Bluff Lake Residents Bunk with the Beasts

Bluff Lake Residents Bunk with the Beasts

Youth from Mercy Housing’s Bluff Lake Apartments in Denver had the chance to find out recently what it was like to sleep with lions and tigers during Bunk with the Beasts at the Denver Zoo. The educational program is open to school, scout, and community groups for an overnight zoo experience they will never forget.

Bluff Lake Residents Bunk with the BeastsThe field trip was chosen by Bluff Lake youth who participate in the Tony Grampsas Youth Services (TGYS) program hosted onsite as part of Out-of-School Time programming. TGYS is a program through the Colorado Department of Human Services, authorized to provide funding to community-based organizations that serve children, youth, and their families with programs designed to reduce youth crime and violence, youth marijuana use, and prevent child abuse and neglect. Mercy Housing was able to use funds from our current TGYS grant to sponsor the overnight adventure, along with help from a financial assistance program at the Denver Zoo.

This was the first time Mercy Housing was able to offer this exciting opportunity to families and all the participants were extremely appreciative. In all, 15 youth and two adults from Bluff Lake Apartments were able to Bunk with the Beasts.

Bluff Lake Residents Bunk with the BeastsThe evening was packed full of fun and started with a zoo tour, parrot and seal feeding, reptile encounter, and dinner. After the sun went down, kids explored the zoo again on a night vision tour where they used blackout binoculars to see in the dark. And, no campout is complete without a night under the stars enjoying campfire smores!

After campers woke from their bunks in the morning and were re-charged with a yummy breakfast, they set off on a private tour to see gorillas, flamingos, and hyenas.

Dionne Winn, Resident Services Coordinator at Bluff Lake, helped coordinate the event for Mercy Housing youth and expressed what a great time was had by all.

“Youth enjoyed the tour and were extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity. They also appreciated the learning experience while hearing interesting facts about gorillas and flamingos,” said Dionne.

What a great adventure for these young people to experience. Thank you TGYS and Denver Zoo for making it possible!