Colorado boy gets Make-A-Wish dream with trip Miami zoo

Colorado boy gets Make-A-Wish dream with trip Miami zoo
Posted at 3:23 AM, Jan 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 23:02:08-05

MIAMI (WVSN/CNN) - One Colorado Springs, CO, boy got the dream trip of his lifetime Friday after he traveled to South Florida.

Ryland Gallagher, 8, traveled to the state to have his wish of spending time with rare reptiles at Zoo Miami come true.

Gallagher and his family got an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the zoo.

The trip was possible through Make-A-Wish which recognizes the toll dealing with a serious illness takes, not only on the young patients but on the entire family as well.

After feeding the giraffes and petting the rhinos, it was on to the reptiles. 

Gallagher’s mother was grateful to see her son and family having so much fun.

"I think this is something that's going to stick with him forever," said Tammy Handley. “You're the first general public, the first kid who's ever gotten to see him:"

They got the ultimate family photo when a Burmese python was brought out. The snake was so long it took the entire group to handle it.

Gallagher has cystic fibrosis, a disorder that affects the lungs, digestive system and other organs.

"They build a whole experience around the child's true wish and give the family a break from the medical conditions that are really affecting their lives," said Stu Opperman of Make A Wish-Southern Florida.

One zoo staffer was also touched by the experience.

"As a father myself it just gives me tremendous, tremendous pleasure to see these kids laugh and smile, and allows me to be a little bit of a kid myself," Ron McGill said.  

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