CLEVELAND — Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is now officially certified as a sensory inclusive zoo after a new initiative launched on Friday.
The zoo and all of the events and programs offered by the zoo will now offer additional tools and information for guests with sensory needs.
The initiative is aimed to help the zoo in assisting guests who may have a sensitivity to over-stimulation and noise. These sensitivities are common in people with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions.
The zoo now has six designated quiet zones marked by signs where guests can get away from loud noises when necessary. Zoo maps have nine “headphone zones” marked on them so that guests are aware of where loud noises are present.
Sensory bags that include fidget tools, noise-reducing headphones and other sensory-friendly items have also been made available by the zoo.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar is happy to be able to provide an inclusive setting for all of the zoo’s guests.
“At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo we’re always looking to enhance the guest experience and connect more people with wildlife,” Dr. Kuhar said. “We’re excited to partner with KultureCity on this new initiative that will enhance our ability to provide a comfortable and accommodating environment for all our guests.”
The initiative is in partnership with KultureCity, a leading national non-profit that helps venues become sensory inclusive.
“To know that you will now be able to see families visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who may have experienced difficulties on their previous visits , is truly a heartwarming moment,” Traci Johnson, the Executive Director of KultureCity said. “Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”