The Los Angeles Zoo is providing an enhanced experience for visitors with autism, dementia, PTSD and other special sensory needs.
The nonprofit KultureCity certified the Los Angeles Zoo as a sensory inclusive venue, which is a major step for the zoo in creating an inclusive and equitable space for every guest.
“Los Angeles is known for its cultural diversity, but we’re also committed to looking at all elements of diversity and creating a space where every single member of our communities is welcomed, included and can truly belong,” said Denise M. Verret, CEO and director of the Los Angeles Zoo. “In order to provide an experience where our guests walk away with a renewed connection to wildlife and nature, we had to take the time to learn about sensory needs and adapt experiences for the benefit of everyone. Our goal is to co-create a future where people and wildlife thrive, together, and that involves everyone, including those with sensory needs.”
“This is a key milestone in the city of Los Angeles’s efforts to become the most accessible big city in America,” said Stephen David Simon, executive director of the Los Angeles Department on Disability. “The L.A. Zoo’s commitment to creating a safe, nurturing space where children and adults with sensory needs can more fully enjoy the zoo’s amenities furthers the city’s commitment to proposing, developing and implementing policies, programs, services and activities that improve the quality of life for all persons with disabilities.”
Challenges with sensory regulation, or sensory needs, are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and similar conditions. One of the major barriers for the individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is part of the environment at the L.A. Zoo.
With the new certification, the zoo is better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities to have the most comfortable and inclusive experience possible. As part of the KultureCity certification, the L.A. Zoo’s staff was trained by industry professionals on varying sensory needs, sensory inclusive components throughout the zoo campus, and ways to best support all individuals who visit.
“Our communities are what shape our lives, and to know that the Los Angeles Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community, is amazing,” said Uma Srivastava, executive director of KultureCity. “We’re honored to partner with the L.A. Zoo to provide a truly inclusive experience for all guests.”
The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive. For information, call (323)644-4200, or visit lazoo.org.
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