The annual Northeast Ohio Parent Choice Awards seeks to gather the opinions of local parents on everything family-friendly in the region. Our readers and online followers voted for their favorite businesses, attractions, family services and more.
Here are the winner and finalists in the “best sensory-friendly outing (special needs)” category.
Click here to view winners and finalists in all 30 categories.
Winner: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a 183-acre zoo and features 3,000 animal residents representing more than 600 different species. It has partnered with KultureCity and and received an official certification from the organization to promote an accommodating and positive experience for guests with sensory issues. It offers six quiet zones across the zoo with signage where guests can get away from loud noises. Also, sensory bags available containing optional identification cards, fidget tools and noise reducing headphones. In addition to the quiet zones, the zoo’s accessibility map indicates “headphone zones” where loud noises are present.
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland
There are seven exhibits to explore at the zoo. It has partnered with KultureCity to assist and accommodate guests with sensory processing needs. It also provides sensory bags, quiet zones, weighted lap pads, trained staff to help and more. The zoo provides events such as the “Zoothing Hour” which opens an hour early for guests with different abilities who do not like loud noises and/or crowds.
500 Edgewood Ave., Akron
Preston’s H.O.P.E., a playground for children of all levels of abilities and disabilities, provides children with the opportunities to explore, play, and learn. This extensive playground includes Imagination Village, with make-believe houses connected by a raised walkway, Play Theatre, a Sand Area, and a traditional playground area with swings, tunnels and slides that are appropriate for children from preschool through school age.
26001 S. Woodland Rd., Beachwood