ThatDopeMomBlog

Where Motherhood & Dopeness Collide

The Great Adventures Of Da Bratt Pack: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens x Kulture City Sensory Inclusive

disclaimer this visit was hosted but all thoughts and opinions are my own




We were recently invited to our local zoo to check out the amazing changes that were being made I must say it's pretty dope. What can be better than a zoo day? A zoo day in Jacksonville Florida! I’m so proud to say that our zoo, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is now certified by kulture city. What exactly does that mean? Well, they have taken the steps to ensure an easier, more comfortable, and all around better experience for children and adults with sensory issues. 



 As a mother of a child with autism who loves to be on the go a simple day out can be extremely stressful and time-consuming. I have to be sure he has all his necessities before we even leave the house. Once we have arrived at our destination I know there are a few things I have to be on the lookout for, extra loud spaces and crowded areas are a trigger. I’m constantly scouting smaller areas we can kind of chill out in when there is a lot of people and he’s overwhelmed. I’m always on the lookout for spots that may be a little loud so I can give him a heads up. Well, now all of that is pretty much taken care of for me thanks to kulture city and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.



FOR THE KULTURE

I will give you a quick rundown of how things go, it’s pretty simple. When you first walk into the zoo just head over to guest services, it’s conveniently located across the train, and ask for a bag! Then you will fill out a quick form to check your bag out and boom just like that you are equipped with everything you need for a fun filled day!

WHAT'S INSIDE THE BAG?

Ok, so you are handed a black drawstring bag with the kulture city logo on it, my oldest daughter loves that logo. Inside there is a KCVIP tag (which is to let staff know there is someone with different abilities in the area), noise-cancellation headphones, 3 sensory toys, and a 2 sided card. There are emotional cues on one side of the card with faces and emotions on it for someone to point out what they needed. Request, like snacks, or a break are on the other side.

One of my favorite things is the sighs they have displayed around the zoo to help your day go smoother. In the busier, noisier area there are easy to identify signs letting you know it may be a good time to pull out your headphone. There are also signs pointing out quiet areas throughout the zoo. This was perfect for those moments when we needed to decompress. When I can tell he’s overstimulated we can find a quieter space to hang for a while. He really enjoyed stepping away from everyone to enjoy a snack while his siblings and dad made their way to check out more animals.



My sons' favorite thing was hands down the sensory toys. The wiggly wooden snake was his go to, he even asked for us to get him one for home. Other sensory toys included a rubber ball and a marble in a mesh bag. I loved that they give you different options.


As a mom to a child with sensory issues, I am beyond grateful for this. Not only did it make the day go by smoother for all of us but my son had the tools to help himself. Independence build self-confidence and that can be hard to grasp when you feel different and helpless. We preach different is dope in our household so thank you Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and kulture city for helping this dope mom make her son feel as dope as I tell him he is!





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