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Posted by Erica Rymer Monday, March 2, 2020 7:00:00 AM Categories: Animal News

Everyone has a place at the Akron Zoo, no matter their abilities

March 2, 2020

By Erica Rymer, Events and Marketing Coordinator

 

This Monday we celebrate something that many of us take for granted: Inclusion. March is National Disabilities Month! To celebrate, the Akron Zoo is partnering with the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Summit DD) to provide free admission for guests wearing orange on March 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sensory Bag

At the Akron Zoo, we work hard to ensure that every guest has access to our park, because conservation is not an exclusive principle. We should all have the opportunity to connect with wildlife, learn about the world around us and take conservation action! 

In 2017 we took the first step in opening our doors to guests of all abilities by becoming sensory inclusive. We partnered with KultureCity to assist and accommodate guests with sensory processing needs. Staff members were trained to understand sensory processing needs, and we have a number of resources available to our guests, including sensory bags, a Guest Comfort Station, quiet areas and headphone zones. We also added an event called “Zoothing Hour,” where guests with sensory needs can arrive an hour before the park opens to enjoy the zoo without large crowds or loud noises. You can learn more about the sensory inclusion program by visiting the Akron Zoo’s accessibility page!

Penguin Inclusion Day

Our partnership with Summit DD is a fantastic next step in making the zoo accessible to everyone. Summit DD’s mission is to help people of all abilities reach their full potential  through respect, collaboration, innovation, inclusion, excellence and trust. The first annual Inclusion Day was hosted by Summit DD in 2016, and since then they have continued spreading the message of belonging and showing support for people of all abilities. 

This is the first year that the Akron Zoo is partnering with Summit DD to host Inclusion Day. During the event, our education team will be providing up-close encounters with some of our animals who have disabilities. Guests can also explore the park and participate in five different sensory activity stations. All guests are invited to attend!

To participate in Inclusion Day, put on your favorite orange shirt, hoodie or other clothing item and come on down to the Akron Zoo. Guests wearing orange can mention Inclusion Day at the ticket counter to receive free admission to the park. Parking rates still apply. Don’t forget to share a photo of yourself or your family wearing orange at the zoo on social media using #includeME #akronzooinclusion to be entered to win an Akron Zoo family membership! All are welcome. We will see you here!