Oprah Show Ultimate Viewers spent a memorable evening at this popular Sydney attraction. Learn more about its unique history and conservation efforts from Paul, the education manager. Plus, meet his favorite (sneaky!) zoo animal.
Kari Forsee, Oprah.com: How did you become interested in animals?
Paul Maguire: I grew up in the Bush, in the Blue Mountains. I've always had animals around—my dad was a bit of a bird watcher—and I did a teaching sport degree as well as camping with kids. When this job came up to work at the zoo, combining both animals and kids, it was perfect for me.
KF: How many children come through the Taronga Zoo each week?
PM: In a year, we have about 120,000, so some weeks, we're having 3,000 to 4,000 kids coming through.
We are very, very big on kids connecting with animals, and I love when kids touch them and have that magic moment. The animals here are all specially trained for that and we want kids to have endearing memories.
We also have this new exhibit called a "Lemur [Forest] Adventure," and the two keywords are "safe danger." I want kids to climb and act like lemurs because they will be seeing lemurs and I want to make it engaging, but also a bit risk-taking as well, so they can see [the world from] a lemur's point of view. It's sort of in between those two perimeters.
Next: Taronga's conservation efforts