Belfast zoo is one of the top attractions in Northern Ireland when it comes to days out for the family. But the vast array of sights, sounds and smells can be overwhelming, particularly for people with autism.
That is why the zoo has decided to opened its gates an hour earlier for ‘quiet hour’, which is aimed at making the zoo more user-friendly for those with autism.
Starting on Sunday July 9, the zoo will open at 9am, an hour before it opens to the general public, and there will be a limited number of 150 tickets available.
Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, explained: “Our new quiet hours allow families to explore the sights and sounds of the zoo in a calm and relaxed atmosphere, without the typical noise and crowds that can be challenging for children and adults with sensory needs.
“The zoo is not only a vital educational resource for children but it is also a fun day out with the opportunity to create memories as a family, that will last a lifetime.
“We are delighted to be playing an active role in making inclusivity the norm in Northern Ireland and to make the zoo a welcoming day out for everyone.
“We realise that there is a huge demand for family-focused attractions to create a supportive and enjoyable experience for visitors with sensory needs.
“We want to open the zoo up to a range of people.