By Roy Kinji, Corporate Sponsorship Manager
The Sacramento Zoo strives to be a place for all families to enjoy and learn about animals and conservation. So last Saturday was a day of inclusion for our deaf and hard of hearing friends. It was our third annual "Deaf Awareness Day" in conjunction with NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard Of Hearing. All visitors were greeted by a signer welcoming them to Deaf Awareness Day at the Zoo. There were interpreters at the Wild Life Stage show, giraffe, big cats, and Reptile House lawn. The interpreters worked with our Docent staff and provided signing so that everyone could understand and learn about our animals.
I really understood what the day was all about when I saw visitors enjoying the zoo and signing to their friends and families. Unlike many disabilities that require a wheelchair or other helpful tool, deafness isn't quite so obvious. I saw many deaf visitors that I didn't realize were deaf until I saw them signing with their friends and families. I learned that when addressing someone who is deaf, it's important to make eye contact and speak directly towards them so that they could read my lips. It was easy to read their lips as they all turned into smiles.