KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Zoo made history Friday, and it had nothing to do with an animal. The zoo and its partners cut the ribbon on a brand new, all-inclusive play area, making it the first zoo in the United States to have a playground designed for children of all abilities.
Variety KC, an organization that advocates for inclusiveness of special needs children, partnered with the zoo to build the play area after a mother and her daughter with cerebral palsy first brought up the idea.
Friday morning, Royals pitcher Danny Duffy and Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins helped cut the ribbon to officially open the playground.
The executive director of Variety KC, Deborah Wiebrecht, called the event a dream come true. She highlighted how children form friendships on the playground and having a play area geared toward children with all needs creates more opportunities for friendships.
The all-inclusive playground is built on a flat, mulch-free surface making it wheelchair accessible. It also has a zip line and “elephant swing.” It is located in the Africa section of the zoo.
At the ribbon cutting, Royals Charities announced it made a $50,000 donation to the zoo to buy two large-scale golf carts retrofitted to accommodate wheelchairs. This will allow families with disabled children to get around the zoo more easily.