Greensboro, NC -- The Natural Science Center's Animal Discovery features many attractions from the wallabies, gibbons, tigers and the maned wolves. For one Piedmont family, the attraction holds something even more special, a lasting memory of their son.
The Davis Kelly Fountain of Youth and Discovery is dedicated to a Greensboro boy who had a love for the outdoors and nature.
"Sometimes I just come and sit in one of those chairs and just watch the children and watch the people come up and look at the statue and they don't even know who davis", says Karen Kelly, Davis' mother. "It brings me a little sense of peace if people can realize how precious life is"
In 2002, the Kelly's lost their son Davis to a crash on Interstate 85.
"After we lost our son 6 years ago the community and friends and family got together and we really wanted to create a place that was a memorial to him."
Davis played at a fountain like this one before the accident. His family envisioned a tribute to their son.
Animal discovery was in the planning stages and the Kellys came to them with their idea. Brick by brick friends and strangers came together help raise money to allow the Kellys to build their vision. Karen, a former science teacher, has a passion for others to learn and enjoy science. For years, she was on the board at the Natural Science Center.
Contributions continued to come in, and when animal discovery opened in 2007, the Davis Kelly Fountain of Youth and Discovery became a reality.
"It has been such a blessing to us to have all these people just embrace us and lift us up and carry us through this, its been such a major part of our healing to have this place"
Davis still lives on in their hearts and his memory lives on with each splash of the fountain or a reading from the bricks.
"While I must leave you for a little while
Please do not grieve and shed wild tears
And hug your sorrow to you through the years
But start out bravely with gallant smiles
And for my sake and in my name live on and do all
Things the same
Feed not your loneliness on empty days
But fill each waking hour in useful ways
Reach out your hand in comfort and cheer
And I will comfort you and hold you near
And never, never be afraid to die for I am waiting for you in the sky"
Those last words now have a very different meaning. Davis' mom Karen died this last week of January 2013. She had been battling ALS. Her legacy of love for her child, and for science now also lives on through this fountain.
The fountain can be seen in the Animal Discovery area at the Natural Science Center.