This Social Narrative is intended to help with your visit to the Blank Park Zoo. We have it in a sequence that starts in the Discovery Center and moves throughout the zoo. This narrative touches on some of the main attractions, but remember there are many animals along the route to stop and see! Please use this as you see fit, as a schedule or pick and choose the sections to highlight. If you would like one of our sensory bags, they can be checked out at admissions by leaving your photo ID. Also, ask for the program schedule to see what is happening in the zoo the day of your visit. Maps can also be found at admissions or by asking a staff member. Maps are marked with our Quiet and Headphone Areas. Thank you for visiting us today!
Knowing what to expect will help me stay calm and have an enjoyable day at the Zoo! The Zoo staff is happy that I will be visiting today and will be around if I have any questions or concerns.
I will follow the rules of the zoo, these rules will keep me and the animals safe. I will always stay on the pathway when walking around the zoo. I will keep my feet on the ground when watching the animals. The wooden fences and barriers are there to keep me safe and are not for climbing. I will keep my belongings out of the animals’ enclosure. I will keep my snack to myself. The animals have their own special food from the zookeepers. I will have a quiet voice so all of the animals feel safe.
I can go to a Quiet Area when I need to rest in a peaceful area. I can find quiet areas marked with signs around the zoo and on the zoo map. If I have headphones, I can put them on in louder parts of the zoo. I can find headphone areas marked with signs around the zoo and on the zoo map.
I will stay close to my group while I am in the Zoo. If I get lost from my group or need help, I will stay calm and ask a staff member for help.
When I get to the zoo, I will wait in line with my group/family to buy tickets before we can go inside. As I wait I might see the big snow leopard statue. Once we have paid for our tickets we can head into the Discovery Center and start to see animals and enjoy the zoo.
I’m inside, I will get to see the animals. I may not be able to see all of the animals. Some animals may be inside. Just like we need breaks, animals need them too! If I don’t see an animal in their habitat I will know they are probably resting. Animals like peacocks are free roaming. This means they might not be in their enclosure. I might see them walking on the path next to me. I will keep my hands to myself and look with my eyes.
When I enter the Discovery Center I will learn about and see many animals. When I first walk in it will be nighttime in the “mountains” I will hear wind and a stream. After the mountains I will walk through the caves. Once I get to the rainforest I will see more light. I might hear a waterfall, chirping birds, and maybe a thunderstorm in our rainforest. When walking through the rainforest, I will always stay on the pathway. It is important because I might see birds walking on the path or flying from tree to tree.
When I enter Australia I will stay on the pathway as this is the wallabies’ home! They wander around so it is important to watch them from the path so they feel safe. In Australia I may get to feed the parakeets or build a boomerang (paid, seasonal activities). This area may be closed to walk through traffic during the colder months. Guests can look at the area from the viewing deck during this time.
I may get to feed the parakeets. I will need to pay for the parakeet food. I may need to wait in line to pay. I will be kind to the parakeets and only feed them the correct food. I will follow directions to keep the parakeets and me safe by holding the food stick very still and the parakeets will come to me. I will wash my hands after I have fed the parakeets.
I may get to ride the train. I know the train has to be closed sometimes when it is getting fixed or if it is raining outside. I will need to pay for a ticket to ride the train. I may need to wait in line to pay. I will wait for my turn to ride the train. I will keep my hands and feet inside the train at all times. The train goes through a dark tunnel, but it is very quick. If I lose something during the ride, I will let zoo staff know so they can find it.
I may get to have my face painted. I will need to pay for my face to be painted. I may need to stand in line and wait my turn. I will have to sit still while they paint my face. When my face is done being painted I will get to see it in the mirror.
When I enter Kids Kingdom it can be busy. I need to stay with my group. In Kids Kingdom I might be able to do some activities. Some activities may be closed due to the season.
I may get to feed the goats and the llamas
I will need to pay for the food. I will be kind to the goats and llamas and only feed them the correct food. I will follow directions to keep the animals and me safe. It is okay for me to pet the goats and llamas. When I feed them I will lay my hand flat for them to eat the food off of my hand. It might feel funny. I will wash my hands after I have fed the goats or llamas.
I may get to feed the fish
I will need to pay for the fish food. I understand I will be near the water. I will follow direction to keep the fish and me safe by keeping my body and belongings on the deck. I will be kind to the fish. I will wash my hands after I feed the fish.
I may get to pan for gemstones and/or fossils
I will need to pay for the gemstones and/or fossils. I will pan for my gemstones in the panning river. I will be kind to other guests using the same space. I will get to keep the gemstones and fossils that I find. I will wash my hands afterwards.
I may get to play on the playground
I will be respectful of the other zoo guests that are playing. I will be sure to always know where my family or group is so I don’t get lost. I will leave when it is time so I can see all the animals at the zoo.
I may get to ride a camel
I will need to pay for the camel ride. I will need to wait my turn to ride. I will ride the camel once around the circle. I will sit on the saddle and keep my body calm to help the camels feel safe. I will wash my hands after I ride the camel.
I may be able to go through the tunnel to get a closer look at the prairie dogs. I will go in the entrance and crawl through the tunnel. I will have a quiet voice and safe hands when I am in the glass dome so the prairie dogs feel safe. I will crawl out of the tunnel to go back to my family or group.
I may be able to view the lions from a few different places. I can enter the indoor lion viewing area to see the lions. I will notice the indoor area is sometimes busy and noisy. I can play with the interactive signs in this area to hear the sound of a lion’s roar. I will have a quiet voice and safe hands so the lions feel safe.
I may be able to view the seals and sea lions from a few different places. I can take the climb the wooden stairs or follow the concrete ramp to see them from up high. I can follow the concrete steps down to see them underwater. I will notice the underwater viewing area is sometimes busy and noisy. I can play with the sound interactives in this area to hear the sounds of different seals and sea lions. I will have a quiet voice and safe hands so the seals and sea lions feel safe.
I may be able to view the tigers from a few different places. I will notice a Jeep I can play in when I enter the indoor tiger viewing area. I will be respectful to other zoo guests and take my turn on the Jeep. I will have a quiet voice and safe hands so the tiger feels safe.
I may get to play in the nature play and butterfly garden area. I will see a large caterpillar and butterfly statues. I will be respectful of other zoo guests that are also playing here. I will take turns with the tools and building materials. I will remember to leave the tools and building materials when it is time to leave.
I will notice this area gets loud and busy sometimes. I may be able to get a snack here. If not, I will find there are other snack options throughout the zoo. I can use the air conditioned restrooms here. If not, I will find there are other opportunities for a bathroom break throughout the zoo.
When I enter Africa, I will see many different kinds of animals from the boardwalk. I will remember to use my walking feet, quiet voice, and safe hands so the animals feel safe.
I may get to feed a giraffe. I will need to pay for the giraffe food. I may need to wait in line to pay. I will wait for my turn to feed the giraffe. I will be kind to the giraffes and only feed them correct food. I will follow directions to keep the giraffe and me safe by holding out the food for the giraffe to grab with their tongue. I will remember to keep my hands safe and to myself. I will wash my hands after I am done feeding the giraffe.
I will notice the sound of drums when I am in Africa. The drums can be loud at times. I may be able to play the drums myself. I will wait for my turn to play the drums. I will be respectful to other zoo guests that are using the drums.
I may be able to view the macaques (snow monkeys) from a few different places. I will notice there is a cave I can enter to get a closer look at the monkeys. I will be respectful to other zoo guests that might also be in the cave. I will have a quiet voice and safe hands so the monkeys feel safe.
I may be able to play in the sculpture garden. I can climb on the sculptures. I will be able to take a break here. It is usually quiet and peaceful.
I may get to ride the carousel. I will need to wait in line to pay for my ride. I will find an animal to sit on and buckle my belt before the ride begins. If my animals is taken I can choose to find another animal or wait for the next ride.
I may get to see small animals up close in the Critter Corner area. I will use a quiet voice and safe hands so the animals feel safe.
I may get to go into the gift shop. I will notice it is busy and loud in here sometimes. I will be respectful to the staff by keeping the gift shop neat and tidy. I might just look around the gift shop and not buy anything. If I decide to buy something, I may need to wait in line to pay.
I had a great day at the Blank Park Zoo and can’t wait to come back and visit the animals!