Koalas are native to southeastern and eastern Australia, but due to drought, disease, and bushfires in their Australian habitats in recent years, US zoos containing koalas are now accessible.
More and more Northern American zoos are opening their doors to foster and nurture koalas, who have lost 80% of their natural habitats and are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
List of U.S Zoos with Koalas
If you want to visit these amazing creatures in person, here’s an updated list of US zoos that have koalas as mainstays.
1. San Diego Zoo
3. Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
4. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
5. Zoo Miami
6. Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
San Diego Zoo first welcomed the first koala pair, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, back in 1925. They have gained fame for having the world’s largest koala colony and the most successful koala breeding programme outside of Australia. The koalas are visible from pathways that circle a Queenslander-style “home” that serves as the koala care center, where wildlife care specialists prepare eucalyptus browse for the koalas.
Male koalas can be territorial, so they have their own perches in one area, while females and their offspring, known as joeys, share another. The high walkways get you up close to the koalas as they perch in their eucalyptus forest. Children can practice koala climbing on a play structure with life-size koala sculptures.
No. of Koalas: 20
1-day Pass Cost: $55 to $65
Location: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
While only zookeepers are permitted to touch koalas, ZooTampa is one of just two venues in the United States that allows visitors to go THIS near to koalas! Make your Koala Photo Encounter reservation today!
There are three ways you can see koalas at ZooTampa:
1. Photo Encounter
2. Visit the Wallaroo Station
3. Host a Birthday Party
1-day Pass Cost: $35 to $45
Location: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium does not have any photo programmes or close-up interactions with koalas, but it does feature a permanent zoo section called “Australia and the Islands”. The Columbus Zoo is home to koalas Katy and Thoar (both acquired from the San Diego Zoo in 2015), who became parents to a koala joey in 2020.
1-day Pass Cost: $19 to $25
Location: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
Koalas can be seen at Gumleaf Hideout all year, where they perch on live eucalyptus trees in both indoor and outdoor habitats. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to Koalas McKenzie and Maya. They’re mother and daughter koalas (Maya was born at the zoo just before the pandemic began).
Cleveland Metroparks offers some unique experiences, like the 90-minute Inside Track program, in which visitors ride a golf cart and get up and personal with koalas and other species.
1-day Pass Cost: $14 to $18
Location: 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, OH 44109
Zoo Miami (also known as The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens) is Florida’s largest and oldest zoological garden, as well as the only subtropical zoo. At Zoo Miami, there is a koala couple: “Milo,” a male Queensland Koala, and “Rinny,” a female koala who gave birth to “Hope” in May 2019. Unfortunately, due to repeated gastrointestinal difficulties, baby Hope died in mid-2021.
1-day Pass Cost: $18 to $23
Location: 12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177
Palm Beach Zoo houses only one koala, a male named Sydney, who resides in the facility’s Koala Forest, which is located in the Islands section. Sydney was only two years old when he arrived in the zoo from Zoo Tampa in 2021. He was born in 2018 to Heathcliff and Ceduna, relatives of previous Palm Beach Zoo inhabitants Oz and Katherine (they died in 2020-2021 six months apart).
1-day Pass Cost: $19 to $25
Location: 1301 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33405
Interesting Facts About Koalas
Median Life Expectancy
Female: 10.2 years
Male: 10.2 years
Predators & Threats:
Some other interesting facts about koalas are mentioned below:
1. It is believed that the Koalas obtain the majority of their moisture from the leaves they consume and drink very little water. Hence, the name comes from the Aboriginal word “no drink”.
2. In Australia, koalas usually inhabit eucalyptus-dominated forests and woods.
3. Koalas have round, furry ears, but they are not bears. They belong to the marsupial family of pouched animals.
4. Males and females can both be territorial and exhibit a variety of behaviors in order to establish dominance or commence breeding. They mark their territory using urine or a scent gland in the chest of males, or with vocalizations such as grunts, snarls, wails, groans, and bellows.
5. The koala gives birth to an embryo the size of a jellybean after a 33-36 day gestation period. The ‘joey’ then makes its way to mom’s pouch, where it develops for around 6 months. Joeys are blind and deaf at birth, so they rely on their natural instincts as well as their powerful senses of touch and scent to navigate their way from the birth canal to their mother’s pouch.
6. The majority of a Koala’s diet consists of eucalyptus.
7. While other animals are poisoned by eucalyptus leaves, a koala’s digestive tract contains specific bacteria that break down hazardous substances and flushes them out rapidly. This is significant since it is also the reason why koalas are difficult to cure for various diseases.
8. Because of their low calorie diet, Koalas conserve energy by moving only seldom and resting about 20 hours every day.
9. This famous Australian species is on the verge of extinction as a result of habitat loss owing to human development, forest fires, and droughts.