New initiative promotes a positive experience for guests with sensory processing issues
A new initiative by Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in partnership with KultureCity to promote an accommodating and positive experience for guests with sensory issues has received official certification by the leading nationwide non-profit. Beginning March 29, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and all of its events and programs will offer additional tools and information for guests with sensory needs.
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise. The new initiative better equips Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to assist guests with sensory sensitivities.
“At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo we’re always looking to enhance the guest experience and connect more people with wildlife,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar, PhD. “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.”
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has designated six quiet zones across the Zoo with signage where guests can get away from loud noises. The Zoo has also made sensory bags available containing optional identification cards, fidget tools and noise reducing headphones. In addition to the quiet zones, the Zoo’s accessibility map will now denote nine “headphone zones” where loud noises are present.
Guests can request sensory bags at the Guest Services Resource Center just past the Zoo main entrance in the Talty Building.
“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,” said Traci Johnson, Executive Director, KultureCity. “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.”
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using their resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs; not just those with Autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 200 sensory inclusive venues in 3 countries; this includes special events such as: NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts: NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. Recently, KultureCity was awarded one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 by FastCompany.
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