Jersey Zoo has been awarded for being the first zoo across the UK and Europe to be certified as Sensory Inclusive. The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey will now provide visitors with an accommodating and positive experience for all those with a sensory issue that visit the zoo.
According to a poll by Ipsos MORI, it is estimated that 5% and 16.5% of the general population have symptoms associated with sensory difficulties, however over a third (36%)1of adults have never heard of these sensory difficulties which can lead to many challenges for families on a day-to-day basis, including picking a holiday destination.
KultureCity, a non-profit using resources to effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, has partnered with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to train all staff at Jersey Zoo on how to recognise 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 are now 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.
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.