Youth interns look to amp up the experience at the zoo for every guest

By Lindsay Sax, July 22, 2016

The crowd at the ADA Celebration in the Gary Clark Education Center atthe Zoo is shown

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- A group of high school students are making sure everyone is able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Topeka Zoo.

The George Wolf Youth Interns have been learning about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how the zoo can improve the experience for those with disabilities.

“I didn’t even notice until they taught us,” said intern Tabatha Vallee. “People with wheelchairs can’t up here to see this because the rocks right here is blocking the path.”

Vallee along with the other nine interns presented their final accessibility survey at the zoo. According to Vallee, the zoo has work to do.

“I think that on a scale of one to ten, it’s probably a half and half, so five,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed.”

The groups' presentation came at the same time that Topeka Independent Living Resource Center is celebrating the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law.

Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says the interns were fabulous to work with and it was a great experience that will help to make the zoo a more inclusive venue in the community.

"They presented us with a lot of items that are either not compliant with the ADA or could be done better," he said. "With each item, they presented us with typically more than one option to correct it and in most cases we don't have to buy something to make a fix."

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