Birmingham Zoo
  • Today's Regular Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Guests with Sensory Sensitivities

Guests with Sensory Sensitivities

The Birmingham Zoo has partnered with KultureCity to develop the Sensory Inclusive Zoo Initiative to improve our capacity to serve guests with sensory processing needs.

As a result, the Zoo has been designated a “sensory inclusive facility.”  The goals of this initiative are to:

  • Raise Awareness of challenges facing people with sensory processing needs among Zoo staff and throughout the community

  • Increase accessibility throughout the Zoo grounds for guests with sensory processing needs

  • Promote inclusive experiences for guests with sensory processing needs


Weighted Lap Pads

At attractions which may require guests to remain seated for an extended time, the Zoo offers weighted lap pads to assist individuals with sensory sensitivities. These lap pads are available upon request at the following locations:

  • Train Station

  • First Aid in the Plaza


Sensory Bags

Sensory Bags containing noise canceling headphones, fidget tools and other resources are available for checkout with a held photo ID in the Zoo Membership Office.


Quiet Zones

The Zoo has designated Quiet Zones throughout the Zoo grounds.  These areas typically have less activity and spaces to sit and regroup after becoming overstimulated.  Quiet Zones are in the following locations:

  • Bird Aviary and Kori Country

  • Primates/South America Building Nursing Rooms

  • Rear Rhinoceros Habitat

  • Trails of Africa near Zebra Habitat

  • Alabama Wilds


Headphone Zones

We have identified noisier spaces as Headphone Zones.

These areas include:

  • Reptile Building

  • Primate/South America Building

  • Predator Building

  • Nourish 205 and Wild Burger Cafes

  • Train Station

  • Main Entrance Restrooms


Sensory Room

The Sensory Room, located near the restrooms at the main entrance, is designed to provide a safe, calming, sensory-supportive environment to facilitate self-regulation for guests who are feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated.


Zoo Map

The Zoo Map identifies Quiet Zones, Headphone Zones, Sensory Room, family restrooms and areas where weighted lap pads are available for your convenience.

To view the Zoo Map, please click image or click here.



Social Story

Click here or click image for the social story to assist with your Zoo visit.

Staff Training

The most powerful aspect of the Sensory Inclusive Zoo Initiative is the continued staff training.  All Zoo staff participate in training sessions designed to raise their awareness of sensory processing needs, inform them about the services provided through the Sensory Inclusive Zoo Initiative and discuss strategies that they can implement in their daily work to help the Birmingham Zoo reach its goal to be Sensory Inclusive.