Three area families with special-needs children were treated to “Dream Day” at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on Friday, complete with pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a guided tour of the park, lunch and gifts.

This is the fifth year Fossil Rim has staged the special day. Guests this year were families from Glen Rose and Granbury. They were selected based on their needs and recommended by Glen Rose Medical Center, one of the sponsors of Dream Day.

Other sponsors are the LDL Educational Resources Foundation, as well as other business contributors.

The idea behind Dream Day was to give something back to the community, said Dr. Patrick Condy, Fossil Rim’s executive director.

The focus is on the whole family, Dr. Condy added, because each member is affected when one of them is severely challenged. So every family member is treated to the day’s activities and receives gifts as well as commemorative hooded sweatshirts.

Santa and Mrs. Claus - a.k.a. Dan Broyles and Shirley Smith - arrived in a zebra-patterned golf cart. They sat in big white rockers and posed for photos with the families.

Local officials also attended the event. County Judge Mike Ford came armed with gift bags printed with cheetah patterns and County Commissioner John Curtis, whose Precinct 2 includes Fossil Rim, was on hand, as were GRMC managers and members of the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department.

As a special added gift, GRMC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ray Reynolds, presented each family with a free year-long membership to CareFlite air and ground ambulance service.

The families’ names were not disclosed for publication to protect their privacy, but suffice it to say that all were grateful and enjoyed the day, despite the chilly, drizzly weather.

The best thing was seeing all the smiles when Santa and Mrs. Claus handed out gifts, such as plush giraffe toys, and staff workers distributed Christmas cupcakes. That was the icing on the cake - and on the kids’ faces.