May Guide to Family Events in and Around Indianapolis

Summer is getting closer, y’all! Even though the weather has been wacky, it hasn’t stopped the fun from coming to your town! Here is our May round up of our favorite family activities (and events for parents looking for a night out!) right here in Indianapolis and surrounding areas!

May 1 and May 8

The Mother of All Pairing Classes: Cheese and Chocolate – Tulip Tree Creamery – 6 p.m.

Surprise the special mother in your life with a gift she’ll really love. Tulip Tree Creamery is hosting a chocolate and cheese pairing event with our friends at Xchocol’art.

Class includes:

  • Certified Cheese Professional Laura Davenport (co-owner at Tulip Tree Creamery) and award-winning chocolatier Joann Hofer (owner at Xchocol’art) will touch on the art and science of cheese and chocolate production
  • Discussion of how to pair food and wine with the complex flavor profiles of cheese and chocolate
  • Custom curated pairing of 4 Tulip Tree Creamery cheeses with 4 Xchocol’Art Chocolates
  • Tour of the Tulip Tree Creamery facility
  • A Tulip Tree Creamery cheese and Xchocol’art chocolate gift bag to bring home($25 value)
  • BYOB
  • 10% discount on cheese purchases
  • Mozzarella Class on May 2nd at 6 p.m. (separate cost/ticket)

Cost: $60                                       

May 1 – May 3

Music, Masters and Marionettes – Peewinkle’s Puppet Studio, Indiana State Museum – 2 p.m.

This 50 minute performance will blend music and art from around the world with hand crafted performing marionettes. Students, 4th – 6th grade, will be able to visit the gallery of vintage and international puppets and learn the importance of the art of puppetry throughout history. Educational packet included…see sample in studio. Make it a tandem field trip…marionette show and museum all for only $10 per ticket.

Cost: $10                                      

May 1 to May 6

Indy Film Fest XV – Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

What started as a two-day festival in 2004 has since expanded to include year-round events that empower audiences to connect with films, filmmakers, and one another.

May 1 to May 12

Hairspray: The Musical – The Tarkington at the Center for Performing Arts, Carmel – 7 p.m.

The 1950s are out, and change is in the air! It’s 1962 in Baltimore, and the lovable plus-size teen, Tracy Turnblad, has only one desire – to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star. She uses her celebrity and newfound power to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob, Link Larkin, and along with her friends and fans – change the world… all without denting her ‘do! Hairspray, winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, is a family-friendly musical, piled bouffant-high with laughter, romance. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s crisp pop score is full of deliriously tuneful songs including “Good Morning Baltimore”, “Without Love” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

May 1 – May 13

Wicked – Old National Centre – 7:30 p.m. and 1 p.m.

Back by “popular” demand. Variety calls Wicked “a cultural phenomenon,” and it continues to break box office records and sell out in record time. Winner of over 100 international awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, Wicked is “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times).Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the Land of Oz One—born with emerald green skin—is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for “the most complete—and completely satisfying—new musical in a long time” (USA Today).

May 1 – August 28

Summer Concert Series – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park – 7 p.m.

The Summer Concert Series returns this spring through the summer, featuring acts such as ODESZA, Kidz Bop Live and Jason Mraz!

May 1 – May 13

The Mystery of Edwin Drood – The Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel

The ATI 13th Season closes with the rip-snorting rendition of Rupert Holmes’ THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel of the same name. In this bombastic rendition of the whodunit Dickens’ mystery, the audience enters the action and becomes the ultimate detective, deciding who committed the dastardly deed! WINNER of the Tony Award® for Best Book, Best Original Score and Best Musical.

Cost: $20-$45              

May 1 – May 20

Noises Off – Indiana Repertory Theatre

Ever gone to a play and something went wrong? What happens when everything goes wrong? Rehearsal implosions, backstage shenanigans and onstage disasters have the cast on life support—and the audience in stitches!

Cost: $25 and up                        

May 2

Eva: A Teach Plus Viewing – Indianapolis Public Library – Central Library – 5:30 p.m.

Join Teach Plus for a viewing of the hour-long version of the new documentary from WFYI and Ted Green Films, “Eva,” the incredible story of Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor. Pulled with her family from their Romanian farm, she endured the unconscionable experiments of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” and sunk into decades of isolation and anger before single-handedly launching the biggest manhunt in history and ultimately starting a worldwide movement of healing through forgiveness. Following the film, to be shown in Central Library’s Clowes Auditorium, Teach Plus will lead a discussion on Equity and Acceptance in the Classroom.    

May 3

Coffee Classical Series – Rachmaninoff’s Ravishing Second Symphony – Hilbert Circle Theatre – 11 a.m.

Karina Canellakis, Conductor. Jennifer Koh, Violin.

The premiere of Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony was so poorly received that it took years of psychotherapy and hypnosis to drive away his self-doubt. Thankfully, he persevered with the triumphant Symphony, a lush and romantic masterpiece that moves us to this day.

Andrew Norman – Violin Concerto (ISO co-commission)
Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 2


May 4

Disney Junior Dance Party – Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University – 6 p.m.

Are you ready to DANCE?!? Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour is an ALL NEW interactive live concert experience. Sing along to Disney Junior’s greatest hits with your favorite characters: Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia The First, Puppy Dog Pals, Elena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, The Lion Guard and more! Kids of all ages and their families are invited to get up and dance, play games and join the biggest dance party around!


May 4

Free Fitness Friday – Indianapolis City Market – 5:30 p.m.

Head to City Market’s west plaza for a free yoga class with YMCA instructor Katy Newton for their Free Fitness Friday! This yoga class will take place on City Market’s north mezzanine inside the Market House in the event of rain.

Cost: Free    

May 4

First Friday Art at the Market – Indianapolis City Market – 6 p.m.

#ArtAtTheMarket is back! Venture to one of the newest venues for First Friday in Indianapolis to enjoy local artists, a special musical performance, food and shopping from City Market Merchants open late, and Indiana craft beer from Tomlinson Tap Room!

Interested in showing your work, or know someone who is? Have them email Joe Perin.

This event is free and open to the public. Tomlinson Tap Room is a 21-and-up space only, so please have your ID ready.

Cost: Free    

May 5

Rev – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Rev is an evening of entertainment and fun! Guests will dine on driver-inspired cuisine, enjoy a variety of music and entertainment, and mingle with IndyCar drivers and racing legends.

Cost: $300    

May 5

Indy 500 – OneAmerica 500 500 Festival Mini-Marathon – Downtown – 7:30 a.m.

You could say the City of Indianapolis is a little obsessed with fast races and massive sporting events. This passion for speed and sport is why the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is one of the nation’s largest half marathons (and has been for 20+ years).

On the first Saturday of May, 35,000+ runners, joggers, walkers and wheelchair racers, including American running icon Meb Keflezighi, will take over the streets of downtown Indianapolis for The Greatest Spectacle in Running – the Indy Mini. This epic race starts in the heart of downtown Indianapolis like only we could – with an IndyCar leading off each wave. The flat, fast course is packed with thousands of the nicest volunteers you’ll ever meet and nearly 100 course entertainment acts. What makes the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon even more special is that the course includes a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (you know, home of the Indy 500). As participants reach the Speedway’s Yard of Bricks, many will stop to kneel and kiss the bricks. Funny tradition? Maybe. But tradition is what we’re all about!

2018 marks the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon’s 42nd running. Within its history, countless stories have emerged around the heart pounding excitement of the Indy Mini. From United States Olympians Frank Shorter and Meb Keflezighi, to the nine people that have completed every Mini-Marathon, to families getting healthy together, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon has become a beloved tradition.

Cost: $40 and up        

May 9 – May 13

Virginia Avenue Music Fest – Fountain Square Cultural District

The 2018 version of the Virginia Avenue Music Fest will feature five days of music in Fountain Square and Fletcher Place in Indianapolis, IN. More details to be announced over the coming months. This is a free, all ages event.


Lucy Furr, Charlie Ballantine, Unveiling of the Lineup, Allison Victoria, DysFUNKtion Brass, and more.

May 9

Jungle Tales – Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens

Bring your preschooler to this program with a focus on the natural world. Join us for a different nature-related story, activity and craft each month. For ages 2-5.

Cost: $5. Registration required.         

May 10

Girls Night Out – Indiana Repertory Theatre – 6 p.m.

Join the Indiana Repertory Theatre for our second annual Girls Night Out event. Grab a group of friends and enjoy a night of shopping, local libations, bites and more! The event will conclude before the IRT’s hilarious season closer Noises Off.

Event begins at 6 pm, with performance at 7:30 pm.

Cost: $60  

May 11 – May 12

INDYCAR Grand Prix – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Start your Month of May engines with the INDYCAR Grand Prix, featuring the stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series on the IMS road course.


Friday, May 11
7:30 am – Public gates open
All day – Practice and qualifying
7:30 pm – Public gates close

Saturday, May 12
7:30 am – Public gates open
9:15 am – USF2000 Race
10:10 am – Pro Mazda Race
1:15 pm – Indy Lights Race
3:50 pm – INDYCAR Grand Prix
7 pm – Public gates close

Cost: $25 and up    

May 12 – May 13

Mother’s Day Weekend – Indianapolis Zoo

During this fun, annual event, the Indianapolis Zoo puts the spotlight on all mothers — both human and animal.

The recognition begins right as you enter the Zoo with a special “Proud Mom” sticker. The fun is just beginning as the whole family participates in the Zoo-wide scavenger hunt. Follow the clues to discover several Zoo mothers and interesting animal facts along the way. For example, did you know that a mother elephant carries her calf for 22 months? Or that the whole group, or pod, of dolphins help to raise young dolphins? Once you finish the exciting hunt, stop over at the White River Gardens Gift shop to receive a special gift!

To remember your special day, there will be Mother’s Day photo opportunity located along the main pathway. Special Mother’s Day coloring sheets can be found to the side for your little ones to decorate for you, too! Are you a brand new mom? Don’t forget to check out the Nursing Mom’s Nest presented by Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health while you’re here. Located in Flights of Fancy, this private space offers a place for moms to care for and breastfeed their babies.

Mother’s Day weekend activities are free for Zoo members and included with regular Zoo admission.

Cost: Zoo admission           

May 12

John Prine – Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University – 8 p.m.

Two time Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter, John Prine, is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Forty-five years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good. He is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member whose classic debut album, simply titled John Prine, is recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame. Prine’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Tom T. Hall, the Everly Brothers, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, and many others. But his genius isn’t found in his resume, it’s found in the brilliance of lyrics from his large catalog of songs.


May 12 – May 13

Indianapolis KISS Expo – Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel – 9 a.m.

Guests include Eric Singer, Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick, Bob Kulick, Anton Fig, Michael James Jackson, Brent Fitz, John Regan, Tod Howarth, Mark Slaughter, Todd Kerns, Bill Starkey, Lydia Criss, Karl Cochran, Robert Fleischman, Roman Fernandez, The Gene Simmons Band (minus Gene Simmons), John Harte, Lita Ford, Bobby Rock, and Four by Fate.

Cost: $45 and up

May 12

John Prine – Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University – 8 p.m.

Two time Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter, John Prine, is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Forty-five years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good. He is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member whose classic debut album, simply titled John Prine, is recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame. Prine’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Tom T. Hall, the Everly Brothers, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, and many others. But his genius isn’t found in his resume, it’s found in the brilliance of lyrics from his large catalog of songs.


May 13

Mother’s Day Brunch

Hotels and restaurants all over the city such as the Palomino and Weber Grill are hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch in honor of all of the wonderful mamas out there! Be sure to check out your favorite restaurant to see their featured menu and activities.

May 18 – May 19

Printing Partners Popsl Series – A Salute to Louis Armstrong with Byron Stripling – Hilbert Circle Theatre – 8 p.m.

Jack Everly, Conductor. Byron Stripling, Trumpet & Vocals. Carmen Bradford, Vocals.

With the passion and swagger of Louis Armstrong himself, Byron Stripling headlines a fantastic evening of Jazz and Swing with phenomenal trumpet playing and vocals. Enjoy “Satchmo” classics including “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “What a Wonderful World,” plus unforgettable Ella Fitzgerald collaborations featuring dazzling songstress Carmen Bradford.


May 18 – May 19

Peter Pan – The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel

We will fly, we will fly, we will fly! Watch as CIDE dancers transform into Wendy, Michael, and John and take to the sky with Peter Pan to fly to Neverland where they meet up with Tiger Lily, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys. Audience members will feel like a kid again and won’t want to grow up after seeing this fun, iconic fairy tale ballet come to life.


May 19

Rainbow 5K Run and Walk

The 7th Annual Rainbow 5K Run/Walk for Pride is a great event for those trying to beat their personal best and those simply trying to stay active. This is a family friendly event, with special youth registration fees for kiddos 13 and under that want to walk, or RUN!

This is a RAIN or SHINE event. No refunds will be given due to inclement weather.

The event will start and finish at the IFD Union Hall parking lot at the corner of E. St. Clair St. and N. College Ave.

7-7:45 am – Packet Pick Up & Registration
8:30 am – Run & Walk Start 
9:45 am – Awards

For safety purposes, no dogs, skateboards, bikes, or headphones, please.

Cost: $15 and up        

May 19

Garden Bros Circus – Marion County Fairgrounds – 4:30 p.m.

This year’s production is packed with breathtaking special effects, concert style lighting and 3 RINGS bursting with excitement, laughter and memories that families will cherish. We have brought the very best performers from 18 countries making up a cast of over 60 performers. Garden Bros Circus presents a fast paced 90 minute show in a Theatrical European 3 ring setting featuring the Human Pyramid, elephants, daring aerial artists, motorcycles in the Sphere of Fear, the Crazy Cossack Horse Riders, Chinese acrobats, contortionists, the funniest clowns, jugglers as seen on America’s Got Talent, not enough room to list any more!

Free children’s tickets have been distributed at all elementary schools, pre-schools, day care centers and churches. The free tickets are also available at sponsoring businesses in the area.

Cost: $12.50 and up            

May 23

Zoopolis 500 – Presented by American Dairy Association – Indianapolis Zoo – 10:30 a.m.

Tortoises, start your engines! Thanks for joining us for the 38th annual “running” of the Zoopolis 500 presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana. Held annually the Wednesday before the Indianapolis 500, this unique Zoo event and race fan favorite includes a morning of family-friendly pre-race festivities leading up to our radiated tortoise race to the finish.

Each year, guests can cheer on their favorite tortoise as they race up, down and around the straight track! But these natives of Madagascar aren’t racing for a trophy. Instead, they’re after the delicious fruits waiting in the winner’s circle. As they race down the course, see if you can catch a glimpse of their beautifully marked shells, which have star-patterned stripes radiating from the center (hence their name). Because of these markings, radiated tortoises are considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises.​

After the race, meet the winning tortoise and his “pit crew” after the Winner’s Circle. Our Zookeepers would be happy to answer any tortoise-related questions and tell you all about our efforts to help these endangered animals.

The Zoopolis 500 is one of our oldest and most popular events, and it was recently highlighted by Top Events USA website as one of the top in Indianapolis! And the best part is all of the day’s activities are included with your regular Zoo admission. See what makes the Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing such a beloved event at the Zoo!

Cost: Zoo admission 

May 26

IPL 500 Festival Parade – Downtown Indianapolis – 11:45 a.m.

One of the original events produced by the 500 Festival, the IPL 500 Festival Parade, has grown to be one of the signature events held in the United States each year. The parade is the only 500 Festival event that has taken place every year since our founding in 1957. The parade is held on the eve of the Indianapolis 500. 300,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of Indianapolis, joined by another one million watching from their televisions around the country, to view one of the nation’s premier parades, alongside the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The IPL 500 Festival Parade allows all spectators to witness the pageantry and larger-than-life floats light up the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Well-known celebrities, costumed characters, marching bands, patriotic units, specialty units, spectacular floats and giant helium balloons will fill the streets to celebrate the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. The opening production, performed in the VIP Zone, located on Pennsylvania Street, between Michigan Street and Vermont Street , will include an electrifying, high-energy performance from Miri Ben-Ari and iLuminate will lead a group of dancers, led by the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders.

The tradition continues with the 33 starting drivers of the Indianapolis 500 serving as honorary grand marshals the day before the race, riding in the traditional rows of three, with the winner of the pole position bringing up the rear.

This year’s theme is “Illuminate. Innovate. Indianapolis.”

Cost: $10-$40        

May 27

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – Indianapolis Motor Speedway – 12 p.m.

The riveting countdown to “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” begins now! The 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will take place Sunday, May 28, 2018. Reigning champion Takuma Sato will return to defend his crown against some of the greatest drivers in the world Memorial Day weekend.

6 am – Public Gates Open
12:20 pm – 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil
5 pm – Public Gates Close

Event Hashtag: #Indy 500
Facebook: IndianapolisMotorSpeedway
Twitter: @IMS
Instagram: indianapolismotorspeedway
Youtube: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Snapchat: the_brickyard

Taking place at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the world’s largest single-day spectator sporting event has something for everyone, from children to those who have been attending for generations. Whether you’re continuing a tradition, or starting a new one, this is a race that can’t be missed.

Cost: $10 and up    

May 31 – June 3

Appalachian Spring – Indiana Repertory Theatre

This will be a landmark performance for Dance Kaleidoscope. We are proud to present Matha Graham’s world-famous masterpiece Appalachian Spring, set to the music of Aaron Copland. DK will use the sets and costumes from the Martha Graham Dance Company to offer Martha’s true vision for the piece. Interestingly, DK Artistic Director David Hochoy helped maintain the integrity of this piece when he was Rehearsal Director for Martha Graham in New York City. The performance will also include David Hochoy’s The Rite of Spring, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky.


May 31 – July 15

Annie – Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Songs include: “Tomorrow,” “Hard Knock Life,” “Maybe.”

Discount of $10 off per ticket available to children ages 3-15. Children under age 3 cannot be admitted to this show. Not all shows may be suitable for all ages.

Rated G





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