Great news for parents with special needs kiddos: Aquatica Orlando is officially the first autism-certified water park in the US. The park — which is part of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment — was given the title by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.
As you can imagine, the park offers many benefits to kids with special needs. The enormous property has a quiet room and low-sensory area for children who need a break from all the stimulation. Plus, all of the water park's staff has gone through specific training about autism. "[The training] really gives them more sensitivity, more awareness, more understanding on what autism is and what guests might be experiencing," said IBCCES President Meredith Tekin.
But possibly the most helpful feature for parents? The sensory guide that rates all rides and attractions in the park by its level of combined touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight. For example, if an attraction has a rating of 1, it means that it has a low-sensory stimulation. However, a ride that's given a 10 means it has high-sensory stimulation.
"The purpose is to not tell people what they can and can't do," explained Meredith. "It's to provide additional information, so families and individuals can be better prepared on what they might experience at the park."
Read through to get a look at this stunning water park and start planning your trip now!