Ripley’s Aquarium is now a Certified Autism Center

Ripley's Aquarium becomes first destination in South Carolina to Receive Certified Autism Center Designation

Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has completed the process to become a Certified Autism Center, an international designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring guests with autism and sensory sensitivities have the best possible experience.

“Often the roadblock isn’t the children, it is finding businesses that are willing to adapt their operations to accommodate and meet the needs for special needs children,” says Chris O’Shea, who has a child is on the autism spectrum.

Parents with children on the autism spectrum often find choosing destinations and attractions a challenge due to sensory needs, dietary restrictions and safety concerns. In many cases, changes or accommodations made by these locations might seem minor, but they can make a big difference to the guest experience.

By earning the Certified Autism Center designation, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has proven their commitment to serving individuals on the autism spectrum and ensuring a positive experience for all guests.

“We are extremely proud to become a certified autism center; our team has worked very hard training to properly serve our guests on the spectrum. We look forward seeing their enjoyment during their visits to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach,” stated Pablo Chavez, General Manager Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach

As part of the Certified Autism Center requirements, Aquarium staff completed autism sensitivity and awareness training to learn how to better communicate and engage with guests with sensory needs and their family members, as well as safety concerns and protocols. In addition, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has designed specialized programs for guests with autism and other sensory disorders such as a Sensory Friendly Days, Sensory Friendly Camps and more. They are also partners of Champion Autism Network.

For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for healthcare, education and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children with special needs have limited trained travel and entertainment options and created programs specifically for those industries.

“We thoroughly enjoyed working with Ripley’s of Myrtle Beach and admire their willingness to go above and beyond in their commitment to providing a welcoming environment for all guests. Having more certified destination options for individuals with special needs is part of the mission of IBCCES to improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and other cognitive disorders,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.

IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for parents that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center (CAC) requirements.

You might also like: You can meet real life mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium