Lehigh Valley Zoo
August 5, 2022
(Schnecksville, PA) – Lehigh Valley Zoo is proud to announce a partnership with KultureCity to make the Zoo, and all its programs and events, sensory inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue that visit LV Zoo.
The certification process entailed the LV Zoo staff being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags filled with noise-canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to zoo guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment.
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions (one in six individuals). One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue like LV Zoo. With its new certification, LV Zoo is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when visiting LV Zoo.
Prior to visiting LV Zoo, guests can download the free KultureCity App, which allows anyone to view what sensory features are available and where they can be accessed. Also, on the App is the feature “Social Story,” which provides a preview of what to expect when visiting LV Zoo.
“Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that LV 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, KultureCity. “We’re honored to partner with LV Zoo to provide a truly inclusive experience for all guests!”
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 1,000sensory-inclusive venues in 6countries: 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 2019and 2020by FastCompany and recently won the Industry Partner Award in TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Awards 2019.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but as a treasured community landmark, the Zoo’s history spans over a century. Founded in 1906 by General Harry C. Trexler, a local industrialist, the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve has educated and entertained more than five million people.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. With a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook @LVZOO.