Wish Kid cares for zoo animals

Payton and her new Koala friend.

Payton Davis loves animals and wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up. She loves the San Diego Zoo, and always wanted a behind the scenes tour of how it operates. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses, heard about Payton’s dream and set up a trip for her and her family to visit the San Diego Zoo and be a zoo-keeper for a day.

Payton and her family drove to San Diego for her big animal adventure. During their trip, they stayed at the wonderful Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. Payton loved the relaxing hotel located right on the water, especially the giant fish tank on display in the lobby. She suffers from Crohn’s disease and has been hospitalized because of her condition.

Payton’s zoo experience began the next morning. She was thrilled to have a one-on-one zoo keeper experience where she interacted and worked with a bunch of animals including giraffes, zebras, donkeys, a koala bear, gazelles, and Payton’s absolute favorite animal, the armadillo. “They remind me of Roly Polies,” said Payton. She loved spending time with the armadillo and even got to pet and wash it. She also fed the giraffes and gazelles and got to bathe and hold a koala.

After her awesome behind the scenes encounters, Payton and her family spent the rest of the day exploring the magnificent San Diego Zoo. Anna, the zoo representative even gave Payton a cute sloth stuffed animal as a special remembrance of her amazing day. Afterwards, the family enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.

“It was thrilling for us to provide Payton with the San Diego Zoo’s Keeper for A Day experience, enabling her to explore her dream job through hands-on participation with her favorite animals,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai.

Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and struggling with life-altering situations. KWN provides trip expenses, meals, accommodations and additional spending monies to all wish families whenever traveling as applicable. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn about our different programs and find out how you can help make dreams come true and sponsor a wish for a deserving child.

Payton is a student at Cabrillo Middle School.

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