New to this
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair
I hadn’t been to the zoo since being mobility challenged and hadn’t remembered quite how hilly it was. When I got to the zoo the accessible parking wasn’t very easy to find so I just parked up and made my way to the entrance. I met a lovely staff member at reception who handed me a map showing where all the steep slopes were. They said there was a special car that could take me up the hills to where the big cat enclosure was. I met Charlie at the vehicle who as was very helpful at getting my chair loaded into the back of the vehicle, he was also a very knowledgable tour guide on our way up to the top of the hill. He said as it was quiet just to give him a call when that bit was done and he would give me a lift to the pandas. I realised just how hilly the zoo was and wished that I had decided to go on a weekend when my BF was free as was regretting not having a handy 6ft tall rugby player to help with the hills. The staff could not have been more helpful though at making sure I didn’t get stuck anywhere nor got lost and ended up going the wrong way with the new one way system. I met a very helpful guy as I was making my way down from the penguins who asked if I wanted him to help me “brake” which I dully accepted (my arms were really tired by now), he made sure I made it safely back to the exit without crashing, when we got back to reception and he made sure I didn’t need anything else, the reception joked that I had charmed the CEO into giving me a private tour. I honestly thought she was joking (I googled it when I got home and right enough he was actually the CEO). The staff couldn’t have been more helpful or considerate, they can’t do anything about it being built on a very hilly location but they have done all they can to ensure that it is as accessible as it can be.
Transport & Parking
The accessible parking was not very obvious and I couldn’t find it when I tried though the car park was pretty empty when I got there so managed to park with enough space to get my chair out. The main car park at the top is on a slope so it’s not great for Wheeling or getting to the entrance without help.
It is not the most accessible place without taking a “helper”. If I plan a return trip I will defiantly take a someone else especially as they get in free. As this was a spur of the moment thing I didn’t really think.
Though there is not currently a changing places toilet this is something they are adding in early course, the accessible loo near the reception was nice and big and clean and as it was quiet the day I went there was no queue.
The Staff were AMAZING and were really helpful, the accessible vehicle Driver was lovely and felt like my own personal driver though that was partly because it was super quiet and no one else needed his services, staff were all really helpful and knowledgeable.