Our Five Ring Circus: Dream Night at the Zoo

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dream Night at the Zoo

Once you have a child who has special needs, you enter a whole new world.

That world includes many special events!  One of those events is Dream Night at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

We have a membership to the Pittsburgh Zoo, and we go several times a year.  I was just there with Lexie's class 2 1/2 weeks ago!  Dream Night, however, is an invitation only event for people with special needs and their families. It's so much fun!

We went to Dream Night last year when Liam was just 9 months old.  He slept almost the entire time!  This year, he was awake, and ready to roll!  Snacks, of course, were a necessity.


As soon as we got to the top of the escalator, we were greeted by this sight:


Around the corner was Make-A-Wish!  We finally made our way down the hill and started to check out the animals.  Almost immediately, the hands-on experiences began!


We caught a glimpse of these magnificent creatures...


...then decided to wait in line for something extra special!


Trust me, it was WELL worth the wait!!!

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It was an incredible, unforgettable experience!  She was such a gentle, beautiful animal, and petting her was one of the coolest things ever!


For the first time ever, we decided to skip the Tropical Forest, AKA the "Monkey House."  We had enough monkeys to deal with!


On our walk to the aquarium, we got a close look at the giraffes!


The aquarium was where the real party started!  A Polynesian band was playing and teaching the kids how to hula at the entrance.  We watched for a few minutes, then headed into the aquarium.  We were on a tight schedule!

Liam LOVED the aquarium!   I don't blame him.  It's beautiful and mesmerizing!  I truly could spend the entire day inside.


Right before we left the aquarium, we ran into Liam's little buddy!  For those of you who read my blog regularly, Kyron and Liam were the matching pirates at the World Down Syndrome Day Tea Party!


As we left the aquarium, they were handing out ice cream bars.  The kids were pretty excited about that! We ate as we talked to friends and checked out the outdoor aquarium exhibits.

As we entered Kids Kingdom, a big dance party was happening, an artist was painting, and characters were walking around to greet the kids.  Lily didn't want to get out of the stroller, but Lexie and Dylan had a great time!


By the time we left that area, it was completely dark.


Unfortunately, we just missed the cutoff for the free log rides, but there was still time for the carousel ride, which the kids had been waiting for!  Dylan, Lexie, and Lily loved it!  Liam?  Not so much!  Grant tried to take pictures, but poor Lily was hidden!


When the kids got off the carousel, it was time to leave.  Grant had to wait in the long elevator line with Liam and our stroller, so I took Dylan, Lexie, and Lily down the escalator.  We grabbed our goody bags, and waited at the bottom of the elevator.  The kids were tired, but happy, after a fun night!


The wait for Grant and Liam was long, but we got to talk to many friends as they got off the elevators.  It was such a great night!  We ran into many families we knew, and we got to meet a few new ones.  I love the Down syndrome community!

Our family had a great time at Dream Night!  A huge thank you to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG aquarium for hosting this wonderful event. We can't wait to go back next year!!!



  1. Sounds like a GREAT event! And so much fun for the entire family! Love your photos with the elephant!!

  2. How much fun! Looks like an amazing night. You'll have to frame the picture of your family with the elephant!

  3. Love that Zoo! Sounds like a perfect family evening!!!!!

  4. Looks like a wonderful time!! That is so great that they host nights like that! Love his little bowtie!

  5. What a fun day! You have a beautiful family:-). It's been awhile since I've gone to the zoo, but perhaps I'll put it on my summer list!

  6. That is so cool- esp the Elephant family photo!! How do they find out about you being a family with special needs to get on the invite list? That is really nice of them to do that!
    PS Is the new section of the zoo open yet?

    1. Thank you! The DSAP sends out an email about it, and you have to register with the zoo and request tickets.
      The new section isn't open yet, but it's getting close. There are definitely a lot of changes! It looks like it's going to be really nice!

  7. How fun! Those elephant pictures are awesome. What a memorable time for everyone (even for little Liam who didn't sleep this time)!


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