Danville Otterbots announce ballpark sensory room, expand inclusivity efforts

First sensory room in the Appalachian League set to be unveiled April 29, presented by The Hughes Center

The Danville Otterbots will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Ballpark Sensory Room, presented by The Hughes Center, on Friday, April 29, 2022, at 10 a.m. Since the club’s inception in January 2021, the Otterbots have been dedicated to providing a welcoming and inclusive ballpark for every member of the community. The sensory room will provide opportunities for children with sensory sensitivities and their families to be able to enjoy Otterbots games and non-baseball ballpark events all year long.

While some fans look forward to the sights, sounds and smells of being at the ballpark, those who are averse to the traditional hustle and bustle of baseball games will now have the opportunity to cheer on the Otterbots all season long. Located on the concourse in the right field Kids Zone, the Otterbots ballpark sensory room is equipped with cuddle swings, fidget boards, soft LED lights, wall-to-wall padding, uniquely textured rugs, sound-deadening headphones, comfortable chairs, sensory-friendly fidget toys and a blackout curtain. The curtain can be opened to reveal a window overlooking the Kids Zone, so parents can maintain a view of non-sensory averse siblings or friends during their time in the sensory room.

“Since our first day in Danville, our goal has been to build a product and atmosphere that provides entertainment for every single member of our community, and every visitor to Danville and the Southside Virginia region,” said Otterbots general manager Austin Scher. “We took tremendous strides towards reaching that goal in our inaugural season, but we knew we still had work to do. By constructing a sensory room on the concourse, we are now able to provide opportunities for children and families with sensory aversions to enjoy the ballpark and have a space dedicated to ensuring that their enjoyment is comprehensive.”

The ballpark sensory room is presented by The Hughes Center, who partnered with the Otterbots to outfit the space with appropriate activities and infrastructure to accommodate all levels of need. Materials were provided in-part by Columbia Forest Products, and construction was completed by Otterbots spring ballpark operations intern, United States military veteran and civil engineer, Luca Cicilese. The Otterbots prioritize their community, and could not be more grateful to these community partners for their support in bringing the sensory room to life.

“The Hughes Center is excited to partner with the Otterbots to create this awesome addition to the baseball stadium,” said Alison Waymouth, director of business development for The Hughes Center. “The sensory room will be another piece of inclusion added to the park that welcomes and supports everyone in our local community while also extending a warm welcome to surrounding areas. Our goal is to have an outlet for all to have a positive, relaxing and accommodating experience. The noise and excitement at a game can be overwhelming, but the sensory room offers a place to reset and make it more enjoyable and accessible for everyone.”

Danville’s American Legion Field will be the first park in the Appalachian League to have a dedicated sensory-friendly room inside the gates, and one of few in non-MLB ballparks. The Otterbots join the Brooklyn Cyclones, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and Rochester Red Wings as non-MLB ballparks to have a sensory room on-site.

All members of the media and the Southern Virginia community are invited to attend the sensory room ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, April 29, 2022, at 10 a.m. Parking is available in the main lot, and the ceremony will take place on the right field concourse in front of the sensory room. Please send all RSVPs and inquiries to austin@danvilleotterbots.com.

As Opening Night on June 2 approaches, the Otterbots have more news on ballpark improvements and community programming set to be announced in the coming weeks. Single-game tickets will be available in early May.

Otterbots season tickets, flex packs, group outings and corporate partnerships are currently available for the 2022 season. For more information, call 434-554-4487, email austin@danvilleotterbots.com, or stop by the front office.