Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is hosting a day dedicated to welcoming guests with sensory sensitivities on June 30.
The quiet day will eliminate or soften excess noises like PA announcements. However, train crossing signals and vehicle reverse noises will still operate normally for safety, and the zoo animals will continue to do what comes naturally.
"The Zoo is for everyone. Our goal is to be a place where both animals and people can thrive, no matter who they are, no matter what challenges – physical, economic, or social – they face,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “That’s what our Zoo Access for All program is all about.”
The special event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be available for free with zoo admission.
The "Zoo Access For All" program, which launched in 2017, has made notable strides in its shift towards offering a more inclusive experience for its guests since launching.
With help from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant, the zoo has added sensory maps, adult changing tables, sensory-friendly restrooms, visit planners and narratives, line skip passes, financial assistance for schools, two calming rooms, sensory bags packed with noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, bubble makers, fidgets and oral motor chewy tubes. The zoo also recently opened the Dornette Kanga' Klimb Aerial Adventure Course, which features ADA-accessible elements.
Additionally the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program trained roughly 600 of the zoo team members to ensure they are prepared to welcome guests of all needs.
"In addition to making the Zoo more accessible for in-person visits, it partners with CCHMC to present special programming to patients in the hospital," a release reads. "Bi-weekly Wild Wednesday Zoom sessions bring zookeepers and animals to patients and give them the opportunity to interact and ask questions via the Seacrest Studios hospital channel."
For more information, visit cincinnatizoo.org.
*A previous version of this story used the word sensibilities instead of sensitivities. The typo has been corrected.