Valdosta Daily Times

September 15, 2013

Petting zoo named after organization aiding kids with cancer

Desiree Murphy
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Wild Adventures has been partnered with Camp Sunshine for more than 15 years to provide children with cancer an opportunity to enjoy a day of adventures.

On Saturday morning, Camp Sunshine had the honor of having the Safari Petting Zoo in the park dedicated to them.

Camp Sunshine is a camp in Atlanta that allows children with cancer and their families to experience a typical summer camp experience. Due to their illnesses, the children often feel isolated from their peers, so this allows them the opportunity to spend time with others who are going through the same things. “

“They just need a chance to be kids,” says Eric Newberg, a Camp Sunshine board member.

Not only does the camp provide programs for those suffering from cancer, but it also had programs for their parents and siblings.

For 15 years, Camp Sunshine has taken campers to Wild Adventures for one day. While the children love every aspect of the park, they’ve always had a special interest in the petting zoo, which is comprised of a variety of animals including bunnies, chickens, and even a donkey.

Forty-two families arrived at Wild Adventures for the dedication ceremony. Molly Dees, Wild Adventures general manager, opened the ceremony by explaining the bond that Wild Adventures has with these kids.

“We are truly honored to work with Camp Sunshine,” says Dees. “This is truly what Wild Adventures is all about.”

Newberg explained how grateful Camp Sunshine is for Wild Adventures.

Also present for the unveiling was Wild Adventures employee Tony Padron and his beloved dog, Gummy Bear. As all the kids gathered around Gummy Bear, Padron explained that Gummy Bear, now 5 years old, has been visiting with these children since he was just a puppy.

With the help of two campers, Dees and Newberg revealed the new sign hanging above the petting zoo that reads “Safarai Petting Zoo is dedicated to Camp Sunshine: Enriching the lives of Georgia’s children with cancer and their families.”