Dreamnight is a global charitable initiative in which zoos, aquariums and museums throughout the world partner with organisations that care for children. Taronga Zoo in Sydney is one of the zoos that participate and we were lucky enough to go along for the first time last week. I had no expectations so everything was a surprise. The moment we arrived the mood was set with friendly zoo staff, bubbles and many excited families heading through the gates.
BJ hadn’t even left the carpark before he had a massive smile on his face. He has a mild obsession (understatement) with police, fire fighters and ambulance officers so when he spied the friendly police officer, pictured above, he was lining up to say “Hi!”.
There was definitely a pep in everyone’s step and children’s excited exclamations could be heard even before a single animal had been spotted.
Our first stop was to watch the chimpanzees being fed. They were extremely vocal the minute they spied the keepers. The keepers threw food to them and they scrambled to pick up the vegetables. The little chimpanzee in the photo above is still testing his, or her, independence by straying from Mum for a short time but quickly returning and hanging on.
BJ was getting restless waiting for the feeding to start so AJ and BJ headed off for a walk when a lady ran over to them asking if they were from Have Wheelchair Will Travel. It was Lenice from Love Dexter. I’ve followed Love Dexter for quite a while and Dexter’s family follow Have Wheelchair Will Travel so it was really lovely to meet up in real life. We lined the boys up to have a photo together and BJ was quite taken with Dexter.
One of the fire fighter’s got quite a crowd around him as he explained all the different pieces of equipment on the truck to one little boy.
Lots of the kids took part in the craft that was set up at different stations around the zoo.
Judging by the kids and adult’s faces, the evening brought much happiness to many. We are strong advocates of getting out and about, having fun with family members but we recognise that the cost attached to this often stops families from doing so. Dreamnight gives families the opportunity to enjoy time together and see our beautiful zoo with free entry and 50% off all food and drinks.
It also felt like a judgement free zone. Wheelchairs nearly equaled the number of people walking, families could openly peg feed their children and no-one looked twice. If there was a meltdown by anyone, people just kept on walking. What a joy that must be to anyone who would normally feel concerned about any of these things.
As we headed home from our lovely night we stopped with many others to enjoy the sunset view over the city. I think the giraffes at Taronga probably have the best view in the city.