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INDIANAPOLIS  — The Indianapolis Zoo is expanding.

The purchase of 16.5 acres of land, combined with a 10-acre donation from Ambrose Property Group, will add 26.5 acres of space to the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens.

The Zoo and White River Gardens currently includes 67 acres and is home to nearly 1,300 animals, according to Inside Indiana Business.

Zoo representatives said the deal will allow animal areas and educational programming to move into what is currently the parking lot.

Zoo visitors and members will notice one change immediately, according to Dr. Rob Shumaker, Zoo president.

“The first thing members and visitors will notice immediately is more available parking for ZooBoo and Christmas at the Zoo this year,” Shumaker said. “Hundreds of extra parking spaces are already being utilized along Harding street at the west end of the Waterside development area.”

(Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo.)