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KC Zoo officially opens new play area for kids who have special needs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new playground that opens up at the Kansas City Zoo Friday is truly a one-of-a-kind.

No other zoo in the nation has a playground like this that caters to children with special needs.

This is the dream child of Variety, a children’s charity in Kansas City.

They partnered up with the zoo to give all children a place to play right in the middle of the Africa exhibit.

They provide headphones for children with sensory disorders, handicap accessible rides, and plenty of room for all the children to play together.

The goal is to help children with special needs fit in with their peers.

"We live in a population where one out of four people has a child with special needs and often there are excluded from activities so this will be an opportunity to finally be with their family and friends, to develop those friendships, to get the exercise they need as well as have a great time and have fun," executive director of Variety KC Deborah Wiebrecht said.

Variety officials hope to inspire others zoos across the nation to build similar playgrounds, and they are even working with airport designers to build a similar type playground at the new airport when it is built.