Return to mobile version

Leilani becomes a Zookeeper!

  • Leilani and her sister having a blast!

  • Leilani and her family behind the scenes at San Diego Zoo!

  • Leilani feeding an elephant!

  • So exciting! Leilani shows off a HUGE smile while on her wish.

  • Watch out for that tongue!

  • Leilani's dad holds her while she feeds the giraffes.

  • Brave Leilani steps right up to San Diego Zoo's giant giraffes!

  • Leilani's sweet smile.

“ I wish to go to a big zoo! ”

- Leilani

Five-year-old Leilani has always had a passion for animals and for learning about the natural habitat of the world’s creatures. Battling cancer is a daily struggle for her, but she manages to let go of her worries by focusing on her greatest dream – to be a zookeeper at one of the nation’s largest zoos!

Leilani spends most of her time receiving treatments and staying in hospitals, so when it came time for her wish, she was completely overjoyed to escape her daily routines and have the opportunity to visit the famed San Diego Zoo!

The San Diego Zoo houses 800 species and more than 4,000 animals. They treated Leilani to a grand VIP tour of their animal Kingdom. What began as a simple wish to observe the wildlife ended as an unforgettable interactive experience with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Going behind the scenes where the public is not allowed to go, Leilani got up close & personal with the animals, petting and feeding everything from giraffes to elephants (her favorite)! Leilani got a unique insight into the day-to-day life as a zookeeper. 

Just when Leilani thought her wish journey had come to an end, in true Make-A-Wish spirit she was surprised with a day at SeaWorld, where she could explore and learn about some under-the-sea creatures! This almost meant an extra day to live out her dream and share the unforgettable experience with her family.

Leilani’s wish was more than just a simple trip to the zoo, it was a trip full of memories for her family to treasure forever.

Special Thanks: Wish granters Rederi Rantayo and Candis Cornell, San Diego Zoo


Join the conversation

This story makes me feel

Leave a Comment


Join the conversation

Leave a Comment

You might also be interested in ...

Make-A-Wish® Hawaii
P.O. Box 1877
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 537-3118 x100