Milwaukee County Zoo is now certified for sensory inclusion in an effort to accommodate guests who may be disrupted by loud noises, congestion and overstimulation.
The zoo partnered with KultureCity to make all of the zoo's spaces and events sensory inclusive. The zoo was set to become certified in 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. KultureCity is a nonprofit organization that provides sensory inclusion training and tools to venues and large-scale events.
Sensory sensitivities are often experienced by people with autism, dementia, PTSD and similar conditions. One of the biggest barriers for them in spaces like music venues, sports stadiums and zoos is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise.
The effort includes sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads - all available to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment.
“We want to make sure the Zoo is a destination that everyone is able to visit and enjoy,” said Milwaukee County Zoo Interim Director, Vera Westphal, in a statement Tuesday. “The certification enables the Zoo to accommodate guests with sensory processing needs and make it a welcoming and positive experience.”
Before attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity app to see what sensory features are available and where they can access them.