Historian

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