The Northwest Chapter of Safari Club International partnered with The Washington State School for the Blind, the Pacific Foundation for Blind Children and received special collaboration and involvement from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bring a new museum to Southwest Washington. Sensory Safari “A journey of sight through touch” is a unique opportunity in the form of a rare wildlife safari through the sense of touch, called the “Sensory Safari” Tactile Museum of Natural History, brings a new world of discovery not only to the blind, but to our full community.
Sensory Safari is a rewarding and moving exhibit that provides individuals with visual impairments a unique opportunity to “see” wildlife through the sense of touch while listening to information about the animal through specialized headphones. By utilizing thousands of donated and borrowed animal mounts, skins, skulls, and horns, individuals who are blind or visually impaired have been able to gain a visual perspective of what nature’s animals are like.
Whether touching an alligator’s long snout, feeling an impala’s lyre–shaped horns, stroking the thick fur of a bear, or hearing the game calls of waterfowl and big game, Sensory Safari participants experience what many sighted people have not.
Sensory Safari was established by Safari Club International. The first Sensory Safari took place in 1991, when Robert Easterbrook, Sr. provided both children who were visually impaired and sighted children an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of wildlife through the sensation of touch. Most Sensory Safaris are temporary exhibits hosted by local chapters of Safari Club International. The exhibit at the Washington State School for the Blind is unique in the state of Washington, and is among the first permanent displays in North America. The exhibit was supplied by the Northwest Chapter of Safari Club International which continues to provide ongoing support.