Happy Homecoming of Super Family Sundays

The morning of November 21st was bright and, even with the early hour, filled with super excitement. After a 22-month hiatus due to the pandemic, super families were welcomed back by JMZ staff for a celebration of the first Super Family Sunday in the new facility. And it was super fun!

Read on to learn more about this fun event for families with children who have disabilities. This is the latest installment in our newsletter series with news about the new Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo!
A dad and child play with an exhibit at the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.
Super Family Sundays is a free event when the JMZ is open exclusively to families with children who have disabilities. Children with all disabilities are welcome, as well as parents, siblings and grandparents. Super Family Sundays are a time when families can have a quieter experience in the exhibit gallery and meet zoo animals up-close with the amazing JMZ keepers. 

More than 20 families excitedly explored the new exhibits and zoo experiences during the hour and a half-long event. Grateful parents and caregivers commented on the beautiful and soothing design of the building and exhibits. The ball machine was continuously rolling with kids and adults turning the cranks, rolling the balls, and engineering their own ball-moving contraptions. Families enjoyed having special time to talk with zoo keepers and ask questions about the animals. Apu, the peacock, delighted everyone with a stroll around the zoo.
Apu the Peacock at the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.
Started in 2010, and generously supported by the Friends of the Junior Museum & Zoo over the years, Super Family Sundays have been enjoyed by 2,700 kids and their grown ups. Parents have shared that they value Super Family Sunday events because their children learn about science and the natural world in a friendly, uncrowded environment. They appreciate that they can spend time together as a family and their children are allowed more independence to explore. One parent disclosed that the event led their neurotypical kids to better understand their sibling on the spectrum. Some adults appreciate meeting other families and feel that the event is “low stress.” “I love the safe and welcoming space,” shared one parent. 

Over the years, Super Family Sunday families have helped to make the new facility dramatically more inclusive. During the JMZ’s Access From the Ground Up project, which aimed to build an accessible new facility, parents and children provided input to inform the development of Access Resources and innovative, permanent science exhibits. As a result, the new Museum and Zoo is more accessible to all visitors and more engaged with the disability community. The Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo is proud to be a partner in this inclusion work by funding Super Family Sundays.
Mom and child playing with an exhibit at the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.
Upcoming Super Family Sundays will be on:
January 9, 2022 – 8:30 to 10 am
February 13, 2022 – 8:30 to 10 am
March 13, 2022 – 5:30 to 7:00 pm

All families who have a member with a disability are welcome to join. In order to maintain a non-crowded environment, spots are limited and reservations are required.

If you are interested in being added to the Super Family Sunday email list, please contact Lisa.Eriksen@cityofpaloalto.org.
Child crawling through a tunnel at the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.
Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo