Dreamnight at the Zoo!

I was so excited when Derrick received his invitation to Dreamnight at the Zoo again this year.  We went last year for the first time and had an amazing time but D was a little too young to really enjoy it.  This year I knew he would have a blast!

In case you've never heard of Dreamnight, it's an international event held the first Friday in June where "chronically ill/ disabled children" and their families are invited to spend an amazing evening at the zoo.  {I still have a difficult time believing my child fits into this category, but there's nothing like seeing it in black and white that brings you back to reality!}

We dropped Jenny Kate off with my mom and headed to the zoo.  Thankfully, the blistering South Carolina heat had died down a little by the time the Dreamnight party started.  We kicked it off right with Derrick's favorite...

He had his own cup of lemonade, which he LOVED!

He's all about drinking out of cups with no tops now.  We figured it was his night, so we were going to let him have some freedom.  And besides, maybe if he spilled a little lemonade he would wash some of the ice cream off of his hands and arms!

We walked around and checked out some confused animals.  It was past their bedtime and I think they were wondering why there were people still there visiting!  Several of them had already gone in for the night.  That's ok though, there was plenty to do!  We'll just have to go back again soon to visit the animals.

 Next we went to the petting zoo.  One of the goats was out making his rounds and D enjoyed petting him.

The pony, however, was a whole different story. Once he started snorting at D he wanted NOTHING to do with him!

After that we went to get Derrick's face painted.  I really didn't think he would sit there and let someone paint his face, but he shocked me.  He's not a fan of strangers getting that close, but he picked out his design and sat there like a big boy.  It didn't hurt that daddy was there for support!

My big boy was proud of his turtle!

In addition to the face painting, Derrick had another new experience at Dreamnight.

He sure did try!

All night as we walked around we avoided one area....the bubbles.  Our intention was to take him to the bubbles last because we saw WAY too many soaking wet kids running around to do it early.  Unfortunately, we waited a bit too late.  By the time we got to the bubbles they were turned off and there was no one in sight.  Derrick didn't let that ruin his fun though!

Thank goodness he had no idea what he missed out on, because the bubbles were awesome! Next year this probably won't fly.  He'll want the real deal.

I really have no idea how this works, but there's something set up on a pole that constantly pours out bubbles. 

The bubbles can pile up taller than the kids, and judging from the squeals, laughter, and large crowd, they had a blast making their way through them.

I'd love to know how they do it and what they use.  This would be lots of fun in the back yard! 

Thankfully, the remnants of the bubbles were enough for this guy.  And he ended up getting his pants wet anyway.  See why we waited until the end?  He ended up having to ride home with no pants!

By the time we left it was almost dark and past bedtime.  (Hence the blurry picture.) 
We had a GREAT time at Dreamnight!  Once again, it was a humbling experience looking around at all of the children and families who were there.  There were obviously so many obstacles for many families to overcome to simply come to the zoo, and here we were chasing our "chronically ill" child around struggling to keep up with him.  It was a big reminder for me that when I get caught up in the 'what ifs' and the moments when I really, really wish Derrick was a "normal" child, that I don't have to look very far to see someone who has it WAY worse.  We were able to chase our child around the zoo.  He played in the bubbles,  he danced and hula hooped, he ate and he laughed...all incredible blessings that we sometimes take for granted.  I know He knows that sometimes we need that little knock back into reality.  Not necessarily the reality of there being something wrong with our child, but the reality that there are so many things that are just right.



  1. You said it perfectly. Our heart babies are just right. :) It is SO hard for us to come to terms with the fact that we have a chronically ill child too. But you hit it right on...things could be so much worse. Thank you for that reminder. :)

  2. I love Riverbank zoo! It looks like yall had a great time!

  3. What a wonderful event! So nice that Derrick got to enjoy it. Looks like he had a blast!

  4. We have yet to attend Dreamnight in our area but it is almost four hours away for us to go so it is not ideal.

    Glad you were able to enjoy it and yes, just when we are in one of those ruts thinking we've got it tough we are humbled by the fact that there is always someone who truly struggles more.