Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Indianapolis Zoo Celebrates a Magical Holiday Tradition
Wonders Abound For Visitors of All Ages

December 01, 2008

'Tis the season for snow, sparkling lights, letters to Santa, reindeer, carolers, family togetherness and much more at the Indianapolis Zoo’s holiday spectacular, Marsh Christmas at the Zoo and Indiana Rail Road’s Holiday Trainland! Join us December 5th-30th as the Zoo brings the spirit of the season to the city with thousands of Christmas lights and more that transform the Zoo into a magical holiday treasure for young and old alike!

December is an enjoyable time of the year for everyone, even the animals that love the cooler weather. It’s easy to navigate between indoor exhibits (Oceans presented by Old National Bank, the Dolphin Dome, Deserts Biome, Critter Corner presented by ARAB) and fun rides (Holiday Express Train Ride, “Santa’s Late” 3-D Ride presented by AT&T and the carousel). Other activities include the enchanting Santa’s Village presented by Starbucks, where you can visit with the big guy himself, see his reindeer up close, decorate holiday cookies with Mrs. Claus and put your wishes or blessings on the Lowe’s Wishing Tree. After Christmas, guests can write their thank you letters to Santa and make a noisemaker to ring in the New Year.

If guests get hungry, there are plenty of options for dining. New this year, Santa’s Sweet Shop will feature oversized gourmet caramel apples and rice crispy treats, freshly baked cinnamon rolls and cookies, as well as homemade fudge and brownies. The Café on the Commons will be open from noon to 9 p.m. with festive options like holiday sippers for the kids, cotton candy and hot cider. Meanwhile, freshly roasted almonds and pecans, salted pretzels and hot cocoa will be available for sale throughout Zoo grounds.

Start or end your visit at White River Gardens, where you are greeted by a two-story tall tree decorated with ribbons, lights and pinecones. Lining the walls around it are photos from Indiana Rail Road’s actual trains. The elegant Grand Hallway leads to The Christmas Shoppe, full of unique animal-themed decorations and gifts, and up to the Hilbert Conservatory. Inside the toasty warm Conservatory, kids of all ages will enjoy the special magic of model trains as the travel throughout wonderfully elaborate scenes of villages and towns and among beautiful holiday flowers. Don’t forget to pick up your scavenger hunt sheet on the way in so you can enjoy looking for all the little details in the layouts and take home a prize!

The Zoo and Indiana Rail Road’s Holiday Trainland open at 12 noon during the event, then from 5-9 p.m., visitors enjoy all the festive activities as the glow of the lights brighten as dusk descends. Marsh Christmas at the Zoo is closed on Christmas Eve & Day and New Year's Eve. Admission is $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for seniors 62+ and youth 2-12. Discount tickets are available at all Central Indiana Marsh and O'Malia's store locations, or receive one dollar off admission by donating a new hat, scarf or gloves to the Julian Center’s Mitten Tree.