About this Vendor
Romance & fun in the heart of Indy!
Create the wedding of your dreams among gorgeous gardens, breathtaking views & a choice of memorable venues. The zoo proudly utilizes green practices in addition to supporting broader conservation efforts. Wedding/reception packages, evening receptions, day weddings & rehearsal dinners available.
Amenities + Details
Outdoor - Covered
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Ballroom, Garden, Park, Tented
Food + Catering
AmazingReviewed on 1/13/2014 Katie P
They did everything we needed. They were so kind and generous in doing whatever we needed at any time. They brought us water before and after ceremony and were very well scheduled.
Amazing outdoor and indoor spaceReviewed on 7/11/2012 Courtney M
We had our ceremony in the wedding garden. It was a naturally beautiful space. The knot garden was a wonderful space for the cocktail hour. We had our reception in the dolphin gallery. Our guest really enjoyed the dolphins swimming during the reception. The staff at the zoo were amazing! They went above and beyond what I expected.
White River GardensReviewed on 5/01/2012 Beth M
I got married in the Hilbert Conservatory at the White River Gardens, with my reception in the Hulman Riverhouse. It was wonderful! The Conservatory setting was green and lovely, and meant I didn't need to spend money on flowers to decorate it! :) The Zoo staff were great, and CenterPlate catering also did a fantastic job--everyone complimented us on the meal! We had 110 guests, and that was just about the right size for this location. A few warnings, should you choose this location: --Be prepared to have your guests stand during the ceremony. We kept it short and sweet so that folks didn't have to stand too long, but we wanted it to be short, anyway. Up to six people per side can sit on the floor, so close family members were down there with us (along with bridal party). --Speaking of bridal party--I wouldn't have more than 4 bridesmaids in this location. Not much space on the floor where the ceremony takes place. --Beware if they are having butterflies in the Conservatory the year/season of your wedding. You can bring flowers in, but can't take them back out because of pollination issues. This means more expense, flower-wise, if you want to walk down the aisle with a bouquet, and then have another one during the reception/outside for pics. If you want a short, small, beautiful ceremony, I highly recommend the Conservatory!
I can't express how happy I was that we choose to have our wedding at the zoo. Specifically we held our ceremony in the Wedding Garden. From day one the service was excellent. They were constantly in touch with me, ensuring I had all of my questions answered. They track every detail and ensure it is taken care of. On the day of the wedding we were able to use a room to dress in which was extremely helpful. The coordinator had been at the rehearsal and was therefore prepared to help organize the flow of the wedding. All the staff was a pleasure to work with and they are great at what they do. The gardens are amazingly beautiful and it was a perfect place for our wedding.
My wife and I held our reception in the Dolphin Pavilion at the Indianapolis Zoo. What am amazing venue! Weeks later our guests still cannot stop talking about how amazing it was to walk through the dolphin dome and see them swimming around under the lights all night long. Jackie and her zoo staff were superb from beginning to end. She always made us feel like her top priority and eliminated any concern during the planning process. We used a planner to handle most things, and Jackie was very receptive to her as well in terms of handling scheduling, meetings, and decoration questions. The venue itself was a perfect location for our reception. Even if you didn't decorate a thing, the underwater dome and swimming dolphins would be enough. But with some lighting and table decor it is absolutely perfect! The built-in bar area is plenty large enough to handle a large crowd, and the dance floor is being and in perfect view of windows into the dolphin tanks. It's hard to believe such a great space came at a value far better than lesser venues we looked at. Catering at the zoo has to be handled internally by Centerplate, but this is a bonus! Miranda and her staff with Centerplate were fabulous. She worked closely with Jackie and our planner and things went perfectly. The food was amazing, and received many compliments from guests. And the servers and bartenders were friendly and attentive all night. We could not have asked for more from our reception venue or caterer. If you want a reception in an amazing, unique location that your guests will remember for a long time, this is the place to be!
Dream Wedding LocationReviewed on 7/20/2015 Megan E
My husband and I got engaged at the Zoo and when we started to think of places we would like to get married the Zoo was top of our list. However, we figured it was way out of our price point so we looked at multiple locations prior to reaching out to the Zoo to look at what we thought would be a dream, out of our budget wedding. However, we were surprised at the reasonable prices and our dream turned into a reality. Once we saw the prices and the locations options we couldn’t sign the contract fast enough! Choosing the Zoo was the best decision we made for our wedding. Not only was it a fun and unique location but it also was breath taking. Jackie and Miranda and all the other staff we worked with were not only extremely responsive and professional, and open to all our ideas and dreams they also helped guide us towards an unforgettable day. The gardens were breath taking and most people who attended the ceremony never knew this part of the Zoo existed and they all had a blast exploring and enjoying the beautiful summer evening prior to and after our ceremony. The Dolphin Gallery as a reception location is fun and lends itself as a location for people who both liked to dance and those who did not. The entire time there were multiple dolphins swimming and entertaining our guests. If we had to do it all over again, we would have decided on the Zoo sooner and not changed a thing. We would recommend the Zoo to anyone who is looking for a beautiful location for a wedding that also has fun and unique factors!
Beautiful Venue, So-So ExperienceReviewed on 11/11/2014 Kayla H
This venue is absolutely beautiful! Jackie was wonderful to work with, was very professional from beginning to end, and was always quick to respond to any questions or concerns we had prior to our Wedding day, as well as the day of. While we had a good experience in this regard, our experience with Centerplate was quite different. Staff was multiple times unprofessional and up until the day of our Wedding, we had multiple issues with Centerplate. Despite these drawbacks, the servers and staff did an excellent job on the day of our Wedding. Everything ran very smoothly and the evening was just perfect. The food was actually pretty good as well. I would recommend this facility for a ceremony, but due to Centerplate being the exclusive vendor for catering; it is unlikely that we will encourage other couples to use this vendor in the future. It would be beneficial for the zoo to incorporate a second option for catering. This would allow for some competition to occur amongst caterers and would prevent an exclusive caterer from running a monopoly on customers, which is how we felt at times.
Great venue but with restrictionsReviewed on 9/27/2014 Mariel L
We loved working with the Zoo contacts. They were prompt in emails and phone calls, and there were no problems getting into the reception venue for pre wedding decoration planning. Plus, they were great with suggestions. The garden was absolutely GORGEOUS the day of- we received so many compliments. However, the zoo has several restrictions on timing on rehearsals and being allowed into the reception area (the contract says we were allowed in two hours before the ceremony begins, and we could have a 2pm rehearsal the day before), which can cause time crunches if not planned well.
My wedding was beautifulReviewed on 8/25/2014 Miranda M
I wanted to elope and my husband wanted a wedding so we needed a location where it could appear to be just the two of us. The zoo was perfect! We got married in the butterfly garden. We were standing on the first level while our guest stood on the second level. I got so many positive comments from friends and family about how the venue was different than any wedding that they had ever been to. I do warn that if you get married here you do have to use Center Plate for food. Most of the expenses at the zoo was for Center Plate. The food was good don't get me wrong but it is pricy. Miranda is the contact for Center Plate- She was not good at returning calls, emails, following up or thru with things. I had to contact her several times to get things done, which was not pleasant- please note that I'm a very type A person. So maybe this style will work for you. But if I was rating Center Plate I would give less stars. Overall the location was great and I had a wonderful night!
Beautiful Venue!Reviewed on 8/08/2011 Sarah C
We had both our ceremony and reception in the wedding gardens and Hulman Riverhouse. Jackie is amazing to work with though the whole planning process. We did a lot of things the zoo had never done before and they were able to accommodate. Highly recommended!
Wedding Gardens & Party PavilionReviewed on 7/09/2011 Julie R
I got married outside in June in the wedding gardens and then had my reception in the outdoor tent (Party Pavilion). The gardens were absolutely beautiful and exactly what I wanted for the ceremony. Also, the coordinators at the zoo were exceptional and really made the whole planning process go so much smoother. They were there the day of as well to help things flow and made it so I did not need to hire an outside coordinator which was really great. My biggest complaints are that there were many restrictions as to how I could decorate the tent. Although the reception was still very pretty, I would have liked it much better had I had the freedom to decorate the way I envisioned. My second complaint is that they have an exclusive catering contract, which means you have less options for food and drinks. In some ways this makes it easier because you don't have to search for a caterer, but there is no way to negotiate on price and you are not allowed to bring in anything else besides a cake. Overall, my experience at the zoo was very positive and I would recommend the venue to others whole heartedly.
Ceremony at Wedding gardenReviewed on 6/28/2011 Julia D
Absolutely fantastic! The zoo staff was amazing, very attentive and always making sure all the little details were taken care of. A+++++++
Well priced and great service!Reviewed on 6/22/2011 Janice F
Out of the 5 or so final venues that my husband and I considered, the zoo was the most affordable and was great in that it offered an outdoor ceremony space, a rain backup location, and several reception options all in one package! You only get one catering option, but Centerplate was fantastic all-around. Timing proved to be a little difficult due to normal zoo operating hours, but it was still a fantastic venue for us.
Indianapolis Zoo - White River GardensReviewed on 5/17/2011 Heather T
This venue is absolutely beautiful and amazing! It's hard to put into words everything it has to offer. There are so many wonderful photo opportunites! The White River Gardens and the Hulman Riverhouse offer lots of space for guests to enjoy. My only complaing was the caterer they used. The food was extremely expensive and tasted horribly. The presentation of the dinner and appetizers was equally as disappointing.
Couldn't have picked a better venue!!!Reviewed on 10/28/2010 Cheryl T
The Indianapolis Zoo was a PERFECT venue. We had the ceremony outside in the Wedding Garden (botanical gardens). They keep it absolutely beautiful all year around (our wedding was 10.10.10). The reception was in the Dolphin Gallery where you get access to the underwater dolphin dome. After the dancing started and the dj lights came on all 7 dolphins came out and swam up to the windows to play with the guests and watch the lights. It was so amazing. Even if you've been the the dolphin shows this is really a unique experience. The staff were extremely helpful and extremely nice every step of the way. I have zero complaints about this venue. If you are looking for a unique and really fun venue, you can't beat the Indy Zoo. * They have an exclusive caterer: Centerplate. They are fantastic to work with as well. Great food and service. My total cost includes the Zoo facility rental and the cost of catering for ~100 guests.
Beautiful despite restrictionsReviewed on 8/11/2010 Sharon C
Our wedding was held in the Efroymson Wedding Garden in the White River Gardens (attached to the Zoo), and it was absolutely gorgeous. We originally reserved the Hulman Riverhouse as the venue for the reception, but the mother of the bride didn't like the flow of the room, so we held the reception in the Dolphin Gallery instead. It was fantastic, and all my guests were so excited that the underwater dome was included as part of the festivities. The catering was delicious, albeit very expensive, but the event sales reps were very helpful and great to work with. Because the zoo keeps the animals habitats as high priority, we weren't allowed several little details: no balloons, no open flames (exception made for the unity candles), sparklers, etc. My guests and I were also disappointed that once we went to the reception venue, we were not allowed back out to the parking lot without being denied re-entry--thus there was no cool exit to the getaway car cheered on by the guests. On the whole, however, it was a lovely wedding, and it was a plus that we didn't need to get much in the way of floral decorations for the ceremony because the gardens were in full bloom. Great experience!
Meet The Manager
Congratulations on your engagement! What an exciting time for you and your families! I am the Wedding & Events Sales Manager with the Indianapolis Zoo and began working here as an intern in 2008. I graduated from the University of Indianapolis and have been in my current position for six years. I love my Zoo family, all the amazing clients & vendors I have the honor to work with and all the amazing ways we can impact both local and global communities by our conservation efforts. Thanks again for including us in your venue search! I can't wait to learn more about you and your event vision!