OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is working to make things a little easier for children with sensory sensitivities or challenges.
The zoo has partnered with KultureCity to become certified as a sensory inclusive zoo.
Oklahoma City Zoo visitors will now have access to complimentary sensory bags that include fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphone and weighed lap blankets. The bags will be available for free at the Zoo’s Guest Experience office in the Entry Plaza and Rosser Conservation Education Center.
“We are dedicated to making the Oklahoma City Zoo accessible to everyone,” Dr. Dwight Lawson, OKC Zoo executive director/CEO, said. “Through this initiative with KultureCity, we can ensure all of our guests have an opportunity to connect with our animal family, participate in our programs and experience all that the Zoo has to offer in a welcoming and inclusive environment.”
Zoo team members and volunteers will also undergo training on how to respond to guests with sensory needs. Officials say there will also be signs designating quiet zones and headphone zones for those who may feel overwhelmed.
“I, personally had the pleasure of training and working alongside with the Oklahoma City Zoo staff. Each and every team member was very eager to learn about sensory needs so they can help create an accessible environment for their community. KultureCity is excited to have a partnership with the OKC Zoo. This will truly be a positive experience for all families with special needs and unique abilities, allowing them to be included and have accessibility at all times.” Meagan Gravlee, KultureCity board member.
Sensory sensitivities are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions.