The Santa Barbara Zoo has partnered with UC Santa Barbara’s Koegel Autism Center for a new series called Autism Safari Nights, to be held June 20, July 25, and August 22 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Zoo. Children will play, enjoy a movie, reading corner, bounce house, and sensory activities while parents eat, drink, mingle, and connect with other parents of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase. The Zoo’s gift shop will be open and offers sensory backpacks for sale.
While the event is free, advance registration required. Free childcare on site for kids 18 and under (including siblings) provided by UCSB Koegel Autism Center. The zoo’s restaurant offers gluten-free items.
The Koegel Autism Center—part of the Gevirtz School—is internationally recognized for its innovative autism research and clinical training. The center is part of the University of California, a not-for-profit state institution of higher learning. Led by Center Director Dr. Ty Vernon and Clinical Director Dr. Anna Krasno, the center focuses on the development and implementation of strength-based, motivational interventions and supports for individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. Intervention models developed at the center include the Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) and the Social Tools And Rules for Teens (START) programs.
The center provides diagnostic assessments, intervention services, parent support, and clinical training opportunities through its funded research projects and clinics. It provides research and clinical training to doctoral students in clinical psychology and special education, many of whom have continued on to become highly influential members of the autism research community.