We want all of our visitors to have an amazing day at Chester Zoo. We’re working hard to be as accessible as possible.
FREE ENTRY FOR CARERS
Visitors with disabilities may admit one one accompanying carer free of charge when they pay full adult / child price. Please bring relevant proof of entitlement such as a blue badge, or a Personal Independence Payments letter (issued by the DWP benefit office).
FOR VISITORS WITH ASSISTANCE DOGS
We’ve got lots of multi-sensory experiences and an amazing array of sounds and smell. We offer:
Assistance Dogs are welcome but please contact us in advance for more information. We can provide a map with an assistance dog-friendly route.
Free entry for carers (see above)
Accessible toilet facilities are available across the site – see locations on our map here >
Daily animal talks with our Zoo Rangers. They help visitors discover cool stuff about some of the most endangered and exotic animals in the world.
Our gardens have an array of textures. In The Plant Project you’re sure to be dazzled by the exotic colours, smells, shapes and textures of some of the world’s most incredible plants.
Guided tours are available for groups – to help you get the most out of your visit why not pre-book your own personal tour guide.
Liz Roberts, Chair of the Guild of Chester Tour Guides said:
“The Guild of Chester Tour Guides always looks forward to showing zoo visitors around such a fantastic environment. The displays and interpretation offer something for everyone, too – especially things to touch and smell. Visitors can feel the shape of a rhino’s prehensile lip by touching the model and I’ve taken blind visitors around on a tour where the smells in the elephant house and just ‘feeling’ their presence worked well.”
FOR VISITORS ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM
We’re really delighted that you’re considering a trip to the zoo. Below are a few tips to get the best out of your visit.
PLAN AHEAD – we know that sometimes it’s reassuring to know what to expect during your visit. For this reason we’ve put our zoo map online here so you can explore our catering facilities, picnic areas, accessible toilets and changing rooms before you arrive. We’ve also got lots of information about our animals online so that you can do some research on them before you arrive.
VISIT AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE – we have a membership scheme available so if you like to visit a particular species or want to visit us for short periods of time on a regular basis then membership is perfect for you. Carers can also access the zoo for free so it works out as great value.
QUIETER TIMES – for visitors who prefer not to be here during our busier times we would recommend that you visit outside of the school holidays and on weekdays where possible. We find that our ‘off peak’ seasons are a really great time to be here at the zoo so that you can spend as long as you like with the animals that you love.
VISITING AS A GROUP – we have run group workshops for the National Autistic Society so have some experience of preparing ‘sensory’ experiences. If you would like to visit as a group for a tailor made visit that will suit your needs then please contact our Groups team on 0870 720 1507 or our Learning team on 01244 650205.
RELAX AND ENJOY – many of our team have had training to make them more aware about the challenges that might face people on the autistic spectrum during their visit to the zoo, so we totally understand how you might feel. We want to reassure you that you are really welcome and we’ll do everything that we can to make your visit a great experience. If you have particular issues with queuing or need to use our accessible facilities then all you need to do is ask.
JUST ASK – we’re really keen to improve the experience for all of our visitors so we’re really keen to hear from you if you have specific needs or any questions about the zoo. Wherever we can we’ll make arrangements in advance of your visit to ensure everything goes smoothly so you can concentrate on having a good time.
QUIET SESSION – on Wednesday 14 August we will be holding our first quiet session at Predators between 10am – 12pm. The exhibit will be open to all visitors but all of the sound effects and movements will be turned off. We will also have some additional sensory elements to the exhibit.
You can call our Guest Experience team in advance on 01244 389 482 or email email@example.com.
We are working with Autism Together to raise autism awareness in our community and we are signed up to the Autism Charter, pledging to become an autistic friendly visitor attraction. We have so far trained over 240 members of staff to become Autism Champions (6 of which have also attended the extended Autism Ambassador course), who will soon be the accessible face of autism support for the public within the zoo. We’re rolling this training out to even more staff with the aim of further improving our offer as an autistic friendly visitor attraction.
Autism Together testimony about Chester Zoo’s commitment to the Autism Charter:
“The response to this approach from the management and staff of Chester Zoo was overwhelming and they quickly embraced the opportunity to secure staff training across the board, working closely with Autism Together in the identification of the adjustments needed to make a difference. They were also eager to seek advice on how to implement resources specific to supporting individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.”
We’re a fully accessible visitor attraction so visitors with wheelchairs and limited mobility can relax and enjoy their day. We offer:
- Free disabled parking at the main entrance
- Free entry for carers (see above for more information)
- Accessible pathways
- FREE wheelchair and electric scooter hire, subject to availability and £25 refundable deposit. Booking is essential. We recommend booking early – up to three to four weeks in advance during busy periods. To pre-book or confirm your wheelchair or scooter please call us on 01244 389482.
- Accessible toilet facilities are available across the zoo site, including a changing places facility inside the Jubilee toilets. Find our accessible toilet & changing places facilities on our map
- A wheelchair lift is available at the Realm of the Red Ape.
- Access on the Lazy River Boat Trip and Monorail (we’re sorry but electric scooters are not allowed)
- Elephant Bridge and Wooden Bats Bridge have a steep gradient so ask if you need assistance in these areas.
- Registered Assistance Dogs are welcome but please contact us in advance for more information. We can provide a map with an assistance dog – friendly route.
- Many animal habitats have multiple viewing points so let us know if you need advice about the best places to view our amazing animals.
Cis Weekes, Chester
“I’ve been a member of the zoo for many years but recently visited for the first time as a wheelchair user. I was very apprehensive about how I would cope but needn’t have worried at all. I was able to access all parts of the zoo, every member of staff was more than helpful and I was particularly impressed at how well we were looked after when going on the boat trip. Chester Zoo really is for everyone.”
Be sure to take a look at the Chester Zoo accessibility review on DisabledGo for more help when planning your visit.
We appreciate and welcome any feedback relating to your visit to Chester Zoo as we are always interested in ways to improve our visitor experience. Contact our Guest Services team on 01244 380280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.