JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens partnered with KultureCity, which works to support people with special needs, to become certified as a sensory inclusive organization.
That means the Northside family favorite will be more accommodating for people with autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar conditions.
The certification involved zoo staff being trained on how to recognize and help people with sensory needs.
"It is important because, No. 1, I am a dad of a son who has a sensory need. And No. 2, when you look at the numbers, it is one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States. One in six individuals has a sensory need and by in large, these individuals don't get to engage with the general community," said Julian Maha, co-found of KultureCity.
Sensory bags for guests feeling overwhelmed during a zoo visit are now available at the Train Booth. Each bag is equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards.
There will also be a designated quiet area.
Families planning a trip to the Jacksonville zoo can also download the free KultureCity app that shares how to access sensory features at the zoo.