Lincoln Children’s Zoo holds ‘immersive experience’ for sensory-impaired guests
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The Lincoln Children’s Zoo held its annual Sensory Safari on Wednesday to provide guests who are visually or sensory-impaired a way to enjoy the zoo.
John Chapo, president emeritus of the zoo, said the goal is to create an inclusive and engaging experience for guests with sense limitations such as blindness.
“Imagine going through the zoo if you’re visually impaired,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to imagine that.”
There were things for people to smell, touch, hear and even taste.
“So it’s just a great immersive experience for folks who come to the zoo,” he said.
Guests could touch furs and feathers, as well as live animals like snakes and fish. They could also listen to bees and even smell and taste honey from honeycombs.
Chapo said this event goes back decades. He was upset that the zoo couldn’t do it the past couple of years due to the pandemic.
He said it takes a lot of volunteers to put on, since there are usually a few hundred visitors who come from all over the state.
The zoo partnered with several Nebraska groups to put on the event, including the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Monica Macoubrie, a wildlife education specialist with Game and Parks, said this event is important to get kids interested in nature.
“It’s a great partnership between the Lincoln Children’s Zoo and Nebraska Game and Parks,” she said. “But also, it’s a way specifically designed for those students with special needs and getting them interested in science and nature.
Macoubrie said some audiences are hard to reach, so it’s nice to be able to join with other organizations to get more people involved.