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Zoo New England is Certified Sensory Inclusive

Kulture City BagZoo New England has partnered with KultureCity to make Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with sensory processing needs.

The certification process entailed Zoo staff being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Additionally, sensory bags equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards will now be available at the admissions booths to guests who may need extra support during their visit.  

Prior to their visit, guests can download the free KultureCity App where they can view sensory features available to them at both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, including locations for Quiet Zones and Headphone Zones. Also on the App and on our website (Franklin Park Zoo / Stone Zoo) are Social Stories which provide a preview of what to expect during a trip to the Zoo.

“Here at Zoo New England, we pride ourselves on welcoming guests of all ages, backgrounds and experiences,” said Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Programming. “Through this certification, we can now extend that commitment to even more individuals, many of whom may have been unable to experience our Zoos due to sensory challenges. With this partnership and our commitment to inclusivity, we look forward to sharing the wonders of nature with a broader audience and inspiring even more conservationists.”

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise. With this certification, Zoo New England is now better prepared to proactively assist guests with sensory sensitivities throughout their visit.

KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using their resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs; not just those with Autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 200 sensory inclusive venues in three countries; this includes special events such as: NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts: NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. Recently, KultureCity was awarded one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 by FastCompany.