MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A trip to the zoo proved to be quite memorable for a local soldier’s family.

Three-year-old Evan Tulk and his grandma went to the Minnesota Zoo Saturday.

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During a show, a zoo worker asked if Evan would help bring out a live animal during a “close encounters” presentation, but he got quite the surprise…

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Evan’s dad, Sergeant Joseph Scott, came out instead. Sgt. Scott had just returned from a year in Kuwait and Iraq. While he was gone, Evan had asked if they could go to the zoo when his dad got back.

“It means everything,” Sgt. Scott said. “I chose to serve my country and I really love to give back to him, and reconnect with him today at someplace that’s special to me.”

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Evan decided their first stop would be the penguin exhibit.