Louisville Zoo Becomes Certified Sensory Inclusive

The Louisville Zoo announced yesterday that it has become a Certified Sensory Inclusive location, which means it has now expanded its accommodations to guests with sensory disabilities such as autism.

As a result, the Zoo now offers guests free sensory bags, which can be reserved at this link or picked up at the wheelchair/stroller rental booth on the day of a visit. There are also dedicated Quiet Areas and Headphone Zones throughout the Zoo.

Sensory Inclusive certification comes from KultureCity, a nonprofit that helps organizations become more accessible to guests with autism or PTSD, which can make those guests more likely to get sensory overload in crowded places.

Zoo Director Dan Maloney said in a statement, “We are proud to have earned this sensory inclusive certification through KultureCity. Our dedicated team is determined to make the Louisville Zoo the safest, most inclusive, most engaging place for all of our guests to enjoy and learn about the amazing animals that share our wonderful world. This certification is an important step in our recognition of our neuro diverse visitors as we create a great experience for everyone!”

The KultureCity bag includes a pair of headphones, several fidget toys, a “KCVIP” badge on a lanyard, a Feeling Thermometer card, a Write-N-Chill weighted lap bag and two markers for the lap bag.

The Zoo now appears on the free KultureCity app, as well. It includes a Visual Cue Card, which a guest can use to request things like headphones, a bathroom break, or a snack; and a Feeling Thermometer, to express emotions like happiness or boredom; and a Social Story. 

The Social Story, which guests can access through the app, explains various features of a typical Zoo experience: how to identify staff members and volunteers, what to do if there’s too much noise, how some exhibits might have a particular smell, and how it might not be possible to see all the animals in one visit.

You can learn more about the Zoo’s certification and what they offer guests with sensory needs at this link.

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