Day of inclusive family fun planned at Detroit Zoo

By: Emily Jones | C&G Newspapers | Published September 17, 2019

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The Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan 2019 Step Up for Down Syndrome Family Fun Day and Buddy Walk will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 21 at the Detroit Zoo, located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak. The event’s goal is to combine family-friendly fun and the concept of inclusion for all. 

 Anyone who is a supporter of the Down syndrome community, whether they have a direct connection to Down syndrome or not, is welcome to attend this event. One thing that people can expect is “a lot of fun,” according to Kimberly Gilmore, DSGSEMI Committee chairperson and board secretary.

“We’re promoting awareness and celebrating Down syndrome all in one. Basically, it’s a family fun day is what it’s about — promoting inclusion, bringing awareness for Down syndrome,” said Gilmore. 

The zoo will be open only to the participants of the Buddy Walk from 8 to 10 a.m., so families can view all of the animals without long lines. At 8:45 a.m., there will be a 1-mile walk around the length of the zoo. There will also be many different types of entertainment, including a DJ with a dance floor, Disney princesses, “Star Wars” stormtroopers, and dance groups. 

“We have vendors bringing awareness to what they do, such as post-secondary classes,” Gilmore said.

The registration fee is $20 for adults and $10 for children. The event is free for individuals with Down syndrome and for children ages 2 and younger.

“A hundred percent (of the proceeds) will go back into our Down syndrome community, supporting our various groups and activities,” Gilmore said. 

The organization has various self-help groups, job groups and support groups that are available for all Down syndrome community members.   

The event is also seeking volunteers to help out for the day. For more information on the Buddy Walk, volunteering and other opportunities, go to