Aisha Somani, Residential Manager of our Harksell and Riverside programs in Ferndale, shared the most amazing story about our clients and staff enjoying a travelling, drive-through zoo! The zoo, which is put on by Pacific Animal Productions, focuses on rehabilitating animals and providing wildlife education to local communities. Each car drives up to the exhibit one at a time and learns about the animals. Each animal had been previously rescued from a difficult or unsafe situation. A caretaker at each exhibit talks about the animal’s history, preferences, previous experiences, and temperaments. There was further information shared through YouTube which played in each car while traveling through the exhibits. They were able to see owls, parrots, a giraffe, and an iguana.
Aisha shared, “The entire experience was a huge relief for staff and clients. There was a sense of normalcy that everyone felt while they were at the zoo (even with COVID restrictions in place). It felt like we were coming through COVID-19. One of the staff members talked about how the activity filled them with hope. It was the first time in a long time that they felt a sense of some normalcy.”
What an amazing community inclusion experience this offered! I hope to hear of this travelling zoo coming to some of our other communities! Animals, for many of us, provide such a profound sense of grounding, connection, and peace. We all need this right now. Thanks for sharing, Aisha!