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Central Florida Zoo to debut early access hours for those with sensory needs

Monday, April 17, 2023

Central Florida Zoo to debut early access hours for those with sensory needs

The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is throwing a Party for the Planet this Earth Day—and it’s going to be more accessible than ever.

The Zoo will host a special conservation day—the Party for the Planet—in celebration of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, which will include interactive activities, special enrichment for the animals and more.

To make sure all can celebrate, the Zoo will also open one hour early for guests and families with sensory needs. Guests who have sensory needs can enter at 8 a.m., and from 8 to 9 a.m., the Zoo will have special operations to accommodate them. The Zoo will open to the public at 9 a.m., and the Party for the Planet will continue until 3 p.m.

“Our goal at the Central Florida Zoo is truly to be a place for all people and all communities to feel welcome so we can share our conservation mission with them,” said Richard E. Glover, Jr., the Zoo’s CEO. “That’s exactly what we’ll be able to do at the Party for the Planet, and we’re thrilled to introduce this effort.”

Sensory considerations the Zoo is taking include the limited attendance for quieter crowds; sensory bags available with noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools and more; and a dedicated classroom for safe space to take a break if needed.

During the entire Party for the Planet event, guests will be able to celebrate the planet’s amazing and diverse wildlife. The Party for the Planet is largest combined Earth Day celebration in North America. For the Zoo’s part, there will be a scavenger hunt, games, crafts and more to inspire visitors to take action to care for the planet and its animals.

Keepers will also be sharing special talks at regular times throughout the day, so people can learn more and get an up-close look at animals.

All of the activities are included in Zoo admission.

The Zoo plans to continue with early access hours for people with sensory considerations at select future events, Glover said.

For more information about the Party for the Planet, click here. To purchase Zoo tickets, click here.

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