Audubon Aquarium welcomed more than 450 special guests for autism awareness event
Guests who have autism and their families were invited for a complimentary visit to Audubon Aquarium Sunday morning. The iconic scale fountain inside the Aquarium lobby was dyed blue to support Autism Awareness month as 467 visitors explored the underwater wonders of the Gulf of Mexico and Great Maya Reef.
"The Aquarium can sometimes be overwhelming for those with special needs," said Rich Toth, Managing Director of Audubon Aquarium. "We turned all sound levels down and dimmed house lights to allow for a more tranquil setting. We also provided a quiet room and areas where families could have personal, up-close encounters with our ambassador animals."
Special sensory education stations were available throughout the building and the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans offered resources for families. Attendees received an autism awareness bracelet and discounts to the gift shop, photo booth and food court.
Aquarium visitor Michele Allen added, "It's very important for my son to be exposed to different experiences and this definitely gave him the opportunity to experience the Aquarium at a pace where he can enjoy himself."
This is the third year Audubon Aquarium has organized Autism Awareness Day.
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Special Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute