This summer Woodland Park Zoo is kicking off a new program to promote inclusion of all populations in zoo programs. Its first “Zoo for All” event is Thursday, July 5, and will honor those with special needs and inclusion communities.
Among the features of Zoo for All are additional accessible parking spaces, a new zoo map to help identify quieter and less heavily trafficked locations, and a reconfiguration of Zoomazium’s nature play space to make it suitable for children with autism and other sensory disorders. In addition, families will be encouraged to join in a community bring-your-own lunch celebration on the zoo’s North Meadow. Because Zoo for All falls during the zoo’s new Evening Zoo event, the zoo will be open past normal closing hours until 8:30 p.m.
Zoo for All coincides with the potential opening of the long-awaited Seattle Sensory Garden, an addition to the zoo’s Rose Garden designed for those with and without disabilities to enjoy. The new garden includes a variety of elements for guests to touch and explore at their leisure, including deep-toned wind chimes, temple bells, and guiros—rectangular wooden posts with slots that create noise when touched. There is also an accessible paved pathway, special sensory-friendly carpeting, and raised beds to make for easier interaction with the variety of trees, shrubs and bulbs planted throughout the garden.
Free passes to the zoo have been provided for select partners to remove economic barriers for attendance, and Special Olympics athletes and coaches are eligible for half-price zoo admission. In addition, the zoo has a limited number of free zoo passes for individuals and families with economic barriers. To request a pass, contact Rubai Aurora at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.548.2432.
The next “Zoo for All” on Aug. 1 will honor veterans and active military.