When a London family had its much-anticipated trip to Costa Rica cancelled because of travel restrictions connected to the novel coronavirus, the children were understandably "devastated," their dad told "Good Morning America."
"They were wildly excited about it, had been researching the animals they hoped to see for a while and had been meticulously counting down the sleeps since Christmas," Dan Ashton said of his daughters, Florence, 8 and Eloise, 7.
Ashton said he and his wife, Nikki, are nature lovers and had been waiting for the girls to be old enough to go on a trip like the one they had planned. "We had particularly fond memories of our trip to Costa Rica and decided to start off their nature adventures here. As a bonus, Eloise was due to turn 7 while we were on the trip," he said."
But the trip, scheduled for the first two weeks in April, was not to be. Still, all was not lost.
The family then worked together on and off for two weeks to create a rainforest in their basement. Ashton said the family used the research the girls had already done to make sure the animals, which they drew and painted, were authentic and in the right habitats and then added additional details including rainforest sound effects and a humidifier for mist.
Some day in the future, the family will take their trip of a lifetime.
"The most important thing right now for all of us is stay home, stay safe and protect each other," Ashton said. "When we do eventually get to go on these amazing trips, we will appreciate it even more."