NewView Oklahoma is a local nonprofit serving Oklahomans with vision loss.
They host camps and activities throughout the year and Friday some of those kids took a visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo.
While most people wouldn’t consider the zoo as a place for kids with vision challenges, Andrea Hamen believes it is perfect.
“We’re really excited to be able to go through the zoo. Jacob and I will work the kids on a small intimate experience so that we can really talk to them about what the animals look like and maybe if we know what the texture of the animals feel like,” Hamen said.
So, the workers essentially become the eyes for the kids, giving them details about what they cannot see.
“For them, their vision is blurred, so they don’t see things the way you and I do,” Hamen said.
One of the best tools to help the kids get a better understanding of the animals are the News 9 Zoo keys. They give information and background of the animals and the exhibits and really help the kids.
Another big hit with the kids were the stingrays, because they were able to touch them.
The kids developed a special bond with Betty. She’s the biggest and oldest stingray at the zoo and has cataracts and can’t see. She usually stays close to the edge of the tank and the kids got to witness firsthand how she is specially fed.
NewView has many events planned throughout the summer. They’ve even planned a water-skiing camp at Lake Tenkiller for the teenage participants in the program.