Caring Bunny to return to Mall of Georgia

File Photo Caring Bunny plans to visit the Mall of Georiga to take photos with special needs children on March 10.

File Photo Caring Bunny plans to visit the Mall of Georiga to take photos with special needs children on March 10.

BUFORD -- The long lines, bright lights and chaotic atmosphere can be hectic for any parent waiting with their children to snap photos with the Easter bunny. For parents with special-needs children, they have a much harder time with this situation.

On Sunday, the Caring Bunny will be at Mall of Georgia to accommodate those with sensory, physical and other developmental needs.

The idea came together as a joint effort with The Noerr Programs, the digital imaging company that provides the Bunny Photo Experience for malls nationwide and AbilityPath.org, a national online resource hub and special needs community. It was such a success, they expanded the event across the U.S. and into Gwinnett.

"Last year, we saw families who received a Bunny photo with their child for the very first time," said Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath.org. "We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy."

Several steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a comforting environment for the children's visit with the bunny. The mall turns off in-mall music, stops escalators located near the bunny set, dims the lights and shuts down fountains for the duration of the event.

To eliminate lines, there is a numbering system where guests approach the set when their number is called. While attendees wait, their children can participate in activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child.

"We are thrilled to be the venue for this incredible event," said Carol Cox at Mall of Georgia. "The Caring Bunny program brings a lot of joy to children with special needs and to see that happen at our mall is truly an honor."

The Caring Bunny is present from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday. Reservations are encouraged. To save your spot, visit www.abilitypath.org.

The Mall of Georgia is located at 3333 Buford Drive in Buford.