Georgia Aquarium and the Make-A-Wish Georgia came together to give children whose wishes were postponed due to COVID-19 a virtual visit to the Aquarium.

“When we heard that some of the kids at Make-A-Wish in Georgia had their wishes postponed due to this crisis, we knew we had to do something special for them,” said Jessica Fontana, senior director of communications and marketing events at Georgia Aquarium. “We are so excited to get to share this experience with these kids and couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.”

Griffin Thomas, 7, and Tyler Clendenen, 12, were welcomed through a virtual visit where they had their own private encounter with Jupiter and Alex, two of our California sea lions. The virtual encounter was hosted by Andrew Madigan, curator of zoological operations, pinnipeds at Georgia Aquarium. Griffin and Tyler were able to learn more about sea lions and experience what it is like to be an animal trainer at Georgia Aquarium.

“We believe that when stars align, wishes really do come true. These unprecedented times have given Make-A-Wish Georgia an opportunity to reimagine the way we bring wishes to life for local wish kids. With the help of Georgia Aquarium, we were able to bring joy to the faces of Griffin and Tyler, two local wish kids who have a love of sea life!,” said Amy Alvarez, vice president of marketing and communications at Make-A-Wish Georgia. “The Aquarium became a star for these wish kids by creating an amazing experience on our most celebrated day of the year, World Wish Day. Forty years ago, one little boy sparked the imagination of a community to turn wishes into reality. That moment continues to shine a light of hope today for local wish families because of partners like the Georgia Aquarium.”

Griffin had never met a sea lion before and enjoyed watching Jupiter show off his fast swimming skills. “It was really cool,” said Griffin.

When asked what his favorite part of the virtual experience was, Tyler said, “The sea lions speaking.” He said that they should be called a sea dog instead of a sea lion because their bark sounds more like a dog.

Get to know Griffin:

Griffin battles MPS. He loves watching “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” every day - he never misses it! Griffin’s wish is to go to Disney World and meet a dolphin. He often watches dolphin videos on YouTube and cannot wait to meet one in person.

Get to know Tyler:

Tyler has been battling Neurofibromatosis since he was born. He is brave, outgoing and confident in his own skin. He loves marine animals and his wish is to go to Hawaii to see dolphins and whales


Watch Griffin and Tyler’s virtual visit to the Aquarium on YouTube. For photos and b-roll from the visit please click here.


To learn more about Make-A-Wish and ways that you can help send messages of hope, visit their website or visit Make-A-Wish Georgia here.


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