The Secret Life of……a little flamingo at Chester Zoo

A trip to the wonderful Chester Zoo this time. According to the height chart on the way in, Emily is the same height as a flamingo, hence the blog title!

There are plenty of well-marked disabled spaces opposite the entrance to the zoo, and it’s a level, well-maintained walk to the gates.

On this occasion we were re-joining as members, so we headed straight to the Membership Office which is to the right of the gates. The cost for a child member is £50 per year, and Emily’s ticket is Child + 1 carer, so it means that Emily can have unlimited trips to the zoo all year with a carer of her choice! As the boys abandon us for the heady heights of cricket once the season starts, it’s great to have something the two of us can go and enjoy as often as we like. Yearly membership is excellent value, as it is £20 for just 1 day entry for a child, so £50 for a year is more than worth it.

The office is easily accessible and has automatic doors.

Once you have either paid for day entry, purchased a ticket, or if you are already a member, you head past the shop on your left and guest services/toilets on your right. Then you will be faced with the magnificent sight of the elephant enclosure, just before you reach the entrance gates where your tickets are scanned.

We were lucky enough for the elephants to be heading over to meet/eat us (I know they’re vegetarian..). We stood next to one of the zookeepers who was throwing them snacks, so we got to enjoy watching them play-fight over the biscuits, and see the baby elephants up close.

As we headed in Emily opted for the monkey house first. As we’ve been members before, we weren’t in a rush to see everything in one day. The 11 miles of pathway might be a struggle!

I won’t list each area you can visit as it’s so much more exciting to explore it yourself, but all areas are very accessible. All the entrance doors are either automatic doors or have buttons at a low height. All the paths are well-maintained and level (a surprisingly high number of places aren’t well maintained, which for us means lots of trip/stumble hazards).

The Elephant Bridge and Wooden Bats Bridge have quite a steep gradient, and the walkway across the cheetah enclosure may be a slightly bumpy ride in a wheelchair but still very accessible.

We didn’t travel on the boat rides this time, but we did take a trip on the monorail. We caught this from by the Lion Enclosure/June’s Food Court, which takes you back to the main entrance. It is £1.75 for children and £2.20 for adults, carers can travel free.

Access to the monorail stations are by ramp, and there is a very slight ‘lip’ between the carriages and entrance/exit path, although it is still accessible with pushchairs or wheelchairs. (Electric scooters are not permitted on the monorail).

I would definitely recommend taking your adapted buggy or wheelchair for a trip to the zoo, it’s lovely to walk and see all the sights if you can, but wobbly legs will get very tired!

In our couple of hours at the zoo we visited the monkey house (twice), the bears, the elephants, the cheetahs, and saw even more from the monorail. Still loads to see on our next trip.

The female lions didn’t realise that a busy Sunday afternoon was not the time to start a game of ‘Sleeping Lions’………

And of course what is a trip to the zoo without the obligatory trip to the shop….

You will never fail to have a fab day out at Chester Zoo. It is so accessible and those with limited mobility or wheelchair users won’t miss out on any of the attractions. There is even a wheelchair accessible playpark ‘Wildlife Wood’. We will be exploring this next time!

There are disabled toilets throughout the zoo, and a Changing Places facility located in June’s Food Court. We stopped for a hot drink in Bembe kitchen this time, it is very spacious and has both booths and tables with freestanding chairs.

The accessibility guide on the zoo website www.chesterzoo.org also provides information for visitors with visual impairment, and visitors with autism. There is also a link to the ‘disabled go’ site which gives more information on door widths etc.

And as we glided towards the exit on the monorail we saw the (slightly soggy) brightly coloured real-life flamingos….

 

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