Mississippi zoo offers sensory days for individuals needing calmer atmosphere

Published 10:35 am Sunday, February 12, 2023

Children and adults will have four chances to enjoy a Mississippi zoo in a calmer atmosphere than normal.

The Hattiesburg Zoo has selected four dates in 2023 to host Sensory Day. The first date is today with other dates set for Sunday, April 2; Sunday, August 6; and Sunday, December 10.

Sensory Days at the Hattiesburg Zoo are focused on individuals with sensory needs.

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The Hattiesburg Zoo staff has been trained by leading professionals to recognize guests with sensory needs, and know how to handle any sensory overload situations that may occur. Sensory bags, available in the Zoo office, are equipped with noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads designed to help both children and adults and can help lessen sensory overload and help engage and redirect individuals.

On a regular day, the Zoo is a bustling attraction, filled with plenty of sounds and movement that could possibly trigger an adverse reaction in someone with sensory sensitivities. On every Sensory Day, the zoo will have all music turned off, quiet train rides (train not operational on February 12 due to previous storm damage), sensory stations, and calm animal encounters throughout the day. This event will take place during regular zoo hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Zoo staff is prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities, and all guests will be welcomed with comfort and accommodation. The Hattiesburg Zoo was the first attraction/destination in Mississippi to be certified by KultureCity as a sensory inclusive location.

Regular zoo admission rates apply, and there is no additional charge for Sensory Day. Annual passes will be honored for every Sensory Day.

Zoo admission is $6 for children ages six to 12, $8 for ages 13 to 64, $7 for adults 65 or over, and free for children under age two.

For more information, visit the Zoo’s website at https://hattiesburgzoo.com/.