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For two hours on a Sunday, once a season, something truly magical happens at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

Kids with developmental disabilities and their families can tour the botanical gardens and participate in sensory and adaptive activities.

Jesse Burns and his mom, Jennifer, drive all the way from the Pittsburgh area to be a part of the experience that helps kids with special needs grow.

“This is one of the few places that I am able to go to,” said 10-year-old Jesse Burns, who has sensory issues.

“Without trying to cry, there’s not a lot of sensory things for kids with special needs. So, when there is something in the area – whether it’s two hours, three hours, we will drive to make him happy,” said Jennifer Burns, Jesse’s mom.

“We take special precautions in what we offer. So, we do not put on house music. We make sure that all of the horticulture that is loud – leaf blowing is done before we open – just to make sure that we have a welcoming environment,” said Vanessa Pierce, the manager of family engagement for Holden Forests and Gardens.

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