The Buttonwood Park Zoo partnered with KultureCity to make a visit to the Zoo an accommodating and positive experience for guests with sensory issues.

KultureCity certified the Buttonwood Park Zoo as sensory inclusive, through a process that entailed staff training led by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation.

“Families on the Southcoast have been visiting the Zoo and making memories for over 125 years and we are continuously striving to make that experience accessible for all,” said Carrie Hawthorne, the BPZoo’s Education Curator.  “Thanks to this certification, the staff is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible while visiting the Zoo.”

Beginning on September 25, 2019, “sensory bags”, equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards will be available at the North Woods Gift Shop for guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment.

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 overstimulation and noise, which can be part of the environment at the Zoo.

“To know that you soon will be able to see families visit the Buttonwood Park Zoo with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend is truly a heartwarming moment. Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.” Traci Johnson, Executive Director, KultureCity.

All families deserve to enjoy all that our little zoo has to offer. Looking forward to seeing this implemented soon.