When you visit the Ark Encounter, you won’t want to miss the Ararat Ridge Zoo, located behind the life-size Noah’s Ark. Keeping with the nature of the Ark Encounter, our zoo is centered on a biblical theme and presents teaching material about the animals from a biblical worldview.
One type of animal you will see when you venture into the Ararat Ridge Zoo, which is included in your Ark Encounter admission, is the kangaroo. At the Ark Encounter, we have four: Solomon, Amira, Naamah, and Saba. Learn more about these fascinating creatures below!
Solomon, Amira, Naamah, and Saba are red kangaroos. Kangaroos live in Australia, Tasmania, and surrounding islands. There are 54 living species of macropods (“large feet”), a group that includes kangaroos, wallaroos, and wallabies.
They are the largest living species of marsupials, which are animals that raise their young in pouches. When they are full grown, male kangaroos can stand over six feet tall. Solomon, Amira, Naamah, and Saba have some growing to do still! They are all just two and a half years old and will be full-grown around the age of five.
After our four kangaroos joined the Ararat Ridge Zoo last summer, many guests visiting our kangaroos in the middle of the day saw them lying around, making some people wonder if they were ok! Our kangaroos are typically very active in the morning and at dusk when the temperatures are cooler. But during the day, Solomon, Amira, Naamah, and Saba can be pretty lazy!
With one boomer (male kangaroo) and three flyers (females), it makes sense to wonder if we will ever have joeys (baby kangaroos), and the answer is, “Yes!” We already have a pair of joeys that will be making their appearance at the Ararat Ridge Zoo soon. This past November, zoo staff noticed that Amira and Naamah were grooming their pouches and getting slight baby “bulges.” A short time later, they confirmed both were carrying joeys in their pouches.
Flyers can actually have up to three joeys at one time. They can be pregnant with one, have one in their pouch, and have one outside the pouch.
They have gestation periods of only 35 days, and they give birth to a naked, blind joey the size of a jellybean! The joey, by designed instinct, finds its way up the mother’s stomach and into the pouch, where it will nurse and stay for the next six or seven months.
You may get to see the joeys at the Ararat Ridge Zoo peering out of their mother’s pouch this spring or summer. They might even travel around with our zookeepers, meeting guests!
Visitors to the petting zoo at our sister attraction, the Creation Museum, often ask staff members if Skippy and Bandit are kangaroos, but they are actually Bennett’s wallabies. It is easy to see why the two are easily confused though. Both are members of the same animal kind, inclusive of the family Macropodidae, literally meaning “big foot.” They both have big feet to help them hop and get around. You can learn more about the museum's wallabies in the blog "Meet Skippy and Bandit!"
As you plan your visit to the Ark Encounter, consider purchasing one of our combo pass options so you can visit the Creation Museum, and compare the size difference between Solomon, Amira, Naamah, and Saba and Skippy and Bandit. Share your favorite pictures of our kangaroos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #arkencounter.