Accessibility at John Ball Zoo
John Ball Zoo is committed to ensuring that we are welcoming to all in our community. This is a pledge made by all of our employees. We strive to provide a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment where visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy getting close to nature.
All guest with disabilities must have a valid form of admission to the Zoo. If a person with a disability requires a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to experience the Zoo, a complimentary pass will be provided for the PCA and it may be obtained at any of the ticket windows at the entrance to the Zoo. This also applies for special programs and tours at John Ball Zoo.
Drinking fountains are located throughout the facility. Please check the Zoo map. Complimentary cups of water may also be requested at any food stand or restaurant.
If at any time you need immediate assistance, please ask any Zoo employee. If you have special needs, please visit our Guest Services office.
Large Print Maps
Large print maps are not currently available but are planned for summer 2019.
Bi-lingual maps are not currently available but are planned for summer 2019.
Wheelchairs are provided free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis. We do ask that a Driver’s License is left with the attendant. The license will be returned when the wheelchair is turned back in. All areas of the Zoo are accessible and staff can answer any questions guests may have. The best choice, if you have limited mobility, is to use the funicular to reach the top of the Zoo. From that point, it is a walk or wheelchair ride downhill through the Zoo.
All the public restrooms in the Zoo are accessible. Gender neutral/family restrooms are located at the entrance of the Zoo, in the Forest Realm, and in our Monkey Island Café. Zoo employees are neither trained nor permitted to lift a guest or help them inside a restroom. Should it be required, guests needing this assistance should plan to visit the Zoo with someone who can physically help them. Electronic-assist doors are located at the entrances to the restrooms in Africa and Red’s Hobby Farm.
We welcome guests with disabilities who choose to bring their trained service animal into the Zoo. Emotional support animals, as well as companion, comfort or pets, are not allowed entry into the Zoo. Service animal trainers may not bring in-training animals under 12 months of age into the Zoo. Service animals are defined as dogs and miniature horses. Service animals must remain on a leash or a harness, be under control of its handler at all times. The leash cannot exceed 6 feet in length. If a service animal’s behavior is inappropriate, the handler may be asked to remove your service animal from the specific areas or the premises.
Service animals are restricted where there is direct contact with Zoo animals or limited in certain areas due to the sensitivity of the Zoo’s animals. Please visit a team member at the Guest Services office to check-in your service animal.
Dining and Shopping
All merchandise locations are accessible. Wheelchair accessible dining tables are located in the area surrounding the Monkey Island Cafe and the Tiger Paws Snack Shop.
Best Times to Visit
To avoid large crowds, visit John Ball Zoo during non-peak times. Typically, fall and winter tend to be less congested and summer and holidays bring the greatest crowds. Weekdays, and non-holidays and early morning times are generally less crowded.
NEW - Sensory Inclusion Programs
Sensory bags are available at our guest services desk near the admission booth. These include noise-canceling headphones, lap pads, fidget toys, and a feeling card.
Headphone zones are located at the budgie aviary, the aquarium, the Natural Treasures building, and the chimpanzee indoor viewing area.
Quiet areas are located on the Waterfall Trail, Forest Realm trail, chimpanzee viewing tunnel, and between the North American turtle and Canada lynx habitats. Our staff is sensory inclusive trained through KultureCity. Find us on the KultureCity App.
For more information on accessibility within the Zoo or specific disability accommodations, check out our accessibility guide.
Questions? Contact us at 616-336-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org