Went to Colchester zoo last week on what was an extremely hot day.
Before our visit, I did what I always do and I looked at the zoo website. If you scroll right down to the disabled ticket prices it tells you disabled people and carers get in for half price because of the terrain. The advice from the zoo is simply to use the yellow routes. That doesn’t make the terrain sound unmanageable or anywhere near as bad as it was. The terrain makes getting around the zoo quite frankly unmanageable if you’re disabled or even I imagine with a pushchair. To be honest I was that surprised I had a look at the website again after our visit to see if it mentioned it anywhere because when I first looked at the website before deciding to go I didn’t see anything about it.
I feel the zoo really needs to make it clear on the website as the yellow routes make no difference.
It didn’t take long at the ticket booth to get sorted and in. There are absolutely loads of animals to see and lots of cafe’s to stop off at. Colchester zoo also has a changing places facility which is always a bonus even though it’s a trek and a half to get to it, I was pleased they at least had one, unlike many attractions we visit.
That would normally be enough to make me want to return but despite the above, we will never be visiting the zoo again.
Hilly is an understatement!
Colchester zoo definitely gave us a work out as we struggled to push Isla in her wheelchair up and down hills, very steep hills! Even the yellow routes were very difficult to navigate. She would never have walked all the way around, her hypermobility would have played havoc with her.
On a few occasions, I was worried my hands were sweaty and I couldn’t grip her chair easily on the hills. I was clinging on to her chair for dear like so she didn’t roll down them.
Even Billy was exhausted.
The routes also seemed to lead you to dead ends or not a lot most of the time. I felt we covered unnecessary miles throughout the day.
Worst part was when pushing Isla up to a lot of the enclosures she couldn’t see a thing because her eye level met with the wood fences at the bottom of the exhibits and not the wire or the glass so for a lot of it we had to lift her out of her chair to look and then she didn’t want to get back in her chair to get to the next exhibit. So we were either having to carry a 4 stone Isla up and down hills all day or push her up and down hills all day. I would hate to have come with a disabled adult and have to push them around the zoo, I actually think it must be impossible.
The only bonus is we did get to see some lovely animals including the meerkats and lions which are the kid’s favourites, not sure I wanted to pay what I feel was extortionate just for that though, a gym membership is cheaper and not as exhausting and sweaty!
I would recommend the zoo to people without disabilities and those not having a carer role but I would not recommend this to the disabled at all, it’s too hard to get around, too many routes that take forever and a lot of exhibits you can’t even see if sitting in a chair.
I think the website plays it down a bit and should be very honest about how difficult it is to get around. I still think the disabled and carer rates are too high given how near impossible it is to have a half decent day out here.
Carers and the disabled get in for £11.25, kids are £15.49 and adults £22.49.
Save your money- go to a decent, disabled friendly zoo like Chester!