Montgomery Zoo to become more sensory friendly with new program

Montgomery Zoo to become more sensory friendly with new program
The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Museum will offer Sensory Bags and quiet zones for guests with Sensory Processing Disorders. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum will launch a program to make visitors with Sensory Processing Disorders feel more at ease.

The Sensory Initiative, developed by KultureCity, will launch at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Guests with SPDs will be able to get Sensory Bags that include noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys and weighted lap pads. There will also be signs placed throughout the zoo identifying "quiet zones" and "headphone zones."

"The goal of the program is to raise awareness of Sensory Processing Disorders (SPDs) among Zoo staff and throughout the community," Melanie Golson, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, said.  "We are excited to have this opportunity to be more in tune with our guests who may be overwhelmed by the noise and excitement going on at the Zoo."

SPDs include Autism, PTSD, Parkinson's Disease, ADHD and many others. All zoo staff members have completed training to increase their understanding of SPDs.

"We are always looking for innovative ways to ensure our guests enjoy every moment of their visit to the zoo," said Marcia Woodard, Zoo Director.  "The sensory bags are just one way we can expand opportunities for our guests."

The Sensory Bags will be available for guests to check-out at the Zoo's main admission gift shop. The Quiet Zones will be located between the main entrance and Skylift, the Mann Museum, Alligator Boardwalk and the open area near the jaguar exhibit. The Headphone Zones will be located at the Train Station, Overlook Café, Playground/Petting Zoo, Chimpanzee Exhibit, Reptile House and Stingray Bay.

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