San Antonio, TX - San Antonio Zoo is proud to announce its partnership with KultureCity, a nonprofit organization that creates sensory-inclusive environments for individuals with sensory sensitivities. Through this partnership, San Antonio Zoo has become sensory-inclusive, providing a welcoming and accessible environment for all visitors and its Zoo Crew.
The certification process to become sensory-inclusive included training San Antonio Zoo's staff to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to provide support for any sensory overload situations. The zoo now has designated quiet zones and indicates headphone zones throughout the property to provide a calm and quiet area for visitors with sensory needs. Additionally, Sensory Bags, complete with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads, can now be checked out to provide a more relaxed and comfortable experience. Guests wishing to check out a Sensory Bag can do so at either of the zoo's entrances with a valid I.D.
"We are thrilled to partner with KultureCity and become a certified sensory-inclusive zoo," said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "This initiative is very close to our hearts, and we're proud to take this essential step towards creating an inclusive environment for all visitors and Zoo Crew. Our staff has undergone sensory inclusion training, and we now have the tools and resources available to best support our visitors and staff with sensory sensitivities. At San Antonio Zoo, we believe everyone deserves a memorable and enjoyable experience, and we're excited to work with KultureCity to make that a reality."
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions (1 in 6 individuals). One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which can be part of the environment at San Antonio Zoo.
This partnership is an exciting advancement in San Antonio Zoo's dedication to improving accessibility and inclusivity for all visitors. The zoo is working on Phase 1 of a long-term master plan to improve infrastructure, safety, and accessibility. This includes a complete redesign and expansion of the zoo's entrance, which is set to open later this year. Visitors will soon be immersed in the sights, sounds, and rich culture of the beloved city with art created by local artists. Additionally, specific entrances for school groups, better pedestrian and traffic flow, and easier accessibility for those with disabilities are also in the works.
The zoo is repurposing the historic monkey house and surrounding grounds to serve visitors better. This space will be restored to include a plaza, café, stroller rental/sundry counter and accessible restrooms with universal changing rooms.
KultureCity is a leading nonprofit that creates sensory-inclusive environments for individuals with sensory needs. Since its inception, KultureCity has created over 1,000 sensory-inclusive venues across six countries, including events like the NFL Pro-Bowl and MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won several awards, including the 2017 NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. The organization was also named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies for 2019 and 2020 by FastCompany.
"Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that San Antonio 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 zoo to provide a truly inclusive experience for all guests!"
There's always something new to see at the zoo. Become a Member today and enjoy the zoo all year long! Visit https://sazoo.org/memberships/ for more information.
About San Antonio Zoological Society
San Antonio Zoological Society was established in 1929 and is a nonprofit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. The society operates San Antonio Zoo, Will Smith Zoo School, Edutainment, Center for Conservation and Research at San Antonio Zoo, and Kiddie Park.
About San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio Zoo®, operating since 1914, is a nonprofit zoological facility committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo's mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round. San Antonio Zoo operates the largest nature based preschool in the country, Will Smith Zoo School, the Center for Conservation and Research, and Kiddie Park. San Antonio Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, and Humane Certified by American Humane.
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 1,000 sensory-inclusive venues in 6 countries: this includes special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB World Series, and MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts, including the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017 and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, KultureCity was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 and 2020 by FastCompany and recently won the Industry Partner Award in TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Awards 2019.