Who needs an expensive trip to Australia when you can hang out with kangaroos right here in Georgia? Although a trip to the "Land Down Under" does sound amazing, it can be a bit too expensive, mate. The North Georgia Zoo has a program where you can hangout and feed baby kangaroos and get up-close and personal with adult ones, too. North Georgia Zoo provides an exclusive experience less than 100 miles from home (instead of 10,000).
At the Joey Encounter, you can pet and hand feed (maybe even cuddle) a baby kangaroo for up to 15 minutes. They are so adorable, you might shed a tear. The Kangaroo Encounter, which is more in-depth and lasts longer, allows you to get up-close and personal with adult kangas. If you're blessed, you'll get to witness one of the tiny Joeys in mom's pouch. You may even get a chance to feed the big guys and get to know seven species of kangaroos on site including Bennett's Wallabies, Red Kangaroos, Eastern Grey Wallaroos, Swamp Wallabies and a rare Albino Wallaby.
The experiences involve a group setting with a maximum of six people per group, so bring some friends and capture some amazing insta shots. There will also be a photographer on site to snap your pics while you're bonding with these adorable Aussie creatures. We advise that you are super careful with the flash on your cameras though so you don't frighten or disturb the kangaroos. You can purchase a link to your photos for $50.
Keep in mind, these encounters are not included in zoo admission prices. It is required that you purchase zoo admission in addition to the Kangaroo Encounter tickets. The Joey Encounter is $35 for 10 - 15 minutes of cuddle and play time. The Kangaroo Encounter is $54 for 45 minutes of interaction with several different species of kangas.
The North Georgia Zoo is heavily involved with kangaroo conservation efforts through education and selective breeding, so they are helping keep these animals safe and well-taken care of. "We have our team keep a close watch on the kangaroos to make sure nothing is wrong. We monitor their diets and we actually breed our kangaroos," says Stephanie Varady, Director of Sales of North Georgia Zoo. Steph also told Narcity that Encounters are entirely on the mood of the animals, because sometimes they're not cool with being touched or bothered (we can relate).
North Georgia Zoo also offer lots of other unique animal encounters including swimming with gators, howling with wolves, socializing with otters and playing with monkeys.
If you're closer to the Atlanta area, you can still get an international experience with the new African Savanna Habitat at Zoo Atlanta.
North Georgia Zoo & Petting Farm
Address: 2912 Paradise Valley Rd, Cleveland, GA 30528
Why you should go: To get a taste of Australia with this once-in-a-lifetime experience to cuddle and play with adorable kangaroos.