It’s been a long winter in Indy, and the Indianapolis Zoo is helping warm up guests with a new festival. xZOOberance, a 12-day family-friendly event on Zoo grounds, will encompass food, music, arts and entertainment, and animal interactions.

xZooberanceWhile the Zoo grounds are always beautiful, xZOOberance will sport special topiary shaped like many of the animals who call the Zoo home: elephants, giraffes, bears, butterflies and dolphins. The White River Gardens, next door to the Zoo’s main entrance, will host a scavenger hunt for kids. The Butterfly Kaleidoscope will also be open at the Hilbert Conservatory, exhibiting butterflies of all types from around the world.

At the Perch, located under cover of the Bicentennial Pavilion, Zoo guests can interact with animals like chickens and goats. Music will be provided by several bands, including the recycling percussion group the Dumpster Drummers, along with entertainment by several dance groups. You can hop right into art and music workshops, too, and walk away with new knowledge, a spring pinwheel or a new piece of art.

xZOOberance attendees will also have a first chance to experience the new dolphin presentation. Held within the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion, Zoo trainers will take you deep into the wondrous and inspiring world underwater. Alongside an acrobatic dolphin performance, you’ll hear about how Central Indiana families can take small and easy actions to help keep oceans healthy for dolphins in the wild.

For adults wanting to enjoy the experience, stop by the Cheer Garden and treat yourself to a beer, fresh pretzels and other goodies. Relax with live music options at two stage locations around the Zoo and enjoy the first days of spring in Indy.

The Zoo is open from 9 am to 5 pm with xZOOberance activities running from 10 am to 4 pm Thursday-Sunday between March 21 to April 7. Check the schedule on the Zoo’s website for details and ticket purchases.