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Dancing with Dolphins – Indianapolis Zoo

Dolphin at Indianapolis Zoo   My husband has always loved dolphins so when we learned that the Indianapolis Zoo had a dolphin show we had to check it out. The Indianapolis Zoo is home to a pod of eight Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins. Kimo (M), Ripley (F), Nova (F), and China (F) were the first dolphins acquired by the Indianapolis Zoo. In 1988, they were members of a pod of eight dolphins that were captured in the Gulf of Mexico and sent to live at the Indianapolis Zoo. Kimo, Ripley, Nova, China and the four other dolphins were born between 1983-1985. The Indianapolis Zoo had first opened its doors to the public on April 18, 1964. It was located on East 30th street and housed an Asian elephant, kangaroos, penguins, foxes, raccoons, camels, lambs, bison, deer, tortoises, llamas, prairie dogs, pygmy goats, and buffalo exhibits. By 1984, the zoo had doubled in size and needed a new location. The old zoo closed in 1987 and the groundbreaking for the new downtown location at White River Gardens was held in September 1985. The Indianapolis Zoological Society declared the new park would not only be a place to house animals but would be an institution of education and conservation. The new zoo was opened in 1988 with 64 acres of land divided into different biomes that would allow humans to interact with animals in the animal’s natural habitat. The Indianapolis Zoological Society has tried to breed the original group of dolphins throughout the years in an effort to keep their dolphin population sustainable without resorting to wild captures. In the twenty-three years since the dolphins came to Indianapolis, only three calves have survived; Kalei (F), Indy (F) and Jett (M). The latest addition to the group is Taz. Taz is a male dolphin that was found stranded off the coast of Florida. The Indianapolis Zoo acquired him in 2011. The Indianapolis Zoo grants visitors many opportunities to watch these intelligent marine animals. Each day, the zoo hosts three dolphin shows that showcase four of the nine dolphins. The best part about this show is it will never be the same show twice. Each dolphin has a unique personality that they bring to the show and the staff changes which dolphins will perform depending upon the trainer who is available or how the dolphin feels that day. Dolphins can be quite picky at times, especially when it comes to which human they want to work with so each dolphin has his or her own trainer. The zoo has built a glass dome underneath the pool where the dolphins swim for the show. When the dolphins aren’t performing they are free to swim around. The dolphins literally swim over your head and all around you! They are so playful and fast you could spend hours just watching them swim all around you. The zoo also offers visitors the chance to swim with the dolphins and children can become Junior Dolphin Trainers.