For Guests Who Have Sensory Processing Needs

The Zoo is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our guests, including those with sensory needs. 

  • The Saint Louis Zoo has earned Sensory Inclusive™ certification through a partnership with KultureCity, a nationally recognized nonprofit that provides sensory inclusion training and tools to venues and large-scale events.

  • Our team members receive ongoing training on how to recognize and assist guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation.

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue like the Zoo.

With our certification, the Zoo is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when visiting.

Your Zoo Visit

Sensory Bag

The Zoo is pleased to offer sensory backpacks for individuals with sensory processing challenges. These backpacks include noise canceling headphones, weighted lap pads, fidgets and more. They are free to use and are available for check out at the welcome desks found at the North entrance and South entrance of the Zoo.  


Signage is placed throughout the Zoo indicating areas where there may be sensory challenges, such as noise, temperature, smells or sounds, as well as quiet spaces for relaxing.

In addition, guests may connect with any Zoo team member for assistance.

Quiet Areas

Quiet areas typically have less activity and spaces to sit and regroup after becoming overstimulated.

  • Bird Garden
  • First Aid Station
  • Grassy area between Sea Lion Sound and Big Cat Country
  • Missouri Meadow
  • Red Rocks
  • Stingrays at Caribbean Cove — sitting area and deck 

Headphone Zones

We have identified noisier spaces as Headphone Zones:

  • Antelope House
  • Bird House
  • Conservation Carousel
  • 4D Theater
  • Herpetarium
  • Jungle of the Apes
  • Penguin & Puffin Coast building
  • Primate House
  • Sea Lion Show
  • Stingray at Caribbean Cove
  • Zooline Railroad stations 

Smell Zone

Some areas of the Zoo can have intense smell, which is normal for some animal habitats:

  • Jungle of the Apes
  • Penguin & Puffin Coast
  • Primate House

Cold Zone

Some animal habitats are kept very cold to keep the animals comfortable:

  • Penguin & Puffin Coast

Click map to view larger and download

Sensory-inclusive Zoo map

Social Story

The social story for the Zoo provides a preview of what to expect while visiting. Click the images below to see the slideshow and story.

KultureCity All-Inclusive App

Download the KultureCity app to get your social story to help you further with your visit to the Saint Louis Zoo.