The gigantic kangaroo preserve that used to be just outside Atlanta, Georgia


For years, the world’s largest population of kangaroos outside of Australia was in Georgia.

The Kangaroo Conservation Center, located in Alpharetta and, later, Dawsonville, had more than 300 animals, including ten different species. They spent years supplying kangaroos to zoos, and in 2000 they opened to the public.

The owners had unusual backgrounds—Debbie and Roger Nelson were, respectively, an art history major and a mechanical engineer. That didn’t stop them from creating a significant Australian outpost in Northern Georgia. In addition to kangaroos, visitors could see brush-tailed bettons, potorroos, and more. The facility was 87 acres.


Unfortunately, you can’t visit anymore. In 2010, the center closed due to costs and the faltering economy. The Nelsons sold their large animal collection, and kangaroos have dispersed from their Northern Georgia enclave all over the world. Busch Gardens Tampa has a breeding program of Agile Wallabies that continues the center’s legacy.

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