Open Daily
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Child meeting box turtle
Exceptional Nature Space

Brevard Zoo's Mission

"Wildlife Conservation Through Education and Participation"


In May 2017, we opened a new kind of natural play area designed to meet the unique needs of children with varying exceptionalities and their families. The Exceptional Nature Space (ENS) is a modified natural habitat that is both safe and stimulating. It is designed to be flexible so that it can be easily reset and reprogrammed to best serve children with different challenges. Within this carefully defined space, kids are free to explore an authentic Florida habitat, engage in open-ended nature play, experiment, socialize with other children and learn by doing. Because this is one of the first settings of its kind, we consider it a “living laboratory” where we can also learn how to best serve this audience through ongoing observations and feedback from the parents and the children themselves. Contact exceptional needs coordinator Lindsay Mathisen at lmathisen@brevardzoo.org for more information about program offerings for individuals, groups or school groups.

  • Girl playing in Exceptional Nature Space

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Play time in our space!

  • Boy looking through telescope.

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Open Free Play

    Kid playing with telescope in Exceptional Nature Space

  • Friends playing in Exceptional Nature Space

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Exploring with friends!

    Friends playing in Exceptional Nature Space

  • Educator introducing children to a turtle

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Education Program and Animal Experience!

    Children meeting an animal in Exceptional Nature Space

  • Walkway into Exceptional Nature Space

    Exceptiontal Nature Space

    Walkway into Exceptional Nature Space

  • Sensory board play area

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Sensory board play area. Come Grow With Us!

  • Child meeting box turtle

    Exceptional Nature Program

    Child meeting box turtle in Exceptional Nature Space

  • Gate outside of Exceptional Nature Space

    Exceptiontal Nature Space

    Gate outside of Exceptional Nature Space

  • Bamboo wind chime play area

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Bamboo wind chime play area

  • Wooded play area

    Exceptinal Nature Space

    Play time in our space!

  • Young girl petting a reptile

    Exceptinal Nature Program

    Girl meeting animal in Exceptional Nature Space

  • Young boy making silly faces in play area

    Exceptional Nature Space

    Young boy sticks his tongue out from behind bamboo in play area

  • Boy playing in sand

    Boy Playing

    Young boy smiles while playing in a sandbox


PLAYTIME

Come discover, build and play with us! Playtime is an opportunity for children and their families to explore the ENS during an open play or themed session. Stay for a short visit or for the entire time!

Natural Dyes
April 7
9:30 to 11 AM

Special Days
May 18
10 AM to 12 PM

All Playtime program participants must pre-register by emailing lmathisen@brevardzoo.org. Quiet entrance is available on the hour upon request. There is no cost to participate in this program; Zoo admission is not included and not required. Dates subject to change.

Do you belong to a play group or organization and are looking for a great play space for your next outing? Dates are booking fast! Contact Lindsay at lmathisen@brevardzoo.org to schedule your next playtime in our Exceptional Nature Space!


SENSORY EVENTS

Families of individuals with unique sensory processing needs are welcome to attend sensory-friendly events during the year! Pre-registration is required.

Sensory Sculpture Safari
May 4th
8:30 – 9:30 AM

Sensory Artic Tuesday
July 16th
9 – 10 AM

Sensory Boo at the Zoo
October 5th
5 – 7 PM

Register HERE


SOCIAL NARRATIVE

Our social story is designed to enhance the Zoo experience for guests with autism spectrum disorders, but may be used by anyone. Please note that some areas of the Zoo are louder on crowded days. A list of helpful hints at the end of the story can help caregivers better prepare for their Zoo visit. If you have any questions about your visit on a particular day, feel free to contact lmathisen@brevardzoo.org. Click HERE to download.

We reserve the right to combine or cancel education programs due  to certain circumstances. If this occurs, participants will be notified.


REFUND POLICY

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