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Koalapalooza: John Ball Zoo says goodbye to koalas with festival

Koalapalooza is happening this weekend at John Ball Zoo. It’s a going away party of sorts for the koalas.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Koalapalooza is happening this weekend at John Ball Zoo, beginning Saturday, Sept. 3 through Monday, Sept. 5. It’s a going away party of sorts for the koalas.

The three-day festival is a chance to celebrate and say goodbye to the two male koalas that have been at the zoo since May. Their visit is part of a conservation and education program through the San Diego Zoo, which houses one of the largest koala populations in the world.

The koalas will be leaving John Ball Zoo shortly after Labor Day and you’re invited to help send them off with live music, a cookout and a scavenger hunt.

Darci Napolillo is a promotions manager with the zoo and said, “This is kind of our last hoorah to come and say goodbye to them. If you haven’t seen them yet this year, you’re definitely going to want to make sure that you stop by.”

She also expressed that she believes West Michigan is lucky to have been able to take part in the experience.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have them here because it really just adds to speaking about the care and conservation of koalas in the wild who are listed as endangered due to a couple different reasons, mostly habitat lost and wildfires,"Napolillo said. "So, this really gives us a chance to kind of expand peoples’ thoughts and education about these animals and think of ways that they can help save them in the wild.” 

While koalas can sleep up to 20 hours a day, there will be feedings each day of the event at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a better chance to catch them awake.

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