New training with KultureCity creates more inclusive environment for people with sensory sensitivities

Asheboro, N.C. – March 14, 2019 – The North Carolina Zoo has partnered with the non-profit KultureCity as a Certified Sensory Inclusive venue. This new initiative will promote an accommodating experience for all guests with sensory issues.

KultureCity is a worldwide, leading non-profit recognized for using their resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs.

The certification process included training for the Zoo’s staff on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will be available to all guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. There will also be designated ‘Quiet Zones’ welcome to all who need a calm space due to sensory overload.

Sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation may be experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar conditions. With its new certification, the Zoo is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable experience possible while at the Zoo.

Before visiting, families can download the free KultureCity App to see what sensory features are available and where they can access them. There is also a downloadable map of sensory areas available on the Zoo’s website.

“We are very excited to offer this program to enhance our inclusion efforts for all guests,” said the Zoo’s Guest Service Officer Jamie Merchel.

“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend the North Carolina Zoo with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend is truly a heartwarming moment. It’s amazing that the Zoo is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community,” said Executive Director of KultureCity Traci Johnson.

More information is also on the Visit Section of the North Carolina Zoo’s website

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About KultureCity

KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using their 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 200 sensory inclusive venues in 3 countries; this includes special events such as: NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts: NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. Recently, KultureCity was awarded one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 by FastCompany.

About the North Carolina Zoo

At the North Carolina Zoo, we celebrate nature. As the world’s largest natural habitat Zoo, we inspire a lifelong curiosity about animals for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our Zoo each year. Our dedicated team of experts provides exceptional, compassionate care for the more than 1,600 animals and 52,000 plants that call our Park home. We also lead efforts locally and globally to protect wildlife and wild places because we believe nature’s diversity is critical for our collective future. The North Carolina Zoo invites all of our guests to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina and welcomes everyone to join in our mission to protect nature’s diversity. Visit NCZoo.org to begin your life-changing journey.

About the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919- 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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