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Sensory storytelling sessions,  ‘Singing Hands’ and animal talks accompanied by British Sign Language interpreters were just some of the amazing extras on offer at this weekend’s (Sat 18 June) Special Children’s Day at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Back for its third year, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Special Children’s Day gave children with special educational needs and disabilities an opportunity to experience the wonders of the animal world with their families. 

7The sell-out event caters specifically for children with additional needs, along with their families and friends and the day featured a packed schedule of extra activities, including Animal LIVE! talks accompanied by British Sign Language interpreters and Sensory Storytelling sessions in which children discovered immersive and interactive stories about the natural world.

Families got hands-on at The Discovery Zone and enjoyed performances by Singing Hands, who use Makaton to engage all ages in their animal-themed stories, rhymes, games and songs.

At the Wildlife Gardening station, children planted seeds to take home with them to grow, and built mini-beast hotels to attract wildlife into their gardens. Visitors got creative with family art activities while others simply relaxed in the Chill Out Room. There were also a number of charities on hand to offer guidance, advice and networking opportunities for families.

5Hannah Pritchard, ZSL’s Discovery & Learning Inclusion Officer said: “We love running Special Children’s Day at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, which provides lots of different ways for children to engage with our exhibits, animals and talks. It was great to see so many children enjoying all the different activities, and families told us they appreciated an opportunity to spend quality time together in an accessible, inclusive environment. We can’t wait until next year to do it all over again!”

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