This May, the Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, will be hosting its 17th annual Dreamnight. On this special night we open our doors for over 1,000 children living with life-threatening illnesses and their families to visit the Aquarium. As many of these children are unable to visit the Aquarium during our regular hours, Dreamnight gives them an opportunity to connect with aquatic animals and take part in fun activities in a safe and controlled environment, away from their hospital beds. Children and their families will enjoy the Aquarium galleries to themselves and an evening of fun activities including interacting with creatures in the Wet Lab, take part in sing-along’s, crafts, face painting and a magic show.
Please note that this event is by invitation only.
In 1996, Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands initiated a special evening at the zoo for children with life threatening illnesses and their families from a local hospital. “Dreamnight” as it became known, quickly caught on as an annual event in Rotterdam and eventually spread to zoos and aquariums around the world. The event continues to grow with more organizations participating every year. Since 2003, the Vancouver Aquarium has presented Dreamnight annually to children and their immediate families and caregivers from local hospitals and hospices including: BC Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, Canuck Place, Make a Wish Foundation and more.
Dreamnight is a free event and Aquarium staff and volunteers donate their time to keep the Aquarium open after hours in order to give these children and their families a special experience that they will never forget. Observing the happy faces of the children and their families, who often have a very heavy burden to bear, is what makes Dreamnight such an extraordinary event. Providing a “night off” from their regular routines is often invaluable to these families who spend so much of their time in hospital rooms.The moment the children walk through the doors, they are welcomed and entertained: from a warm greeting by the Aquarium's mascot to special animal shows and a variety of other activities throughout the night including: face painting, touch pools, crafts, magic shows and performances by local musicians.
The Vancouver Aquarium's Dreamnight continues to grow as we welcome more children and their families to the Aquarium to experience an evening of fun and laughter they won't soon forget.