Greater Cleveland Aquarium opens an hour early exclusively for guests with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and sensory processing differences to provide an opportunity explore nearby lakes and faraway oceans in a comfortable and accepting environment. Not only will there be fewer guests but for that hour the Aquarium team also will limit the use of microphones, soften lighting and reduce noise to ensure a comfortable environment for all participants.
The Aquarium was recently certified sensory inclusive by KultureCity, an internationally recognized organization that promotes an accommodating and positive experience for guests with sensory issues. To achieve certification, the Aquarium’s staff underwent training to recognize guests with sensory needs and handle sensory overload situations. KultureCity sensory bags outfitted with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards are now available to borrow as needed on a first-come, first-served basis. Dedicated areas also have been identified for those who may require a quieter environment.