Any guest with a disability will be required to purchase the relevant adult, child or senior admission ticket, either online in advance or upon entry to the zoo. Colchester Zoo will then admit an assistant FREE of charge, upon request when verification of disability is shown.
Verification could be in the form of a blue badge, a letter from a recognised authority, a Nimbus Card, or a bank statement confirming the customer is in receipt of DLA. These options must be supported by photo ID. Please note that Max Cards are not accepted. Once verification has been received, an assistant ticket will be processed and the assistant will be able to enter FREE of charge with the Guest with disability.
Click here for admission ticket information.
Please be aware that our guest with disability & assistant pricing policy changed on the 29th October 2018. CLICK HERE to find out more.
Zoo Passes for those with disability and their assistants
Any guest with a disability will be required to purchase the relevant adult, child or senior Zoo Pass.
If you require assistance during your visits to Colchester Zoo you will be asked to show verification of disability when your Zoo Pass is processed allowing you to have an assistant visit with you FREE of charge each time you wish to visit with your valid Zoo Pass.
If you purchased Zoo Passes before our policy changes on the 29th October 2018 and it includes an assistant admission this can continue to be used until the renewal date of your Zoo Pass when any new passes purchased will change to our new pricing structure.
Please be aware that an assistant is only admitted entry free of charge to upon request.
Click here for Gold Pass prices
Wheelchair / Mobility Scooter Access
* All displays / keeper talks are accessible for wheelchair users with space available at the front of tiered seating if required. Please ask a member of staff for assistance.
* Manual wheelchair and mobility scooter hire is available – please click here for more information.
* Due to the steep hills you are allowed to use an electric scooter at your own risk however you will be required to sign a disclaimer at the zoo entrance and be sure to follow the Easier Route.
* We recommend anyone with reduced mobility follow the suggested ‘easier route’ around the zoo (see the next section for details).
Suggested Easier Route
Because of the steep hills in the zoo, we recommend that anyone with a pushchair, wheelchair, electric scooter, or reduced mobility follow the ‘Easier Route’.
Click here to view our Accessibility map which shows this suggested route.
This route has been developed to give you the simplest route possible around the zoo and avoids the steepest hills. This is a solid yellow line to follow around the zoo’s pathways, which sometimes branches off to a dotted yellow line. The dotted yellow line indicates other enclosures or points of interest in that direction away from the main route. If you follow the dotted yellow line, please remember to return to the solid line when continuing your journey.
When following this route, a few enclosures are inaccessible or difficult to view for wheelchair users so there is a greatly reduced rate for those with disabilty and their assistants. Those who are more mobile can use the route for orientation around the zoo, and leave the route to visit other enclosures.
Please note that there are areas of the route that are on block paving. Some small bumps may be experienced, and individuals with certain medical conditions may need to be aware that there may be bumps and uneven, undulating ground. Please ask a staff member for assistance if required.
Accessible Toilet Facilities
Toilets for those with disability
All 13 sets of toilets around Colchester Zoo and at our cafes have toilet facilities for those with disability.
Changing Places Facility
A registered Changing Places changing facility is available for those with additional needs at the toilet facilities near the meerkat enclosure.
The key features of a Changing Places facility are:
– It can be accessed using a radar key
– A height adjustable changing bench
– Ceiling track hoist (a sling is NOT provided and will need to be brought with you on your visit)
– Space for more than one assistant
This facility is intended for radar key holders only. If you do not have a key but require use of this facility please ask a member of staff at the Meerkat Hangout catering facility or Guest Services for assistance.
Visual and Sensory Resources
Visual Social Story
We have produced an online, downloadable visual social story (click here and it will open in a new window). This has been designed with the intent of helping caregivers of individuals with autism and other specific needs to make the most of a visit to Colchester Zoo. It can, however, be utilised by anyone.
Sensory Exploration Trail
We have produced two downloadable sensory trails designed to help you explore the zoo. There is a longer version which includes exploration around the entire zoo (click here and the long sensory trail will open in a new window). There is also a shorter version which focuses just on exploring the Familiar Friends farm section of the zoo (click here and the short sensory trial will open in a new window).
Visits with Assistance Dogs
Although we love dogs, unfortunately we can only allow assistance dogs on site, in the interest of the welfare of our animals and general safety. Dogs that are allowed are fully trained certified Registered Assistance Dogs: Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Guide Dogs for blind people, Disability Assistance Dogs, Medical Assistance Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs.
Click here to view our Accessibility dog map which shows this suggested route.
Please observe our Code of Conduct for visits with Registered Assistance Dogs:
– On arrival you MUST report to the Outpost
– ID and relevant Environmental Health Cards will be required at entrance
– All Registered Assistance Dogs must be up to date with all inoculations
– We regret that we are unable to allow puppies or training dogs on site.
– Dogs must wear the relevant harness/jacket while on site
– Dogs must be short lead at all times whilst under strict control
– Dogs must not be allowed to defecate anywhere in the zoo grounds, and any faeces should be cleared away by their owners and taken away with them
– We reserve the right to politely ask you to move away from areas in the zoo if we feel a welfare issue is being created for our animals or your dog
– Dogs are not permitted in enclosed areas or walkthrough exhibits as this will threaten the welfare of our animals as well as your dog. Areas to be avoided include:
* Walk-through enclosures with free-roaming animals including: Worlds Apart, Rainforest Walkthrough, Colenso Village, Sensation Station, Australian Rainbows, Butterfly Glade, Wallaby Walkabout, and Lost Madagascar.
* Areas where animals are close to visitors including: the Elephant Feed, Giraffe Feed, and the Bird of Prey Displays.
* Enclosures where the animals dislike the presence of dogs including: Chimpanzee Lookout, Orangutan Forest, Lions, Leopards, and Wolves.
Colchester Zoo does not allow dogs to be left in cars, even with ventilation and water, anyone found leaving dogs in their car will not be granted admission. We take this very seriously and take our lead from the RSPCA – http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars
Audio Information around the Zoo
* There is audio information around the park for the visually impaired.
* The Entrance Kiosks and Guest Services are fitted with an induction loop hearing system. Please advise a member of staff and switch your hearing aid to T.
* All commercial staff have a pad and pen with them to be able to assist with communicating with deaf people and the very hard of hearing. Please indicate to staff if you would like to use this option.
Additional Access Information
* Parking areas for those with disability are available for Blue Badge holders at the zoo’s car parks close to the entrance. Blue Badges must be properly displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle with the side showing the wheelchair symbol facing forward.
* Double and Triple pushchairs: Please note that some users of some double and triple pushchairs may experience problems in accessing some of our standard single doorways.