Everyone has heard of the Indy500. Far fewer have heard of the city’s other greatest spectacle in racing, the Zoopolis 500 tortoise race.
Presented by the American Dairy Association, the Zoopolis 500 is a tortoise race that runs at a decidedly slower pace.
This year’s event, which marks the 33rd annual running, is set to start immediately after the parade at 11:30am in Dean’s Arena on May 22, 2013.
There will be lots of stuff to do for the whole family, including “radiated tortoises racing” in which tortoises race not for a trophy, nut instead for a loaded fruit platter located at the finish line. These animals have beautifully mark shells that are distinctive due to the presence of star-patterned stripes that radiating from the center of their shells. They are widely considered among the most beautiful and distinctive tortoises in the world.
The 500 Festival Princesses wil be in attendance, along with the stars of the Indy Racing League, IRL Chief Announcer Mike King and past IRL IndyCar Series champ Tony Kanaan.
A good turn-out is expected, so it is a good idea to show up early to get a good seat. Tony Kanaan will sign autographs. Fans will get a look inside a 500 Festival Pace Car. Children will enjoy hugs from animal mascots. Plus, the Pit Stop Challenge will allow kids to experience life from a pit crew member’s point of view.
Dean’s milk will be served throughout the morning free of charge. Zookeepers will be available after the race to answer tortoise-related questions, and to help educate the public about this endangered species. All of these activities are included in the regular Zoo admission.
The Zoopolis 500 is one of the oldest and most popular events for kids, and takes place every year, on the Wednesday preceding he race.