As part of the certification process, team members receive ongoing training on how to recognize and help guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation, according to a news release from the zoo.
“The Saint Louis Zoo is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our guests,” said Louise Bradshaw, the zoo's Fred Saigh Director of Education. “We strive to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying our team members with continuous training and by offering resources and accommodations to our guests.”
Those who have sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation often have autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions, the release stated. One of the barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise – which is a major part of the zoo’s environment. With its certification, the zoo is better prepared to help guests with sensory sensitivities have a more comfortable experience when visiting.
Guests will see new KultureCity signage throughout the zoo, indicating areas where there may be sensory challenges like noise, temperature, smells or sounds, as well as quiet places for relaxing.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families visit an attraction such as a 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 Saint Louis Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.” Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity.
Prior to visiting the zoo, families can download the KultureCity app to view what sensory features are available and how they can access them.