At Colchester Zoo we applaud the BIAZA Autism Acceptance Campaign. Although we have not focused on a specific event, we have undertaken a targeted campaign to raise Autism Awareness amongst the entire Zoo Team to ensure not only acceptance, but also demonstrate examples of making our Zoo more inclusive for guests on the autistic spectrum and their families / personal assistants.

Colleague Development

All senior colleagues in our Zoo have completed an Autism Friendly training programme to ensure they understand the barriers, challenges and obstacles guests and colleagues that are autistic are dealing with. More importantly to help them understand what actions and behaviours they, and colleagues in their departments, can change to remove or minimise those barriers to be as inclusive as possible.

Animal Experiences

All guests who book an Animal Experience and tell us they have specific needs are now contacted ahead of the experience to ensure they, and our Animal Care Team, are well prepared with full information and are able to modify the experience accordingly.

Special Events

We have dedicated and trained colleagues to support guests who are autistic and maybe cannot wait in line or need more time and explanation to fully enjoy the event. All special events are Equality Impact assessed to ensure minimal impact on guests with specific needs including those who are autistic. 

Accessibility Guide

A full guide with sections dedicated to providing information and advice to autistic guests, their families and assistants can be found on our website here. This includes a dedicated contact email for those with specific enquiries relating to access and inclusion.

Accessibility Map, Visual Social Story and Sensory Trails

Our Accessibility Map shows quiet spaces located throughout the Zoo. Our Visual Social Story resource uses images and consider text to explain what to expect during a visit to Colchester Zoo. Both long and short Sensory Trails are also available to download here to help guests explore our entire Zoo.


We offer a series of SEND school sessions particularly appropriate for guest who are autistic, these include:

  • Exploring artifacts for SEND
  • Animal Enrichment for SEND
  • Animal Careers for SEND

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