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Cotswold Wildlife Park opens its doors for a night to remember

Events at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotswold Wildlife Park was delighted to be part of an annual international event called “Dreamnight At The Zoo” held on on Friday 6th June 2014. For the first time, the Park joined over two hundred zoos and aquariums, from eleven different countries, for the event that makes dreams come true for some truly deserving guests.

“Dreamnight At The Zoo” is a special invitation-only opportunity for chronically ill and disabled children and their families to enjoy the wildlife park after hours. Cotswold Wildlife Park welcomed Oxfordshire charities ROSY, Helen & Douglas House and SpecialEffect to the free event. Keepers and staff at the Park volunteered to make the night one to remember. Special events during the evening  included: animal encounters, bird of prey displays, face painting, live music, juggling, sunflower seed planting, train rides and free food, as well as the rare opportunity to see the animals at night, when the Park itself was closed to all other visitors.

Alison Hilborne, Support Carer at SpecialEffect, said: "It's lovely for Cotswold Wildlife Park to organise this special evening and thanks must go to all the volunteers who made it possible. Anything to make leisure time more accessible to disabled people and their families is a very good thing. That's what we try to do at SpecialEffect too - enable disabled people aged from below two to end-of-life to use a computer in any way possible, using whichever part or parts of their body that work best, be it their head, chin, foot, finger or even just their eyes. It's all about inclusion - being able to join in and getting the most out of life. It can do wonders for self esteem and their quality of life. And that's what this evening at Cotswold Wildlife Park has been about - fun, inclusion and creating lasting memories.”

“Dreamnight At The Zoo” was the brainchild of Peter van der Wulp -  a zoo keeper at Rotterdam Zoo. Back in 1996, Peter wanted to organise a free evening out at the zoo exclusively for children with cancer - a joyous event for the whole family to enjoy and an opportunity for children who don’t often have the chance to visits zoos. “Dreamnight At The Zoo” has since become a worldwide event which Cotswold Wildlife Park is thrilled to be part of.

Event organiser Hayley Rothwell commented: “Dreamnight was a joy to organise. The Park’s staff volunteered their time, as did friends of the Park, which all helped make for a very special evening. Being able to share the Park and animals with the children and their families for a night like this is such a rewarding feeling. We all had a lovely time and it was a privilege to meet the children, be able to help them have fun and, best of all,  see the smiles on their faces.”        

Explore Gloucestershire
13 June 2014

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