Date: Saturday 17th June 2017
Venue: Whipsnade Zoo
Special Children’s Day is a unique annual event at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo welcoming children with disabilities and their families. With increased specialist facilities and staffs, as well as special interactive events and discounted entry, Special Children’s Day is a brilliant event not to be missed!
Daytrippers is a proud Partner of Special Children’s Day and since 2008 we have made annual donations contributing to the costs of the events at London and Whipsnade Zoo. In 2018 we are committing further funds to cover the cost of additional mobility aids, BSL interpreters, ZSL staffing, sensory equipment, First Aid and personal care supplies.
Sensory Tours hosted by Daytrippers
This was our first time hosting private sensory tours at Whipsnade Zoo. The tours have always been hugely popular at London Zoo Special Children’s Days, so we were very excited to be bringing them to a new audience. With a focus on touch, the tours aim to provide children with disabilities, especially those with visual impairments, an immersive sensory experience and an inclusive opportunity to explore the zoo.
The experience began with a tour of the stunning Butterfly House, one of the largest butterfly biomes of any UK zoo, featuring over 30 different species from around the world. Whilst surrounded by hundreds of colourful butterflies, the ZSL tour guide taught the children and young people and their families about the humid rainforest environment and the life-cycle of the plants, animals and insects. The tour then proceeded into a private classroom, where everyone got the chance to touch various animal and insect artifacts, such as furs, teeth, and animal skins. The group then came face to face with a real life python, and some of the budding zoologists stroked it’s scaly skin!
“Fantastic hands on sensory experience” said a parent
Highlights at Special Children’s Day
- A Very Special Welcome: Friendly animal-costumed characters were there to meet visiting families and our staff and volunteers were on hand to assist as the day’s fun got underway!
- Singing Hands: Suzanne and Tracy introduced even more zoo-goers to the amazing world of animals through Makaton themed signs, songs, rhymes, stories and games.
- Wildlife Gardening: Many young people planted seeds to take back with them and grow at home.
- LIVE! talks: Our amazing animal talks were be accompanied by a British Sign Language interpreter.
- Art Activities: A number of creative activities were laid on for families who wanted to share their animal related stories from the day.
Daytrippers are very pleased to report that all families surveyed said they would attend the tours again and 71% rated the sensory tour as ‘excellent’.
A huge thanks to our volunteers – Bernie and Jerene and all of the amazing ZSL staff.
We would also like to thank Global’s Make Some Noise for their contribution to this event.
Photographs taken by Keeley Williams and James Matejka