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A special group of children got the VIP treatment Friday in East Tennessee.

The Knoxville Zoo welcomed hundreds of Children's Hospital patients and their families for its annual Dreamnight at the Zoo.

The zoo invited more than 500 families. It says all of its staff and volunteers enjoy giving their time to be a part of the event.

"It's an opportunity for them. You know their animal work is done and they can close up their barns and can come out and interact and really try to make these kids and their families feel special," said Lisa New, zoo executive director.

Some local mascots and even a couple of Star Wars characters were also on hand for the event.

More than 246 partners in 37 countries worldwide participate in their own Dreamnights at the Zoo.

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