Zoo to host ‘Koalapalooza’ over Labor Day weekend

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Courtesy John Ball Zoo

Two koalas get a three-day sendoff party as they prepare to leave West Michigan. 

John Ball Zoo this Labor Day Weekend will host Koalapalooza, celebrating all things koala, raising awareness for the species conservation and saying farewell to male koalas Noorundi and Iluka who have been visiting the zoo since May. 

Koalapalooza will run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Monday, Sept. 3-5 and is included in general admission to the zoo, 1300 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids. 

Visitors will be able to watch zookeepers interact with the koalas, including a daily 10:30 a.m. habitat cleaning and weighing and a 3 p.m. feeding. Other highlights include live music by Brandon Ward, Pangea Steeldrum Band, Project 90 Band, Whiskey Bound Band and Moonshot Duo, as well as face painting, strolling animal experiences and daily cookouts that include turkey legs, BBQ Brisket sandwich and polish sausages. 

This will be the public’s final chance to see 4-year-old Noorundi and 2-year-old Iluka before they head back to their home at the San Diego Zoo. The pair visited John Ball Zoo as part of the San Diego Zoo’s Koala Education and Conservation Program, partnering to help raise awareness for the newly endangered species. 

Koalas recently have been listed as endangered under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) due to rising threats to their native populations in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Threats to koalas include habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents. 

Tickets to John Ball Zoo and Koalapalooza are available here.  

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