Special Needs

Autism and Other Special Needs

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The Detroit Zoological Society is committed to accommodating individuals with diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, including autism. Our staff has participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan and KultureCity’s certification process. These resources have prepared staff and volunteers at both DZS facilities on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory-overload situation. Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads are available to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Guests can check out the bags at Customer Care and the Park Safety Office. A dedicated sensory room is also available for those who may need a quieter and more secure space.

The Detroit Zoological Society is committed to accommodating individuals with diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, including autism. Our staff has participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan and KultureCity’s certification process. These resources have prepared staff and volunteers at both DZS facilities on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory-overload situation. Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads are available to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Guests can check out the bags at Customer Care and the Park Safety Office. A dedicated sensory room is also available for those who may need a quieter and more secure space.

Detroit Zoo - ADA Logo

Additionally, social narratives about the Detroit Zoo have been developed for guests with special needs to use prior to visiting. This tool provides colorful pictures, easy-to-understand terms and a visual to reference in preparation for a visit. It also provides insight for families as to what might be too sensory-stimulating for some individuals, or how to better prepare the guest for what they might experience. Download the KultureCity App for iOS or Android devices for resources before and during your visit. We have a strong desire to be autism- and special needs-friendly, and hope all families have an enjoyable experience the Zoo!

Additionally, social narratives about the Detroit Zoo have been developed for guests with special needs to use prior to visiting. This tool provides colorful pictures, easy-to-understand terms and a visual to reference in preparation for a visit. It also provides insight for families as to what might be too sensory-stimulating for some individuals, or how to better prepare the guest for what they might experience. Download the KultureCity App for iOS or Android devices for resources before and during your visit. We have a strong desire to be autism- and special needs-friendly, and hope all families have an enjoyable experience the Zoo!


Detroit Zoo and Autism Narrative (PDF)


 

Mobility Hearing Accessibility
Guest Amenities Available for Rent or Deposit Wheechairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (EVC)s are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistive Listening Devices are available in the Ford Education Center Theater for our guests with mild to moderate hearing loss. Electronic-assist doors are located in the Ford Education Center and Arctic Café.
Rental Locations The Chrysler Main Train Station and Africa Train Station are open for rentals April through October. The Guest Relations Office has rentals available during the winter months. All restrooms are equipped with an accessible stall.
Other Rental Information Must be 18 years of age or older to rent ECVs. No reservations accepted. Available on a same-day basis and may only be used inside the Zoo.
Other Rental Information Segways are prohibited at the Detroit Zoo; however, if you have a personal Segway and a physician’s note indicating that the Segway is a prescribed mobility device, you will be offered the use of an ECV or wheelchair free of charge. If you would like to have a sign language, oral or cued speech interpreter, please call 248-541-5717 x3750 at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour, education program, etc. Please be specfic about the type of interpreter, e.g., ASL or signed English.
Safety in the Zoo Mobility scooters/EVCs: Please keep your speed to the walking speed of those around you.
Safety in the Zoo Adjust and lower speed while maneuvering through enclosed spaces such as restrooms, merchandise and food and beverage locations.
Safety in the Zoo Park your device in safe locations clear from walkways and stairs.
Safety in the Zoo In the event of an evacuation, guests may be required to walk certain distances and navigate stairs or narrow walkways. In this case, please have a member of your party assist you or wait in a vehicle for assistance.
Safety in the Zoo Some attractions require guests to transfer from their wheelchairs or ECVs to the attraction. Zoo staff are not permitted to physically assist guests in the transfer.

 

Mobility

  • Wheelchairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (EVC)s are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The Chrysler Main Train Station and Africa Train Station are open for rentals April through October. The Guest Relations Office has rentals available during the winter months.Must be 18 years of age or older to rent ECVs. No reservations accepted. Available on a same-day basis and may only be used inside the Zoo.
  • Segways are prohibited at the Detroit Zoo; however, if you have a personal Segway and a physician’s note indicating that the Segway is a prescribed mobility device, you will be offered the use of an ECV or wheelchair free of charge.
  • Mobility scooters/EVCs: Please keep your speed to the walking speed of those around you.
  • Adjust and lower speed while maneuvering through enclosed spaces such as restrooms, merchandise and food and beverage locations.

Hearing

  • Assistive Listening Devices are available in the Ford Education Center Theater for our guests with mild to moderate hearing loss.
  • If you would like to have a sign language, oral or cued speech interpreter, please call 248-541-5717 x3750 at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour, education program, etc. Please be specific about the type of interpreter, e.g., ASL or signed English.

Accessibility

  • Electronic-assist doors are located in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, Ford Education Center and Arctic Café.
  • All restrooms are equipped with an accessible stall.