CLEVELAND - There may have been an air gun firing behind a tall, gray wall adjacent to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's dinosaur exhibit Tuesday, but it didn't suppress questions and answers firing from a 4-year-old.
Paleontologist Darin Croft had his hands full and his running shoes at the ready as Daniel Craver, a Make-A-Wish Foundation wish recipient, led him around the museum's exhibits. The young boy easily answered all of Croft's dinosaur-related questions.
Daniel had been given his first magazines and books about dinosaurs prior to a liver transplant in August. His liver had been failing for yet confirmed reasons, but his quick mind and memory absorbed every page before and after his extensive surgery.
"He got so many dinosaur things, it was crazy, but he loves them," said his mother, Diana Craver. "He loves details. He loves scientific information about them, their names, what they do, what it means, how tall they were. All the details that we just can't even remember but he just knows them."
Getting a tour of the paleontology research lab two floors below the dinosaur exhibit, Daniel was like, well, a kid in a candy store. Except this candy was sometimes 65 million years old.
As his father, Timothy, pushed his baby sister, Rachel, through the stacks of bones and fossils awaiting further work, Daniel's wide-eyed excitement was only stopped briefly once... for a gummy-bear break. He ran to his grandmother to fill her in on his latest dino-info gleaned from Croft's expertise.
Make-A-Wish, which has granted more 12,000 wishes to children nationwide, is now in its 30th year of serving families. Ohio has received more than 3,000 of those. There are currently 162 Ohio children awaiting a wish. Most opt for Disney World.
"This is a unique wish, so we're really excited. It's definitely one that we haven't done before, so it's very exciting," said Keri Haibach, director of individual Giving for Make-A-Wish.
For information on Make-A-Wish in Ohio go to: makeawish.org