KultureCity has partnered with the Sacramento Zoo to make the zoo and all of the programs and events that the zoo hosts to be sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests living with special sensory needs.
To be officially certified by KultureCity, the staff at the Sacramento Zoo were trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to all guests at the zoo’s Member & Visitor Services office for guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. A dedicated quiet room will also be made available for those who may need a quieter and more secure 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 over stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue like the Sacramento Zoo. With its new certification, the zoo is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any event at the zoo.
Ann Geiger, Director of Education at the Sacramento Zoo, said, “Within 24 hours of posting our sensory awareness signs in the zoo, we had our first request for the backpacks! Making the zoo experience more accessible is so rewarding for all of us; we are so happy to be working with KultureCity.”
Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also, on the App is the Social Story which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event at the zoo or other certified location. The KultureCity App can be downloaded on iPhone or Android phones.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families visit the zoo, a true community binding experience, 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 Sacramento Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” said Dr. Julian Maha, Co-Founder of KultureCity.
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 3 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.