INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Zoo is expanding its footprint. A 10-acre donation from Indy-based Ambrose Property Group, combined with land purchased by the zoo, will add 26.5 acres of space to the popular Marion County attraction.

The Zoo and White River Gardens currently covers 67 acres and is home to nearly 1,300 animals including 213 species.

Zoo representatives say the land deal will allow the zoo to expand the animal areas and educational programming into its current parking lot space.

Dr. Rob Shumaker, Zoo president, says the new space will improve events and customer experience.

“This is a terrific example of how Ambrose continues to be invested in our community and proves its leaders care about the future of our city and the Zoo,” said Shumaker. “The first thing members and visitors will notice immediately is more available parking for ZooBoo and Christmas at the Zoo this year. Hundreds of extra parking spaces are already being utilized along Harding street at the west end of the Waterside development area.”

Starting Oct. 17-27 during ZooBoo, parking will be available at the new South Lot as well as a shuttle to the Zoo.