Alex and Kristina
We arrived at the zoo at 4:00 and checked in for the evening. We were greeted by two zoo educators, Kristina and Staci holding a snake. We talked to them and petted the snake for a while and then went in to start working on Alex's treat bag. Dr. Zoolittle, our host, walked around talking to all the guests and teaching the kids magic tricks.
When everyone had arrived they took us into an auditorium where Dr. Zoolittle went over some rules and then asked for some voluteers. Alex was not chosen to go on stage which I think he wound up being pretty happy about! One woman, one boy and one girl were on stage when Dr. Zollittle proceeded to put a Madagascar hissing cockroach on each person. When the boy saw it crawling on him he ran screaming and crying from the stage. The woman wanted to cry, but head her heald up so as not to be embarrassed. The little girl was a champ and stood there with no problem! Then he called new volunteers up who got to eat bugs! Very fun, but no chance my allergic boy was eating anything! At 5:00 we all got on a bus for a guided bus tour through the zoo. By this point we were the only ones left in the zoo (about 40 of us). The tour dropped us off at camp around six so we could see our tents and eat dinner.
Alex was VERY comfortable!
Once everyone was done with dinner, we roasted marshmallows and made smores around the campfire. The kids also got into costumes for trick or treating and a costume parade. The staff was incredible with Alex. They knew he could not walk long distances (and there was a lot of walking involved) so they set up a golf cart and his own driver to take us everywhere. That we Bruce and I didn't have to push him in his chair all the way around the zoo. So very helpful and thoughtful! So trick or treating at the zoo is a little different. It takes place in the reptile house and you learn about different animals while you trick or treat. There were 5 stations. At the first station we learned about millipedes and everyone had the opportunity to eat bugs. At the second station we met Ohos, the cutest owl ever. At the third station we learned about a desert blonde tarantula, at the fourth station we got to pet an alligator and at the last station the kids got to play with puppets. Following trick or treating there was a costume parade where everyone won and got a little stuffed animal. Alex, of course, got a zebra!
Alex the gladiator
Ohos the owl
After the costume parade, we headed back to camp for ghost stories around the campfire. Alex loved the story of "The Ghost of Eagle's Peak". Once storytime was over, the families had the choice to go on a night prowl or go to bed. It was no choice for us! A night prowl it was! We all loved the time in the zoo seeing nocturnal animals. Alex got to see the hyenas and lots of big cats up and about. Very cool. After the prowl it was to the tent to finally go to bed for the night!
We were awoken bright and early at 6:30 so we could be ready for breakfast at 7:00. bruce and I scrambled to get all of Alex's needs taken care of and all of our things packed in 30 minutes. Then we headed to Elephant Odessey for breakfast!
After breakfast we got to meet the elephant keepers and watch the elephants get pumpkins which they love! We were able to ask questions and watch two elephants go through their ritual of foot cleaning.
WE left the elephants and headed to the lion enclosure where we got quite a show! We got to watch the lions being fed adn they were extremely playful with each other. One of the guests even got lion pee on him!
Upon conclusion of the lion exhibit our sleepover was over. We took a bus to the front of the zoo before saying goodbye to our new friends. We spent another couple hours finishing up the parts of the zoo we still hadn't seen before heading back to the hotel one last time.
Alex with Kay, his buddy and driver
It was with tears in our eyes that we left our hotel and headed to the airport to say goobye to the trip of a lifetime. There are so many people who helped in putting this together and making this a reality. I will be forever grateful for all the hard work and prayers that went into this week and the incredible memories we will never forget.