Since Zoo Atlanta has so much to offer, it naturally merits frequent articles, in addition to frequent visits.
Special needs children, especially those on the autism spectrum, will benefit from frequent short visits. They will look forward to their favorite attractions and enjoy a new adventure or two during each outing.
Fair warning though, when the weather is particularly fine, the zoo, or at least parts of it, will be packed and parking is at a premium. However, there is usually ample parking up Grant Park's side streets just across from the zoo and you can enter the zoo quickly through one of the many ticket booths by simply flashing your annual pass and driver's license.
On busiest days, the children's playground will likely be packed, but there are several zoo exhibits that are vary sensory friendly and often less crowded.
The Cartoon Network/Boomerang Wild Like Me Exhibit and Pavilion offers an interactive indoor play space designed to place children in a "stimulating hands-on world of a mock film production." The familiar voice of Yogi Bear invites you into the imaginative indoor play space where your children and/or whole family can weigh themselves on a scale, which equates total weight to animals in the zoo. Sensory seeking children can also try their strength against the equivalent weight of an elephant or smaller animal and can actually touch and feel a lion's fur on the wall.
The Aldabra tortoise exhibit includes a greenhouse-type living area and outdoor grass habitat where other animals, including smaller land turtles and even the occasional South African Banded Armadillo come out to play for their enrichment time.
The Children's Zoo features a fenced-in area where children can help brush and curry goats, pigs, sheep and other animals while learning a bit about their care. Of course your sensory child may be far more interested in the outdoor Wash Your Paws station, complete with working hand dryers, than the animals in the Children's Zoo or the zoo's baby kangaroo playing in it's habitat right behind it.
No matter how many times you visit, you can't go wrong, as long as you allow you follow your sensory child's lead in where to go, what to see and how long to stay.
And today's great gift shop find turned out to be a Zoo/Aquarium souvenir coin album specially designed to hold commemorative coins from those great penny machines located in zoos, aquariums and museums around the world. Just don't forget to bring your child’s album on your next visit to any of the aforementioned attractions and be sure you have quarters in your pocket. As one very bright boy on the autism spectrum noted, the album holds up to 42 coins.