SPOKANE, Wash. — Hands on learning had a deeper meaning Saturday at the Blue Zoo aquarium.

A group of blind and low vision students were able to spend some time with animals and get an educational experience on the roles they play in their respective environments.

Alaina Little is 13-years-old and has aspirations of being a paleontologist.

“I didn’t really know about all sorts of fish and I didn’t really know about iguanas and stingrays, but I learned a lot about it.”


Blue Zoo has had sensory days in the past but this was their first time working with this group of students. Parents who brought their kids out appreciated the effort and believe the experience was beneficial.

“Actually just being around the animals it’s self and learning about something other than the human species is very educational and soothing for them,” Shelly Shines explained.


Any questions the students had were answered right away by staff that were just as happy interacting with them, as they were with the animals.

“To look at a child's face and to see them inspired by holding a starfish or petting a stingray for the very first time. I mean it's incredible, it really is,” Director of Blue Zoo Aquarium Jon Hepworth exclaimed.

On top of learning about the animals, students got the chance to feed some of them as well.

RELATED: Blue Zoo interactive aquarium opens Thursday at Northtown Mall

RELATED: Spokane Public Library to launch sensory friendly story times

RELATED: 'It gets some of those wiggles out': Sensory pathway helps Spokane elementary students focus