Students spend wild night at Sydney zoo

Courtesy of Ben Dumond
Courtesy of Ben Dumond

SYDNEY — After a week-long academic trip was cancelled, NYU Sydney students spent a wild night at the famous Taronga Zoo that overlooks Sydney Harbour. The popular Roar and Snore program that the 21 students and two NYU Sydney staff members participated in involved a night of glamorous camping in luxury tents at the Taronga Zoo and exploring the zoo at night.

NYU Sydney student life coordinator Tania Barnes booked the trip on less than a week’s notice once a planned week-long academic trip to Armidale was cancelled. Initially, students were going to go to the small town outside of Sydney to volunteer for a variety of organizations, including a women’s shelter and a primary school, but administrators discovered a few days before the trip that insurance would not cover the planned activities.

“As far as Roar and Snore goes, we haven’t determined yet whether it’s something we’ll do in future semesters,” Barnes said.

As part of Roar and Snore, NYU Sydney students and staff were treated to wine, cheese and crackers, followed by encounters with snakes and lizards. They were then served a buffet dinner and went on a walk through the zoo to observe the animals when the lights were out and the zoo was mostly empty. The next day, they woke up early to a sunrise over Sydney Harbour, followed by breakfast, feeding giraffes and petting animals like koalas and seals. After the early private tour of the zoo, NYU Sydney students were able to explore the zoo during public hours.

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In addition to having the opportunity to view and pet animals like ringtail possums, echidnas and koalas, NYU Sydney students learned fun facts about the animals. Taronga zookeepers told students and staff how baby crocodiles squeak like birds, elephants have large breasts, lions enjoy the smell of Calvin Klein Obsession perfume and tigers love Whiskers cat food.

“I love seeing the reactions of Roar and Snore visitors to the zoo environment and when they hear the fun stories about all of the animals,” said Taronga zookeeper Bobby-Jo Clow, who has been involved in the program for two years.

Overall, NYU Sydney students were happy with their night at the zoo.

“I enjoyed petting the quokka because it has a funny name and it was very soft. The Tasmanian devil exhibit was also really cute,” said CAS junior Monica Dietrich. “Although it was a let down to not go to Armidale, sleeping over at the zoo was great.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 24, print edition. Sarah Kamenetz is a contributing writer. Email her a [email protected]

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