Accessibility – Wheelchairs, Pushchairs etc

WELSH MOUNTAIN ZOO ACCESS STATEMENT

Introduction

The Welsh Mountain Zoo is set on a challenging hilltop site which was originally an Edwardian private estate with many steps and narrow paths.  Most of the pathways slope to a greater or lesser extent.  It is not an easy venue for visitors with walking difficulties or wheelchairs although we estimate that 70% of the exhibits are viewable by wheelchair with assistance from a fit and able bodied carer. All recent features in the Zoo are designed with ramped access, for example the sea lion exhibit completed in 2006. Less accessible areas will improve in the future as part of our development programme.  We provide a free map at the entrance which denotes the paths best suited to wheelchairs and pushchairs avoiding steps but not slopes.  We make no charge for wheelchair users.  Please also note that small wheeled electric scooters will have difficulty due to uneven surfaces. We do not have electric scooters or wheelchairs for hire; however we do offer free manual wheelchairs for hire. Free wheelchair loan is available at the Zoo office.  Assistance dogs are welcome in the Zoo but advance notice would be appreciated (01492 532938 or info@welshmountainzoo.org).

We currently offer:

 Transport and Location

  • A free central car and coach park and overflow field parking with a separate entrance on busy days. There is space in the centre of the zoo for disabled visitor parking.
  • Approximately one mile from the nearest town of Colwyn Bay.
  • Colwyn Bay is served by frequent bus and train services.
  • A free, continuous minibus service from Colwyn Bay train station to the Zoo and back (from 9th April 2017 to 10th September 2017).  The Zoo’s minibus has 16 passenger seats and has not been modified for wheelchair access.  We do not recommend the minibus service to wheelchair users.

Main Entrance Facilities

  • Zoo Opening Hours are 9:30am – 6pm (27th March to 29th October) and 9:30am – 5pm (30th October – March 2018). Closed Christmas Day (Please note the entrance gates close approximatley an hour before closing)
  • Free minibus drop off point is outside the main Zoo entrance and there is a short walk on a slight down hill gradient to the pay box and an estimated three minute partially uphill walk to the Zoo centre (with speed ramps for passing cars).
  • The main entrance (where visitors pay admission) and driveways are also used by cars and coaches.  Parking is normally in the central car park.
  • During busy periods and in the peak season (e.g. school summer holidays, bank holidays), a field adjacent to the zoo is used as a car park facility.  From here it is no more than a five minute walk on an upward gradient to gate box 3 entrance.  Disabled parking is always available centrally – please notify the car park attendant on the main entrance gate who will direct you to the central car park.
  • Currently no loop installed.
  • Currently no seating provided at the entrance.

Public Areas – General

  • Being situated in a 37 acre hilltop location an estimated 30% of the smaller exhibits as well as a significant part of the undeveloped woodlands are inaccessible to visitors with mobility constraints due to steps, sloped pathways and gravel surfaces.
  • We provide a free map at the entrance which denotes the best paths suited to wheelchairs and pushchairs, avoiding steps but not slopes.
  • The guidebook is not currently available in alternative formats such as audio.
  • We make no charge for wheelchair users and blind visitors.
  • Free wheelchair loan available from the Zoo office.
  • Staff are always on hand to offer assistance where required and wear either navy, green or maroon sweatshirts with the zoo logo on the front.
  • Information is available from the Zoo shop, centrally sited on the car park and open every day.

Public Areas – WC

  • There is a disabled toilet plus ladies and gents toilets under the Penguin Café and another set of ladies and gents toilets behind the Trading Post Gift Shop.  A baby changing room is situated adjacent to the Gift Shop.
  • Access to all WCs in the grounds is concrete or tarmac with step-free access routes (except for the toilets at the Safari Restaurant which are via steps).
  • There is a single step into the baby changing room.
  • There is no toilet provision outside the Zoo boundary, Safari Restaurant or Penguin Cafe.

Safari Restaurant and Penguin Café

  • Safari Restaurant is spacious.  Penguin Café is less spacious being smaller in size.
  • Menus and prices are displayed clearly on the wall as you enter the Safari Restaurant and Penguin Café and are available verbally on request from staff.  Currently they are not available in either Braille or in audio format.
  • There is a single ramp into the Safari Restaurant.
  • There is a moderately steep gradient up to the Penguin Café but no steps.
  • Staff are available to assist where required.
  • Chairs and tables are movable, some with a central support column and some with legs on each corner.
  • Both Safari Restaurant and Penguin Café have a counter service (table service can be offered where needed).
  • We are able to cater for vegetarians, gluten free, dairy free, nut free and sugar free diets. Please phone in advance and specify requirements 01492 532938.
  • You are not permitted to eat your own food in the Cafes but there are many picnic areas throughout the grounds on level and sloped ground (benches and grass areas).
  • There is also a selection of covered picnic areas incase of bad weather:
    – Chimpanzee Auditorium (when shows are not taking place)
    – Information Gazebo on the Bear Lawn and by the Lemurs
    – Sheltered Areas by the Children’s Farm
    – Map Shelter by the Playground
    – The Media Centre

Trading Post Gift Shop

  • Access is through a single doorway.
  • There is a single ramp into the shop.
  • Guide dogs are welcome in the shop.
  • Some items for sale may be out of reach; the staff offer assistance.

Displays

  • Information about Chimp Encounter and Bird and Sea Lion display times is advertised on the back of the zoo’s map and at the Trading Post Gift Shop.  There is wheelchair access (front and back) to Chimp Encounter.

Grounds and gardens

  • There are rest points (benches) available at regular intervals around the zoo.
  • There are a number of areas which are only accessible by climbing/descending a number of steps.
  • Some paths and walkways are tarmacced but the majority are gravel based.
  • There is no onsite transport across the site.
  • Between pathways there are grass areas which can be uneven underfoot.

Additional Information

  • All front of house staff and staff answering the main telephone have been trained in disability awareness and the sites’ features.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome and can access all public areas.  Please see above regarding advance notice.
  • The Zoo has a volunteer scheme.  Given reasonable advance notice it may be possible to book a volunteer to provide a guide service for blind or partially sighted visitors.

Contact Information

Telephone: 01492 532938

Fax: 01492 530498

Email: info@welshmountainzoo.org

Website: zoo.livesol.net

Address:  Welsh Mountain Zoo

Colwyn Bay

Conwy

LL28 5UY

Hours of opening: 9:30am – 6pm (28 Mar – 29 Oct), 9:30 am – 5pm (30 Oct – Mid March). Closed Christmas Day.