The Taronga Zoo had royal visitors recently with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially opening the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning, a world-class facility for conservation education.

Located in the heart of Sydney’s world-famous Taronga Zoo, the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and has been designed as a living laboratory for conservation education and scientific investigation, built to empower the scientists of tomorrow.

The royal couple, who are currently on a 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand, visited the Institute to learn about the ground-breaking work undertaken by the Zoo as well as engage with conservation in a unique way.

The Taronga Institute of Science and Learning has been designed by Sydney based practice, NBRS Architecture, with the central concept bringing together three major hubs - Learning, Science, and Visitor Experience. These functions seamlessly connect via branching arms intersecting in a central light-filled atrium.

Designed to foster the next generation of conservation innovation, the Scientific Hub provides a unique, on-site facility to showcase the Zoo’s unique data and specimens; and offers state-of-the-art research facilities that allow Taronga’s scientists to explore ways to protect endangered species.

The Institute houses tutorial learning environments that allow students from all backgrounds and levels of study to interact with the Zoo. Three carefully crafted immersive learning environments themed around rainforest, arid and woodland habitats provide authentic learning experiences for students and transform education at the Zoo. From early learning, through to high school and beyond, to researchers and tertiary students, the Learning Hub will support over 150,000 visits per year and will elevate the depth of educational engagement.

The collaborative Visitor Hub is a unique space that allows a true connection between visitors and the Institute. The hub has been specifically designed for experiences to create a closer bond between students, scientists and 300 staff members.

Andrew Duffin, Director of Design at NBRS said: “Our team is honoured that Their Royal Highnesses have opened the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning. We are very proud of the design and are delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase this pioneering facility.”