Looking for a fun koala encounter? Although you can’t hold a koala, you can still get up close to one.
Since all of the koalas in the U.S. are actually owned by the Australian government, there are a lot of restrictions on the housing and handling of koalas.
Only a handful of zoos or facilities in the U.S. are allowed to keep koalas and there are a lot of rules regarding interactions with them.
The following is a list of koala encounters in the U.S.:
ZooTampa at Lowry Park:
Address: 1101 W. Sligh Avenue Tampa, FL
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is a 63-acre zoo in Tampa that is home to more than 1000 animals such as Komodo dragons, Florida panthers, rhinos, koalas as well as a herd of six African elephants.
The park offers a Koala Behind the Scenes Tour during which visitors can enjoy a special meet-and-greet with a koala and have their photo taken with the animal.
In addition to the Koala encounter, the park also offers other types of animal encounters such as a giraffe encounter, an African penguin encounter, an African elephant encounter, a rhino encounter, a giant tortoise encounter and a manatee encounter.
In 2021, ZooTampa at Lowry Park was voted the Best Kid’s Attraction in Tampa Magazine’s Best of South Tampa awards.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Joseph A. Couceiro is the CEO of ZooTampa at Lowry Park.
Palm Beach Zoo:
Address: 1301 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL
Established in 1969, Palm Beach Zoo is a 23-acre zoo in Palm Beach that is home to over 190 species of animals such as bears, capybara, exotic cats, monkeys, sloths and koalas.
The zoo offers a koala experience which is a 30-minute experience where visitors can meet koalas and see them up close. Visitors also learn about what a day in the life of a koala keeper is like and what it takes to care for them.
In addition to the koala experience, the zoo also offers other animal encounters, such as a tiger experience, a capybara and flamingo experience, an otter experience, a tortoise experience and a sloth experience.
Palm Beach Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Margo McKnight is the president and CEO of Palm Beach Zoo.
“AZA Accredited and Certified Members.” Association of Zoos & Aquariums, aza.org/inst-status
“Zoo History.” Palm Beach Zoo, palmbeachzoo.org/zoo-history
“Koala experience returns to Palm Beach Zoo.” WPTV, 21 March. 2023, wptv.com/shining-a-light/koala-experience-returns-to-palm-beach-zoo
“Palm Beach Zoo Koala Experience.” Palm Beach Zoo, palmbeachzoo.org/koala-experience
“Animal Encounters at Zoo Tampa.” Zoo Tampa, zootampa.org/visit/encounters/