DENVER — The Denver Zoo is making its annual Zoo Lights event more accessible to those with sensory processing disorders (SPD) with a low-sensory night on New Year's Eve.
For many with SPD, large crowds, flashing lights and loud music can be overwhelming. For the special event on Friday, Dec. 31, the zoo will have several accommodations to make Zoo Lights more SPD-friendly:
- Attendance will be capped at a much lower number to preserve personal space.
- Quiet rooms will be available throughout the zoo to provide a respite from stimulation.
- Strobing, flashing and blinking effects will be dramatically reduced.
- Free sensory kits will be available for checkout on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The volume will be lowered on the zoo's Conservation Carousel.
- The zoo will ensure that guests know what to expect, and what to avoid, if need be, in areas where stimuli can't be reduced.
> The video above is about the 2019 Zoo Lights low-sensory night.
The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31.
Tickets are available only online and cost $15 for ages 12-64, $13 for 65 and up and $10 for ages 3-11. The event is free for children 2 and under, who still require a free ticket booked online.
Guests are encouraged to buy tickets immediately. The event is expected to sell out.
“Providing a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone in the community is our top priority,” said Bert Vescolani, Denver Zoo president and CEO, in a statement. “We recognize that many of the holiday celebrations around town aren’t accessible or joyful for those with SPD, and we’re proud to tailor our traditional Zoo Lights experience to make it more inclusive of the neurodiverse.”
The event was created in collaboration with partners with SPD expertise, according to the zoo.
Regular Zoo Lights tickets are sold out through Jan. 2, and the zoo has added additional dates on Jan. 6 through Jan. 8.
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