Jersey Zoo becomes the first zoo in the UK and Europe to be Certified Sensory Inclusive

Publish date: 28 Apr 2022

KultureCity has partnered with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to make Jersey Zoo and all of the events that the venue hosts to be sensory inclusive. The zoo is the first in Europe and the UK to achieve this certification. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue that visit the zoo.

The certification process entailed the staff at Jersey Zoo being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognise those guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise-cancelling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads will also be available to all guests at the zoo 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 over stimulation and noise, which can be a big part of the environment in a venue like Jersey Zoo. With its new certification, the zoo is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when visiting the zoo.

Graeme Dick, Director of Zoo Operations, says, “Here at Jersey Zoo, we are really excited to be launching this brand-new initiative for some of our guests. At the zoo our aim is to not only care for our animals and save species from extinction, but to connect people with nature, and that’s really important for us at all levels in our community. There are some people who do not wish to visit the zoo because they may not feel it’s a safe space or they may have difficulties connecting with our mission and the work that we do, so having KultureCity here allows our guests with sensory differences to have an additional comfort blanket and make Jersey Zoo a really safe and secure place for them to visit.”

Prior to their visit, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also, on the App is the Social Story, which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying a visit to Jersey Zoo.

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Kindly supported by The Jersey Community Foundation with funds from the Channel Islands Lottery.