Have a Sensory-Friendly Holiday at the Cincinnati Zoo!

(Cincinnati, OH) – This year, the Cincinnati Zoo is offering sensory-friendly Santa visits for children with sensory sensitivities.

If you are the caregiver of a child with sensory sensitivities, a scheduled Santa visit may be the perfect solution. This year, during the PNC Festival of Lights, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Macy’s, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital are partnering to offer sensory-friendly Santa visits. Come see Santa before the lights turn on and the crowds show up!

Visitors with sensory sensitivities and/or developmental disabilities can reserve 10-minute meet & greets with Santa. Santa recently received training on developmental disabilities from Dr. Jen Smith of the Children’s Hospital Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) program. “We’ve worked closely with our partners at LEND to create an experience with fewer distractions, less noise, and customized interactions with Santa,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s Access for All manager Annie DeGrood. “The confirmation email families receive when they book their experience includes our Sensory-Friendly Santa Social Narrative, which provides a detailed description of what to expect, and a map showing directions to Santa’s Village.”

Once families have entered the zoo, they will find Santa in the Zoo’s new Picnic Shelter area, which has been transformed into Santa’s Village! Additionally, gingerbread houses, holiday decorations, and a hot chocolate stand will be present. Families have the option to purchase photos taken by the Zoo’s professional photography partner, PPA.   

Sensory-Friendly Santa is at Cincinnati Zoo from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on December  1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, and 17.  Spots are limited. Reserve your spot now

The experience does not include admission; families either need to be members or purchase regular admission tickets For more event information, visit  For more information about the Zoo’s Access for All program, and links to additional social narratives, visit 


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