Elmwood Park Zoo first in world to be designated 'Certified Autism Center'

The zoo has taken steps to be more friendly to anyone with autism.

Jim Melwert
May 13, 2018 - 5:00 am
Elmwood Park Zoo

Brad Segall/KYW Newsradio

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, Montgomery County has been named a “Certified Autism Center,” the first zoo in the country to get such designation.

The Certified Autism Center designation means Elmwood Park Zoo staff has completed training and the zoo has taken steps to be more friendly to anyone with autism.

“Such as sensory morning, where we provide designated quiet time throughout the zoo," said Elmwood Park Zoo’s director of operations Eric Donovan. "We are implementing a quiet zone for our guests with autism.”

Donovan says the zoo set out to become a Certified Autism Center when they heard Sesame Place got the designation, and he hopes more organizations follow suit.

"We have a lot of families that have children with autism that come through the zoo," he said. "We wanted to make sure we were finding new and better ways to help and support in that area.”

It comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, which has worked with the Autism Society of America for years and also is behind autismtravel.com 

Donovan says they realize families with children with special needs have limited entertainment options.
  
“So for us to be able to provide that while they’re here and give them that kind of support was really important to us,” he said.