Jacksonville zoo now certified as sensory inclusive organization

That means Northside attraction more accommodating for those with autism, PTSD

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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.