Today I took the plunge, changed clothes at work, “jumped” into my old running shoes and went off for a 8.5 km run homeward. Just outside the building I heard a couple whisper “accident” and I saw several ambulances driving towards the highway. Half a kilometer down the road ambulances were still leaving the hospital. There was a continuous wailing sound. Everywhere were ambulances, police-cars and fire-engines. Something big must have happened. A disaster on the highway perhaps?
It looked like this:
Crossing the bridge over the highway, I didn’t see anything, not even the usual Friday evening rush hour. …
I stopped to twitter and searched for “accident”. There seemed to be a serious accident on the A2-highway, but this was further South.
Finally at home (it took me longer than I had hoped) I checked Twitter again. It seemed that there had not been an accident or disaster, it was no excercise, it was the once yearly Dreamnight at the zoo. This is:
“an annual and entrance-free eveningopening of a zoo exclusively for chronically ill and disabled children, their parents and brothers and sisters”
The ambulances and other vehicles are just their (loud) escort to the zoo.
This year it is exactly 15 years ago that the dreamnight-project was born. The first edition was held in the Sophia’s Children Hospital in Rotterdam – The Netherlands: 175 very ill children came with their parents and siblings…. all together some 750 special guests were entertained.
When European zoos joined, the name “Dreamnight at the Zoo” was introduced. Later dreamnight got other partners, like museums and attraction parks.
The night is meant to give VIC’s (very important children) and their parents an unforgettable evening. Police, fireman and paramedics also help to make it a memorable day. Today was a bright and sunny day. I’m sure the children and their families had a great evening.
It really is a project that is well worth the effort. It is the dream of the organizers that all Zoos in the world once will call the first Friday of June (or December in Australia) the “dreamnight at the zoo”….
There is also a special site for Artis dreamnight: http://www.dreamnightatartis.nl/(Dutch)