By Mary Nicholson

“Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines” not only applies to the thirty-three drivers of the Indianapolis 500, but also to an event at the Indianapolis Zoo.  On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Aldabra tortoises, perhaps even “AJ” and “Lynn” will take part in Zoopolis, sponsored by the American Dairy Association of Indiana and Winners Drink Milk.  What began as a “race” when the tortoises were moved from their winter quarters to their summer homes has grown into an event that begins with a parade lap by Buttercup, the mascot of the Dairy Association, and several other zoo mascots.  Elles Niessen, Dairy Princess, will join the festivities, and perhaps a 500 Festival Princess or two.  The “Voice of the Zoopolis 500” will again be Mike King, the voice of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway radio network.  He usually interviews some of the VIP’s who are on hand that day.  And once again, the honorary flagman will be crowd favorite Tony Kanaan, driving this year for KV Racing Technology.  Once the green flag drops, the Aldabra and perhaps some radiated tortoises will “race” to the finish line with the assistance of their crew.  The big difference in this race is that the tortoises will not be drinking that famous bottle of milk in victory lane, but the winning crew will be!  The tortoise’s prize is a ginormous mound of fresh fruit.

Even guests at the Zoo can get into the “Winners Drink Milk” craze before the race!  Ice cold bottles of milk will be available near the arena where Zoopolis happens. You can even take your own milk mustache pictures under our tent!  So come and join us and the tortoises on Wednesday, May 25, and cheer for your favorite reptile!