This week is Love your Zoo Week run by BIAZA. The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body representing the best zoos and aquariums in the UK and Ireland.
1.3 million people visit member organisations every year. Only a small percentage are disabled people and their friends/families because few venues provide toilet facilities with
- a hoist and changing bench,
- space for modern wheelchairs or
- one that is fully equipped for able wheelchair users and those with other impairments e.g. Bowel/bladder disorders, autism, mental ill health, epilepsy, obesity, shortened height.
BIAZA members contribute over £650 million to the national economy.
If the venue doesn’t provide a hoist or height adjustable toilet, this means a lot of people can’t visit. People with poor balance, weak legs or arms may not be able to stand up from an accessible seat.
People with muscle and nerve disorders, balance or co ordination difficulties or frailty from old age may need this equipment. They may not necessarily use a wheelchair.
There are no height adjustable toilets in any zoo, aquariums or wildlife parks in the UK.
If standing up from the loo (or standing by the loo) is impossible, such individuals have to be lifted up / carried in the arms of relatives or find a toilet with a hoist and changing bench. Wheelchair users with weak arms/legs also need hoist facilities.
There are a number of zoos etc who provide such essential equipment and the space to use it.
- Marwell Zoo (first in UK to equip toilets for all visitors)
- Bristol Zoo Gardens
- Blair Drummond Safari Park
- Tilgate Park
- Chester Zoo
- Chessington World of Adventures Resort
- Tropical Wings Zoo (opening soon)
- Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo
- Cotswold Wildlife Park
- Colchester Zoo
- Yorkshire Wildlife Park (hoist and toilet)
- Wingham Wildlife Park
- Pili Palas Nature World
- Camperdown Wildlife Centre (opening soon)
- Edinburgh Zoo (hires in a bed and hoist for 1 week per year)
(List excludes bird and wildlife reserves and parks/forests).
Possible future venues:
- Living Coasts
- Paignton Zoo
- Newquay Zoo
- Twycross Zoo
- London (only hoist and bench currently – no toilet)
Specifically stating no hoist facilities:
- Woburn Safari Park
However, there are over 100 venues who do not offer usable toilet facilities – not even for people who don’t use a hoist.
Why do they exclude disabled people?