CINCINNATI (June 29, 2021) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will be noticeably quieter on June 30 during its Zoo Access for All Celebration. To assist those with sensory sensitivities, excess noises will be silenced or turned down.
“Elephants will still trumpet, but you won’t hear announcements or music over the PA system,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard.
Noises required for safety, such as train crossing signals and vehicle in reverse sounds, will be heard at the usual volume during quiet hours.
“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 Maynard. “That’s what our Zoo Access for All program is all about.”
Since launching the program in 2017, funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Zoo has formed a Family Advisory Council (FAC) and added:
- Adult changing tables
- Sensory maps
- Sensory-friendly restrooms
- Visit planners and social narratives.
- Skip the line passes
- Financial assistance for schools through the Living Classroom Education Access Fund
- Sensory bags filled with oral motor chewy tubes, fidgets, bubble makers, noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, etc. (Available for check-out at the Welcome Center)
- 2 Calming rooms – 1 in Vine Street Village & 1 in Mai Thai’s Market
About 600 Zoo staff members and volunteers have received training through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s (CCHMC) Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program so they are prepared to welcome all guests. The Dornette Kanga’ Klimb Aerial Adventure Course, which opened earlier this month, includes ADA accessible components
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. 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.
This event is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free with Zoo admission, thanks to support from the SSA Group, the Zoo’s official sponsor of diversity and inclusion. The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Cincinnati Zoo members enjoy early entry at 9 a.m. For more information visit www.cincinnatizoo.org.