Guests with accessibility needs
We have a range of services and facilities to make Marwell Zoo as enjoyable and as accessible as possible for everyone.
One FREE carer will be admitted with one paying guest with accessibility needs. As proof, we will accept Compass cards, i-go cards, letters from Disability Support Services, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) letters, appropriate Travel / Leisure Cards, and blue badges (although these should be left in your vehicle). Don’t worry if you do not have any of the above, please contact us ahead of your visit for advice.
Our exhibits are specially designed with alternative viewpoints. For an overview, please see our access guide.
Accessible toilet facilities
All 5 of our toilet blocks have an accessible cubicle. There is also an accessible cubicle located in our gift shop. Please ask a member of staff if you need to obtain access.
For guests with severe disabilities, we have a Changing Places toilet facility. In fact we were the first zoological park in the country to install one. Changing Places toilet facilities are different to standard accessible toilets, catering for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal or brain injuries. They often need extra facilities to allow them to use toilets comfortably, and come equipped with extra features including adjustable changing benches and ceiling hoists plus enough room for at least two carers. A Radar key required to gain entry to this facility. For further information please call 01962 777407.
Assistance dogs are welcome, although, access is restricted in a few areas due to the sensitive nature of our animals. Please note we do not accept assistance dogs and puppies in training. See our assistance dog map and factsheet.
For first aid or emergency assistance please call 01962 777983, use one of our free emergency telephones located at the playgrounds or speak to a member of staff. Our mobile first aiders have a defibrillator (AED) and there’s also one in our gift shop, where we have a first aid room too.
Guests on the autistic spectrum
If you have any questions in advance of your visit please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we have autism ambassadors.
Quiet spaces in the zoo
If you’re looking for a quiet space to seek some time out from stimulation, we have several options.
If you need an indoor space that can be temporarily closed, please contact a member of our team as there are a few rooms we can help you to access based on their availability on the day such as our First aid room or Changing Places Toilet Facility.
Alternatively, you could head to these areas in the zoo that tend to be away from busier areas:
- Formal Garden, or back lawn behind Marwell Hall
- Front lawn or drive of Marwell Hall
- Under the canopy around the Science & Learning Centre (during school holidays)
- Behind Café Graze (please notify a member of staff)
- Lawn area beyond tiger playground
If you are visiting on a quiet day, for example outside of school holidays, most of the zoo is quiet. Although, you may come across the occasional group of school children.
For a quieter experience, it is advisable to journey anti-clockwise around the zoo as most of our guests go clockwise.
Queuing at admissions – the sunflower scheme
Queuing can be tricky for those with additional needs – please let a member of our team know if you need assistance on arrival and we will do what we can to ensure your entry to the zoo is as quick as possible.
We support the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative, which promotes the wearing of a sunflower themed lanyard, badge or ribbon as a discreet sign of a hidden disability. If you’re wearing the Sunflower lanyard our teams are trained to look out for you, in case you need additional support or just a little more time or space.
Areas in the zoo that can get busy
Some areas in the park can get quite busy and noisy during peak times, mostly during school holidays, including:
- Admissions (10.30am – 11.50am)
- Gift Shop (the hour before zoo closing)
- Café Graze (12pm – 1.30pm)
- Areas of daily animal talks (giraffes at 11.30am, meerkats at 12.30pm and penguins at 3.30pm)
- Tropical House (around midday)
Life Among the Trees primates complex can get noisy (early afternoon)
Hearing loops are available at the admissions area, reception and in our gift shop. Please let us know if you find they are not working.
We also have a mobile hearing loop available for our daily talks. Please let our admissions team know on arrival if you would like our team to provide this on the day of your visit.
Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative
We support the successful Hidden Disabilities Sunflower initiative which promotes the wearing of a sunflower themed lanyard, badge or ribbon as a discreet sign of a hidden disability. Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard indicates that the wearer may need additional support or just a little more time or space.
It is with great pride that Marwell Zoo is the first zoo to become Makaton Friendly and now has an M on the Makaton map! Makaton uses signs (gestures) and symbols (pictures) with speech to help children and adults communicate. Our daily talks are Makaton friendly and we have Makaton symbols available on request in Cafe Graze.
We have 2 rows of accessible parking spaces in the main car park, close to the entrance of the zoo.
Road train (due to current Covid 19 regulations we are not able to operate our road train)
For those who need a little help getting around the zoo, simply hop aboard our FREE road train service*. Our train is equipped to carry one standard sized manual wheelchair. It journeys around the front half of the zoo, stopping at 4 locations. The timetables are displayed at each stop.
*Subject to availability, please call us to check if your visit depends on this service being available.
For guests with visual impairments we recommend listening to our sensory trail mp3.
This guide will point you to the enclosures which are the most useful to someone who wants a sensory experience, e.g. someone who is visually impaired. It mentions the sounds, smells and environments you may encounter on your visit.
Alternatively, download our FREE mobile app which includes an audio tour. Please bring headphones for this or purchase them from our gift shop for £2.50.
A limited number of FREE manual wheelchairs are available for hire. Our wheelchairs are generic manual wheelchairs intended for limited light use, they can be self-propelled but please do make use of the free carer option so that someone can be there to assist you when needed.
A £20 refundable cash deposit is payable on the day. Our wheelchairs do not come fitted with seat belts.
To reserve a wheelchair for your visit please call 01962 777407. We recommend booking early and require a minimum of 24 hours notice.