St. Louis Aquarium provides safe fun for children with disabilities

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A trip to the aquarium may seem like a fun day trip for the whole family. But for family’s of kids with disabilities, it’s not always an easy feat.

It’s the train station from 1894 that is taking children on an underwater adventure.

Autumn Kunzweiler, first time to the aquarium, said, “I wanted to come here to see the fish.”

Ron Kunzweiler, Autumn’s Dad, said, “She’s been asking to go fishing and we can’t really take Autumn around water unless it’s a real safe environment. And the aquarium was something she could come see fish.”

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station and their non-profit foundation welcoming families from Variety the children’s charity Thursday morning.

For Joseph, a double lower limb amputee since six weeks of age, a chance to try out his new prosthetic legs. Variety helps empower children with special needs by providing access to medical equipment, therapy, and innovative programs.

Veonna Suttles, Jessica And Joseph, said, “This is something like the third or fourth set he’s had. He got his first set at ten months thanks to Variety. They make sure he has all the therapy he needs as well as equipment. We are a very happy Variety family.”

Thursday’s ticket donation to Variety families by the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, a welcome gift this first day of October.

Brian Roy, Executive Director, Variety the Children’s Charity Of St. Louis, said, “There’s been a lot of isolation, especially with kids with special needs. If there’s a way to safely come out on a day when there’s not a lot of folks here and all the precautions the aquarium is taking we’re able to offer families if they feel comfortable and safe to come out and see the aquarium which is amazing.

Diane Bauhof, Executive St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, said, “Providing free aquarium admission to individuals from under resourced communities is really at the heart of our mission. This aquarium is here now in downtown St. Louis and we want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to visit and learn about our local waterways and why they’re so important.”

“This is huge that Variety gives us this option because of all his medical needs and therapy needs, funds are very limited. I don’t think people understand his first set of legs is $30,000. And without Variety I couldn’t afford our deductible,” said Suttles.

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