Potter Park Zoo shines brightly for children with life-threatening conditions

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 10:25 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Every year, Potter Park Zoo is transformed into a Winter Wonderland of Lights.

Wednesday night, they shined extra brightly for hundreds of children with life-threatening conditions.

Background: Nonprofit to welcome over 800 Michigan families for holiday festivities at Potter Park Zoo

There wasn’t a single frown in sight. More than 800 children and their families came out to enjoy a night of holiday fun.

Owen Kirby, 8, is a lot of things. His mom, Elaine Kirby, said he likes a lot of things too.

“He enjoys videos on his iPad,” Elaine Kirby said. “He enjoys a little sensory thing that he calls heady that he’s had for years now.”

Those kinds of sensory toys are usually what get Owen through the day. He has down syndrome and doesn’t like to let his iPad and sensory toys out of his sight, but Wednesday night was different.

“When he comes to events like this, he doesn’t need those because he’s got enough sensory input through all of these other things,” Elaine Kirby said. “It’s just an event where we can get together as a family and enjoy just spending time together.”

It’s the second year the Kirby family has come to Potter Park Zoo for the Wonderland of Lights Holiday Adventure. It’s a night of walking, talking and enjoying each other.

While the Kirbys explore the zoo together, Owen explores his independence.

The event is put on by A Kid Again Michigan Families.

Potter Park Zoo’s Wonderland of Lights runs through Dec. 23.

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