IBJNews

LOU'S VIEWS: Race to Indianapolis Zoo's new cheetah exhibit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

Cheetahs: Race for Survival” is a terrific addition to the Indianapolis Zoo, even though its primary selling point can’t actually be seen.

That selling point is speed. And the marketing push by motorsports star Tony Stewart and the remarkable “0-70 in three seconds” ability of these beasts would naturally lead visitors to believe they are going to see some dust kicked up and land/speed records challenged.
 

Indianapolis Zoo Cheetahs The Indianapolis Zoo’s new cheetah exhibit features five of the namesake animals in spacious enclosures that allow visitors to get up close and personal. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

While the well-designed enclosures (a section for the two males and another for the three females) feel spacious by zoo standards, hunting isn’t part of the program. Instead of watching these cats pursue their meals, visitors must be satisfied to view the cheetahs in less intense mode. That’s not to say they’re mellow. The main viewing kiosk allows for nearly face-to-face encounters with the females, who reveal a grace and power in their confident strides. This makes it easy to imagine what they are like in full-speed-ahead mode.

The only species you are likely to see running at full speed is Man. The exhibition includes a fun interactive racetrack where, for a charitable 50 cents (which goes to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia), kids can run a straightway and learn how quickly a cheetah would overtake and, presumably, devour them. Fun fact: Cheetahs have to rest about a half hour after catching their prey, which leads to much of their bounty being raided by other animals before they can have some for themselves.
 

Indianapolis Zoo Cheetahs For 50 cents, zoo visitors can run a straightaway and see how quickly a cheetah would overtake them. The fee goes to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

This and other bits of info are provided on explanatory boards whose illustrations look like those animated, real-people ads for E-trade.

For comic relief—and additional color and context—the cheetah area in the Plains biome includes a quartet of charming species native to the same region. Squawking Yellow-billed Hornbills, cool-coiffed African Crowned Cranes, pudgy Guineas, and Bat-eared Foxes may hold your attention as long as the cheetahs do.
__________

“Mundanities,” the latest offering from the Indy-based artists collective Know No Stranger, found an enthusiastic audience at the Central Library May 26.

By turns inspired and tedious, the show mixed a tired plot (guy breaks off from his housemates/bandmates to try his hand at the corporate world) with some inspired visuals (including projected advice from the head of Michael Jackson).

Peppering this foray into musical comedy with well-played, catchy (if redundant) songs in the spirit of the Freecreditreport.com commercial guys, the Know No Strangers gang sends a clear message that everyone is welcome to their party. That sometimes plays well (as in a closing-show sing-along), but elsewhere leads to a stage overcrowded with cast members fishing for lines and places to go. If this were an improvised show, it would be easier to make allowances for the rough spots.

The women in the cast—at least those on stage—have remarkably little to do, giving it a boy’s club vibe.

Still, I applaud groups that actually get their heartfelt work produced. The applause comes with the hope that, in future shows, the company finds a way to have its eyes on both its mission as a collective and the overall effectiveness of its presentation. If so, we could be seeing the beginnings of a company capable of producing work in line with such recent groundbreakers as “Avenue Q” and “Urinetown.”
__________

Sometimes, an idyllic theatrical moment can go a long way. That’s the case, for me, with “Speech and Debate,” Stephen Karam’s play getting its Indiana premiere at the Phoenix Theatre.

Telling of three high school outcasts using the title extracurricular activity to expose grown-up indiscretions, the production is oddly paced, with energy-draining time spent with minor scene changes, allowing too much time to contemplate the holes in the plot.

Still, when Diwata (Kelli Johnson) breaks into song on her live blog and the two guys who may compose her entire audience kick in with harmonies from each of their respective bedrooms, the result takes a funny scene into the realm of beauty.•
__________

This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming A&E events to lharry@ibj.com. Visit www.ibj.com/arts for more reviews, previews and blog posts. Twitter: IBJarts

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Great new exhibit!
    I went to see this new exhibit today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The cheetahs were magnificent, and the other animals (including the bat-eared foxes) were entertaining too. I even tried to Race the Cheetah -- the swift cat overtook me at 10 feet. This is a great addition to this nice zoo.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America's Best Zoos

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

ADVERTISEMENT