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Monday, October 18, 2021

Sensory Day returns to Belfast Zoo

Following a successful inaugural event in June 2018, Belfast Zoo’s Sensory Day returns on Saturday 7 September 2019.

This special event allows visitors on the autism spectrum and with other sensory requirements to enjoy a day out at the zoo in a supported environment with tailored activities for the whole family. 

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Visitors can enter the zoo during Quiet Hour from 9am to 10am, allowing them to experience reduced noise and crowds that can often be challenging for children and adults with sensory needs. A fast track queue will be available all day for those unable to join during Quiet Hour.

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Belfast Zoo will be joined by the team from Mini Explorers NI who will provide animal-themed sensory play, baby bonding, sensory stories and activities. Mini Explorers NI trained and professional staff will be available for parents to get advice on therapeutic play and activities. Visitors can also enjoy interactive touch tables, meet the animal sessions, animal feeding times and keeper talks. A pop-up dark den and designated quiet zones will be located around the zoo, providing a calm and relaxing environment away from the main event activities. 

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, said: “Belfast Zoo aims to provide a welcoming and enjoyable day out for everyone. Our Sensory Day event provides a supported environment with tailored activities for visitors, such as those on the autism spectrum, who may otherwise feel overwhelmed visiting the zoo. With a range of sensory activities and animal-focused activity, Sensory Day will not only provide a memorable day out for the whole family but also create an engaging learning experience for visitors.”

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Alyn continued: “The zoo’s first Sensory Day in 2018 received such positive feedback and we are delighted to now offer this as an annual event. We continue to work hard to ensure the zoo is more accessible to all visitors. Alongside our annual Sensory Day event, Belfast Zoo also offers regular Quiet Hours, free admission for carers, a SignVideo service for visitors with hearing requirements, free audio tours, a wheelchair-accessible transport service and a downloadable visual guide to assist with planning a visit to the zoo.”

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