Indianapolis Zoo welcomes spring with new festival

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Looking for a way to shake off cabin fever? The Indianapolis Zoo says they have it.

On Thursday, the zoo launched the xZOOberance festival to welcome spring.  The new 12-day event features live music, arts, crafts and animal interaction.

"We just thought, what can we do for spring to get people out, get them excited, let the kids go run, and let the parents get their sanity back," said Judy Palermo, senior manager of public relations.

Palermo said it's important to see and experience the natural world. They hope families will do that while taking advantage of warmer weather. Under the pavilion, the zoo installed more than 15,000 flowers as well as animal-shaped hedges.

People can take advantage of animal-inspired yoga or interact with chickens and baby goats. Live music will be played on multiple stages, and adults can get craft beers and wine.

The festival also launched a new dolphin presentation. It focuses on single-use plastics and how small decisions here can affect mammals hundreds of miles away.

"We want people to come and interact with these animals, but our takeaway is that you do have an impact on this world, and the very animals that you’re seeing every day," said Abbie Doan, senior marine mammal trainer.

Like the presentation, Palermo says their core focus is conservation and helping people understand the natural world. They consider their animals ambassadors for species in the wild.

"Once I learn and I’m enlightened about something, well what can I do to help? Just like our dolphins, well I may not live by the ocean, but what can I do to help. I may not live in Africa, but what can I do to help conserve giraffes."

Festival events take place Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For a full list of times and events, head to the zoo's website.

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