Local zoo treats children to animal magic

On July 5th Twycross Zoo hosted its annual Dream Night, an invite-only event, which is part of a global project for chronically ill children and children with disabilities and their families. The invited children and their families take part in a really unique and special evening where they are treated like VIP guests.

The guest list included more than 60 Simon’s Heroes beneficiaries and their families who enjoyed a range of activities during the evening, including meeting the keepers, getting acquainted with the furry, feathery and scaly inhabitants of the zoo, listening to talks from zoo keepers and the local emergency services, playing outdoor games, free food and drink, ice creams, face painting and a disco.

The aim of the event is to provide an accessible, stress-free, memorable outing for children and their families who otherwise may not be able to visit the zoo or get the most out of the zoo experience. In some instances, it was the first time that parents had taken their children to the zoo and for those with children with sensory and communication difficulties, it provided a great opportunity to try it without any pressure. The event was supported by a good number of volunteers on the night including charity personnel and zoo staff.

Terri Slim, the mother of one of Simon’s Heroes latest beneficiaries said: ‘Our children had a wonderful evening at the zoo. The older three were up dancing to the music in the restaurant and our little Ted was amazed to see other children like him, with feeding tubes. It was a great opportunity to meet other families with complexities and be reminded that we are not alone – it was a lot less stressful when Ted was screaming. We spend a lot of time feeling isolated, even when we go to specific things; we never seem to be able to stay until the end as the children won’t settle but the Dream Night kept them occupied and it was comforting to be around families who had similar needs. Thank you for the lovely treat.’

Author C Bull



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