The Kansas City Zoo is planning what it says will be the first all-inclusive playground of its kind at any zoo nationwide.
Hoping to set a precedent of inclusion, the zoo partnered with Variety of Greater Kansas City— a non-profit dedicated to providing children with developmental disabilities with adaptive equipment and opportunities for activity and inclusion—to build the nature-focused playground.
The partnership formed when the zoo was planning for a new nature play area and reached out to Variety KC to ensure that its features were inclusive to all children.
“In all features of the new Variety KC Exploration Play area, every consideration has been made for absolute inclusiveness,” Kansas City Zoo said in a press release.
The $250,000 project will feature:
– A zip line that has a companion harness to allow a parent or partner to accompany a child with special needs.
– An “elephant swing” that is accessible for children with special needs and accommodates multiple children simultaneously to encourage interaction.
– A low-sensory-quiet-zone area.
– A special solid surface, not mulched, to allow those using a wheelchair or gait walker to access the entire exhibit.
“The new Variety KC Exploration Play will help ensure that all of our guests, including those with disabilities, have a positive experience. We want every family that visits to be able to make wonderful memories together at the Zoo,” said Randy Wisthoff, executive director and CEO of the Kansas City Zoo.
The playground is scheduled to open in May of 2018.