Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre was truly charmed Tuesday night when more than 900 inspiring visitors graced the galleries for an evening of exploration and wonder. Dreamnight – a much-anticipated annual event for guests, staff, and volunteers alike – celebrates our community’s brave children with chronic and life-threatening conditions and their families by providing them with an engaging and memorable experience.
“Dreamnight is our most treasured annual event and one that we hold dear to our hearts. The children and their families – their curiosity and enthusiasm together with their bravery and strength – are awe-inspiring,” said Dr. John Nightingale, president and CEO, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. “It’s a magical evening on many levels. Our staff and volunteers jump at the chance to donate their time each year. We are also incredibly grateful for our community partners whose ongoing dedication and support make the event possible.”
For the evening, the Aquarium was devoted to Dreamnight guests so they could embark on an aquatic adventure in an inviting, safe, and accessible environment. Guests had a complete Aquarium experience as staff and volunteers, including interpreters, trainers, curators, and scientists, were on-site to share fun marine facts and pique aquatic interests. One of the highlights of the evening was seeing rescued sea otter pups Rialto, Mak, and Kunik frolic in their habitat. Adding to the fun, guests were able to champion their favourite marine animal at the face-painting station and channel their inner painter at the arts and crafts corner. Throughout the evening, guests received a warm hug from mascot friends Fin from the Vancouver Canucks, Leo from the BC Lions, Spike from the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Starry from the Starlight Foundation. Guests also enjoyed performances from Bobs & LoLo and mystifying tricks from Graham, the Magic Guy as well as autographs from Whitecaps players.
“Our family had a wonderful time at Dreamnight,” said Katherine Pellizzari, Dreamnight guest. “This is a truly special event that gives children and families a chance to have fun together. It’s a welcome break from the everyday and an experience we won’t soon forget. The dedication and generosity of the staff and the Aquarium was amazing and very much appreciated.”
Vancouver Aquarium was the first aquarium in North America to host a Dreamnight, an initiative that began at the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands in 1996. This special evening now takes place at more than 250 zoos and aquariums globally, each dedicating an evening to courageous children and their families.
Dreamnight is made possible through collaborations with several community organizations, including B.C. Children’s Hospital, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Children’s Heart Network, Children’s Organ Transplant Society, Children’s Wish Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation of B.C. & Yukon, Ronald
McDonald House B.C., Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, and Variety – The Children’s Charity. Vancouver Aquarium would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to event partners White Spot, Coca-Cola Canada, Easy Park, and Salt Spring Coffee.