Indianapolis Zoo Welcomes Spring With New Festival

A sign at the Indianapolis Zoo welcomes guests to xZOOberance
The Zoo’s new xZooberance festival begins March 21

Vanessy Cortes

As the air loses its winter chill and the days become longer, the animals and staff at the Indianapolis Zoo have a case of Spring Fever. In celebration of the new season, the Zoo debuts their very own brand-new festival, as well as the first appearance their newest addition: an adorable baby giraffe.

Beginning of March 21 and running through April 7, xZOOberance offers live music with different acts daily, décor that encapsulates the beauty of nature, fun-filled activities, and encounters with animals to brighten the spirit of any Hoosier’s heart. Farewell winter blues.

Tulips are an indication that springtime is right around the corner. And, the zoo has plenty of them. During the festival, at the Bicentennial Pavilion, you will find an array of vibrant tulips and giant flower figurines surrounding over a dozen animal topiaries. 7-foot giraffes and 6-foot dolphins will show off their evergreen shrubs, alongside a bear, butterfly, eagle, ram, fish, and elephants with their trunks way up in the air. And if that is not enough for an Instagram-worthy photo, take a selfie in front of the zoo’s large wall display of flowers and greenery.

Animals dancing. All 12 days of xZOOberance, you can enjoy live entertainment and performing arts of local acts like Dumpster Drummers, Cathy Morris, Dance Kaleidoscope, and more. American folk band, Hiss Golden Messenger will headline on March 30th at 6 pm, with an opening act of Jai Baker 3 at 5 pm. The Zoo will stay open late that night, so you are able to enjoy the music and dance the evening away.

Flamingos know their yoga. There are many activities guests can do to engage with the animals and staff at Indianapolis Zoo. Partake in some animal-inspired yoga and learn from flamingos on how to balance on one leg. Kids can enjoy creative crafts and create paper kites for the animals at the zoo. Adults can enjoy craft beer, wine, and tasty snacks like the Bavarian Prestel and kettle chips at the Cheer Garden.

Picture of a gray elephant with its trunk extented toward the air.
An elephant trumpets at the Zoo

The mammals at the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion want you to skip out on plastic. While attending the festival, make sure to visit the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as they engage with the staff during educational demonstrations. Not only will see these intelligent creatures leap, dive, and play with balls, you will also learn the effects of plastic on marine life and ways to conserve our oceans. These demonstrations are included with regular Zoo admissions. Also included with admission, is the Butterfly Kaleidoscope at the Hilbert Conservatory. Surround yourself with over 40 species of colorful butterflies for an epic photo.

The name Makena in Swahili means “abundance” or “happy one” and it fits perfectly of the Zoo’s newest addition. The first female giraffe calf since 2000 was born on February 11th. At 134 pounds and 6 feet tall, she began standing and nursing soon after birth! Zookeepers say she is very curious and loves to explore her surroundings. Her beautiful coat of light brown spots resembles her father’s, 8-year-old Majani, while 21-year-old mother Takasa has a darker coat. The Zoo’s giraffe heard, a total of five now, will make their debut during xZOOberance.

The season of Spring symbolizes changes and new beginnings, and the Zoo is preparing for theirs. One of the slowest mammals on the planet will be making their way to the Zoo very slooooowly. Adorable two-toed sloths will hang from branch to branch at the new MISTery Park, which is undergoing development. Across the Zoo, at the Desert Dome, you’ll find a snake exhibit that will home large and powerful predators. The Black Mamba and Reticulated and Burmese pythons will be the newest members of the exhibit. Come see all the new species this Memorial Day Weekend.

The xZOOberance festival runs March 21 through April 7. Activities take place from 10 am to 4 pm Thursdays through Sundays. Purchase tickets at the entrance or online at