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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – The Akron Zoo has become the first in Ohio to receive the Age-Friendly Seal of Approval from the Better Business Bureau.

An event Friday morning highlighted all the things Akron and Canton-area officials have done to make the zoo more accessible for the elderly and those with disabilities. 

“We are thrilled to receive the Age-Friendly Seal of Approval,” CEO Doug Piekarz said. “The Akron Zoo is a place where all ages can come and connect their lives to wildlife. In all our plans, we consider accessibility, and it is an honor to be the first zoo in Ohio to receive this certification.”

Along with the award, a new pilot program was introduced, showcasing the Akron Zoo’s accessibility and service to older adults, which earned the zoo the inclusive award.

The Age-Friendly Seal of Approval pilot program is in collaboration between the Akron-Summit Age-Friendly Task Force, County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Mayor Dan Horrigan and the Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities.

The Seal of Approval certifies that the zoo met criteria in the physical environment, customer experience and marketing materials, which all ensure accessibility for visitors.

“Today’s recognition really highlights the power of partnership in our community,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “I thank all of the community partners who were involved with this special recognition, and I congratulate the Akron Zoo on being the first in Ohio to receive the seal of approval. As our residents evolve and change, our communities and our businesses must evolve with them, and the Age-Friendly Seal of Approval helps encourage us all to do just that.”

On Friday, guests 62 and older were able to purchase a senior ticket for just $12 and receive a second general admission ticket for free. The zoo also offered giveaways, snacks for seniors and a chance to win a family membership.