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Accessibility in the zoo


We want all of our visitors to have a ‘zooper’ day out and work hard to make the zoo as accessible as possible.

Belfast Zoo is located on Cave Hill and some of the paths are located on steep gradients. The zoo map highlights areas of the zoo with higher gradients which can aid with planning your visit. The zoo currently operates a one-way system around the zoo.

Zoomobile

Hop on board our zoomobile for a 'zooper' day out!

The zoomobile must be booked in advance and is subject to availability. We cannot guarantee availability for visitors who have not booked in advance. Before you book the zoomobile, you should read our terms and conditions.

Choose a tour around the zoo or a drop-off at the top of the zoo.

Zoomobile information

Priority entry

Visitors with accessibility requirements receive priority access into Belfast Zoo. If there is a queue at admissions on arrival, you can either follow signage for ‘fast track’ access or enter through the Zoovenir Shop where staff will give you access. 

Carer's entry

Visitors paying standard admission price who require special assistance are offered free admission for one accompanying carer. To gain free carer’s admission, the carer must provide proof (in the form of documentation) to show that you are in receipt of carer’s allowance, a doctor’s letter or other relevant paperwork. Or, the visitor who needs a carer can provide evidence of requiring a carer.

Assistance dogs

Only assistance dogs can visit Belfast Zoo. Following BIAZA advice, we request that visitors ensure that all assistance dogs:

  • Are up-to-date with all inoculations (proof is required, for example, a vaccine card).
  • Have not shown any signs of disease including vomiting or diarrhoea in the last 24 hours.
  • Are kept on a lead at all times and under strict control.
  • Do not foul anywhere in the zoo grounds. Any incidents should be cleared away by their owners.
  • Are removed from areas where they are causing obvious distress to any zoo animals.

Car parking

We have 17 designated accessible parking bays which are located in the main car park close to the Visitor Centre entrance. Blue badges should be properly displayed on the vehicle dashboard with the side showing the wheelchair symbol facing forward. Car parking is free.

Accessible toilet facilities

We have accessible unisex toilets:

  • at the Visitor Centre exit
  • in the Zoo Café
  • at the elephant and giraffe walk
  • below the Treetop Tearooms

We also have a Changing Places facility, including an adult-sized changing bench and hoist system, located in the Visitor Centre.

Wheelchairs and mobility electric scooters

Manual wheelchairs are available to hire for free. The wheelchairs are booked in a first-come, first-served basis. Please complete the wheelchair booking form (link opens in new window) or call 028 9077 6277 to book. Please ensure you have read the Terms and Conditions of hire before booking.

We do not provide electric mobility scooters for hire. Visitors are allowed to use their own electric scooter at their own risk. You must make sure it is suitable for the terrain and you will need to sign a disclaimer before entering the zoo with the mobility scooter. This allowance only applies to mobility scooters and not other types of electric scooters.

Visual or hearing impairments

Registered assistance dogs are welcome in Belfast Zoo. As stated in the BIAZA regulations, visitors must ensure that:

  • All registered assistance dogs are up-to-date with all inoculations (proof is needed).
  • Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and under strict control.
  • Dogs must not foul anywhere in the zoo grounds. Any incidents should be cleared away by their owners.

Visitors can avail of our free audio tour via your mobile device.

An induction loop hearing system is available in our Visitor Centre. Please advise a member of staff and switch your hearing aid to T.

A SignVideo facility is available in the Visitor Centre which allows the deaf community to communicate via a British Sign Language interpreter in real time via a video relay system.

Autism spectrum

We recognise that visiting a busy outdoor attraction can be challenging so we have introduced measures to help ensure you have a stress-free and fun day at the zoo.

We have developed a visual guide which has been designed to walk you through the zoo before you visit so you are aware of what sights and sounds to expect and you can plan your visit accordingly. Email us now to request this.

We permit visitors with a JAM card, Autism Alert Card or National Autism Card to be fast tracked to the top of the admission queue during busy periods. Please enter the Visitor Centre through the Zoovenir Shop entrance and ask a staff member to assist you with fast track entry. You may also wish to call the zoo on 028 9077 6277 to identify typical less busy times for entering the zoo.

Suggestions to consider when planning your visit to the zoo:

  • The zoo can be noisy at times. Vehicles might be onsite during opening hours completing maintenance. The types of vehicles that you may see onsite are tractors, council vans, buggy and at times contractor vehicles. We have ear defenders available for loan - just ask a member of our zoo staff at reception or call 028 9077 6277. Note: the quietest times to visit the zoo are during Quiet hour, 9am to 10am, and late afternoon (from 4pm in summer and from 2pm in winter).
  • A toy or activity may help with distraction or calming. If you have forgotten to bring something, please contact reception or call 028 9077 6277, and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Accessible events

We hold several events throughout the year catered for visitors with accessibility requirements, such as Quiet Hours and Sensory Day.

If you need information or have feedback on the zoo’s accessibility, please contact us by calling 028 9077 6277 or email info@belfastzoo.co.uk

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