The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are now open daily! Note that dining, theaters, and other offerings have been enhanced to help you stay healthy.
What to know before you visit
A favorite stop for many guests during their visit to the Creation Museum is our petting zoo. Not only can the petting zoo help guests develop a respect for God’s animal creations, it can also help answer important questions related to the history of Noah’s Ark and the biblical animal kinds.
Two of the animals you might see during your visit to the petting zoo are Skippy and Bandit. Many people ask if the two are kangaroos, but they are actually Bennett’s wallabies. Learn more about Skippy and Bandit below!
Skippy and Bandit are a pair of Bennett’s wallabies (also known as red-necked wallabies), which is one of the most commonly kept wallaby species in US zoos. They are native to eastern Australia, including the island state of Tasmania.
It is easy to see why wallabies are easily confused with kangaroos. Both are members of the same animal kind, inclusive of the family Macropodidae, literally meaning “big foot.” They have their big feet to help them hop and get around.
Subtle differences help our petting zoo staff tell Skippy and Bandit apart. Skippy’s hair is a little browner, and he has a little white birthmark on his back right hip. Bandit is a little redder in color, and his head looks a little bit more like a kangaroo. Bandit also has a white chest, another easy way to tell him apart from Skippy.
Both Skippy and Bandit were hand-raised, but Bandit was raised for a more traditional zoo setting. If you see one of them coming up to the fence to say hi, it is probably Skippy since he tends to be more friendly, although both of our wallabies are very calm and relaxed!
Will you be able to tell the difference when you visit the petting zoo?
In addition to having big feet to help them get around, Skippy and Bandit also have tails that were designed to act like a spring so they do not have to exert a lot of energy when hopping around. This is especially useful when a female wallaby, called a flyer, is carrying around the extra weight from a joey!
So what is the main difference between Skippy and Bandit and kangaroos? While they are both members of the same created kind, wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos.
Wallabies can grow to be three to four feet tall, and they typically reach their full size around two or three years old, so Skippy and Bandit are considered fully-grown. Kangaroos, on the other hand, grow up to six feet tall when they stand up. Kangaroos are considered full grown around the age of five.
You can compare the size difference between Skippy and Bandit and kangaroos by visiting our sister attraction, the Ark Encounter. The Ararat Ridge Zoo at the Ark is home to four kangaroos, and you can read more about them in the blog "Meet the Ararat Ridge Zoo Kangaroos!"
As you plan your visit to the Creation Museum, consider purchasing one of our combo pass options so you can also make a trip to the Ark Encounter. Share your favorite pictures of Skippy and Bandit with us on Facebook, , and Twitter using #creationmuseum.