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Access Statement

Here at Bristol Zoo Project, we have tried to keep our paths and woodland walks as natural as possible. Some areas may not be accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs.

We recommend looking at our access statement prior to booking and visiting Visitor Information (next to the shop) on arrival to see how we can maximise your visit.

We have written an access statement to accurately describe the facilities and services that we offer all our visitors.

Relaxed Opening Sessions

Bristol Zoo Project aims to be as accessible and inclusive as possible for all of our visitors. As a result of the success of our pilot relaxed opening hour in April 2023 we are making relaxed sessions a regular part of our yearly programme.

These early opening events are the perfect opportunity for individuals with additional sensory needs and their carers to visit Bristol Zoo Project in a much quieter and supportive environment.

We will have; a quiet space available, no animal talks during this time, noise levels reduced where possible and increased numbers of volunteers on hand to help if you need them. Our staff and volunteers have taken part in Autism Awareness Training.

Ticket numbers are limited and will need to be booked in advance. Please remember to book your free carer's ticket.


Check back soon for future dates.

Facilities at Bristol Zoo Project

Our Visitor Information (next to the shop) is open daily from 10am to 3:30pm.

Hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, pastries and cakes are available in our Courtyard Café. See the welcome sign at admission for a full list of food and drink outlets.

As Bristol Zoo Project is a site rich in natural beauty, paths can be loose and uneven, so please wear sensible footwear. We recommend walking boots or wellies during or after wet weather, and advise against flip flops etc.

Unfortunately, some parts of Bristol Zoo Project are unsuitable for wheelchair users.

We have four manual wheelchairs available to borrow, free of charge, for use on-site. They are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so we recommend arriving early if you'd like to borrow one. If you need us to meet you at your vehicle with a wheelchair, get in touch ahead of your visit.

To avoid frightening the animals, we don’t allow scooters, skateboards, bicycles, ball games (with the exception of Tower Meadow), roller skates or barbecues on site.

Coach parking spaces are strictly limited, and must be pre-booked. They will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Toilets can be found in the Fun Fort, in the Walled Garden, and at the exit to Bear Wood. Accessible toilets and baby change facilities are located in the Fun Fort and at the exit to Bear Wood.

There are picnic benches around the site including in the Walled Garden and by the Geladas. In dry weather, Tower Meadow is the perfect place to lay out a picnic blanket.

Parking is free of charge but we recommend booking your tickets in advance during busy periods (eg sunny bank holidays) to avoid disappointment.

To keep the animals in the zoo healthy and safe, we cannot allow any pets into Bristol Zoo Project, and pets must not be left in cars.

Assistance dogs

We welcome Assistance dogs on site.

Download our map showing where assistance dogs can enter on site.

Assistance dogs are highly trained which means they:

• will not wander freely around the premises

• will sit or lie quietly on the floor next to their owner

• are unlikely to foul in a public place

• will not run up to zoo animals, chasing, barking and otherwise scaring them.

The main risk factors when allowing dogs on site are that they may bring in diseases which can be fatal to our zoo animals, and that their behaviour may alarm our animals, potentially causing them fear and distress, or injury if they try to get away from them.

Assistance dogs are fully vaccinated, regularly wormed, and have a high level of preventative health care, minimising the risks of bringing in potentially fatal diseases. When visiting our site they must be up to date with vaccinations and worming treatment.

It is essential that we are able to guarantee such standards, to fulfil our biosecurity protocols, which are part of our Zoo Licencing requirements. On arrival, owners will be asked to complete a disclaimer to verify the health of their assistance dog (including certifying that their vaccines and worming treatment are up to date), acknowledge they have received and understand the map indicating the areas where assistance dogs may not enter, and agree to keep their assistance dog under close control.

Please note there are certain areas where assistance dogs may not enter. A guide map showing these areas will be issued on arrival.

• Access to all animal walkthrough exhibits is not permitted due to biosecurity regulations.

• Access is restricted near to the enclosures of species where the sight of dogs has been known to cause distress to the animals.

Assistance dogs will be required to wear an identifying harness, jacket or lead slip at all times whilst on the premises. If you do not have one we can provide a lead slip at admissions to borrow for the day.

We know that assistance dogs are well trained with regard to not passing faeces in public, but accidents can always happen. In such an event please notify us if you do not have poo bags and we can supply them. This is especially the case if your dog vomits or has diarrhoea: please let us know and we can provide a spill kit and can disinfect the area.

We regret we are unable to allow assistance dogs in training except by prior arrangement.

This policy was written with reference to;

• BIAZA document ‘Advice Regarding Admittance of Assistance Dogs to Zoos and Aquariums’ (2022).

• BIAZA document ‘Biosecurity Advice for Permitting Assistance Dogs Entry into Zoos and Aquariums’ (January 2015).

• Equality and Human Rights Commission document ‘Assistance Dogs a guide for all businesses’ (December 2017).

If you have any questions about visiting with an assistance dog, please get in touch by calling 0117 428 5602 or emailing [email protected].

Sensory Map

We have developed a Sensory Map to highlight areas of the site that may impact those with sensory processing needs as well as quiet areas.

You can request a copy at admissions on your arrival.

Access to Nature

Access to Nature provides opportunities for disadvantaged members of the community to experience Bristol Zoo Project and benefit from access to nature.

For those who may face barriers when visiting the zoo, Access to Nature offers the option of funded education sessions or a unique community membership.

Find out more.

Social story

Our social story is a helpful resource for individuals and families to plan their day.

It gives you an idea of the animals, people and spaces you might see during a visit to Bristol Zoo Project.

Download our Social Story.

Sensory bags

Our sensory bags are designed to provide ways to improve focus and create relaxation for children and adults who are neurodivergent or have sensory processing needs. However, they can be borrowed by anyone who may benefit!

The bags include ear defenders, binoculars, fidget and sensory items as well as our sensory map and social story.

If you would like to borrow a sensory bag, please go to Visitor Information on arrival and sign out a bag at no cost. Please remember to return your bag to Visitor Information at the end of your visit.