Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dreamnight at the Zoo 2012

This year, we learned of an event called "Dreamnight at the Zoo."  We heard about it from a local group we belong to - a group of families all of whom have children with Down Syndrome.  It seemed like a nice idea for our little group of families.  I had no idea the scope, or meaning, of the event.

Dreamnight at the Zoo is a global event which strives to offer an annual, cost-free, evening at the zoo, for chronically ill & disabled children and their families.  It is, ideally, held on the first Friday of June, from 6pm-10pm (times vary slightly).

Each zoo organizes the event its own way but in all the zoos children are welcomed, and treated like VIP's.

Rotterdam Zoo (Netherlands) initiated an evening "at the zoo," for children at the Sophia Children's Hospital, in 1996.  This first event, was specifically for children with cancer.  175 children were invited, and brought parents/siblings. 

In 2000, the Amsterdam Zoo joined their effort. 

In 2002, Denmark & Belgium joined. 

In 2003, France & Canada joined in the effort. 

2004 welcomed Holland, UK, Greece, Czech Republic, US, Columbia, New Zealand, Hungary, and Sweden.  In each Country, additional zoos joined.

2005 welcomed more zoos.  In addition, Dreamnight welcomed Poland, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, and Scotland.

In 2006, Switzerland, Portugal, India and Israel joined the team.

The list just keeps right on growing.......
Last Friday, we were fortunate enough to have been included in this year's Dreamnight.  We packed up the boys and headed to the zoo.  Our Dreamnight was scheduled from 5:30pm-8:30pm.

Upon arrival, we noticed the sign:

"The zoo is closed to the public.  This evening's event is by invitation only."

As we walked through the front door, we were quickly greeted by smiling faces.  They asked our names & verified that we were on the VIP list.  Each child was given VIP passes to wear around their necks - they were nice too - laminated cards with a beautiful picture of an elephant on the front, the letters VIP, all on a nice lanyard.  We were handed an envelope with our name on it.

As we passed into the zoo, we stopped to peer into our mystery envelope.  Inside, we found tickets for a free teddy bear (for each child), popcorn, ice cream, and snack bar dinner (one per person).  The carousel and train (which usually cost extra) were free as well - unlimited rides.

Well, we had a blast!!!!  It was three hours of bliss.  Josiah is young so he couldn't really understand what we were doing, but he loved being out with family.  His older brothers were elated.  It was less hectic, as it was only families (public was excluded).  It was a great time!  We saw some of our friends there (from the group we belong to).  We enjoyed seeing the other kids from our group.

We can't wait for next year.  Josiah will be older - he will have a blast!

Here's a cute pic of Josiah, just enjoying his night out with family.

You can't see it in the picture, but we were just as happy as he was :)

For more information on Dreamnight at the Zoo, or it's history, please visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment