This past weekend, I took Arizona to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Theme parks have typically been challenging outings. Arizona tends to get over-stimulated by so many sights and sounds. This can cause her to “tune out” and become dysregulated. In the past, it has also been difficult for her to stand still (and therefore, impossible to wait in long lines).
Because she hasn’t been anywhere in awhile, I was looking forward to seeing her growth and progress in getting through a day at the park. As usual, when there’s a new plan on the horizon, we talk about it a lot before the big day. I pulled up the Safari Park website so Arizona could look at all of the different exhibits and options we could choose from. The website also had videos of various safaris that we viewed together. Arizona was interested and excited to visit (that and she was promised ONE toy from the gift shop at the end of the day).
Over all, we had a calm and uneventful day. Arizona exhibited a few signs of dysregulation and anxiety, but she was able to express her feelings at each stage of the day.
My observations and commentary on the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, from a special needs perspective :
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you prepare your special needs child for a theme park visit. Are there any calming routines that you have in place when things get overwhelming? Is there specific information you’d like to receive from theme parks ahead of time that would enhance your visit?