Zoo Accessibility Information

Utah’s Hogle Zoo recognizes that our guests come in all ability levels, and we strive to make every guest’s visit as fun and educational as possible. We believe that anyone can be empowered to save species and protect habitats. Read below for some of the special accommodations the Zoo provides.*

Guests with Mobility Impairments

Wheelchairs and Electronic Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) are available for rent on a first-come-first-serve basis, and cannot be reserved in advance. Personal wheelchairs and ECVs are permitted for use on Zoo grounds. For the safety of all guests, we ask that ECVs be set to walking speed.

If members of your party utilize an adaptive stroller that functions as a wheelchair, you may obtain an “Easy Access Pass” from Guest Services. This will visibly designate the stroller as a wheelchair to staff and allow access to exhibits that are normally off-limits to strollers, without the need to explain yourself to Zoo staff during your visit.

The World of Flight Bird Show, the Wyatt Fricks Discovery Theater and the Pinniped Program have wheelchair accessible spots in the amphitheaters. Ask any staff member for assistance and they will be happy to show you to a seat.

All exhibits have a wheelchair accessible entrance. Zoofari Express and Conservation Carousel have ramps upon request.

All pathways at the Zoo are paved, but due to the slope of the landscape, some paths are more accessible than others. Use the accessibility map to determine pathways and exhibits that will be best for your visit.


Service Animals

All service animals must check in through our Guest Services office before being admitted on Zoo grounds. Service animals are permitted in all but the following locations: World of Flight Bird Show, Zoofari Express, South Hill and Asian Highlands, and the center rainforest exhibit in the Small Animal Building. Use the accessibility map for where service animals are allowed.  If you still wish to visit these areas, the Zoo provides a temporary kennel for service animals (no pets) while you visit the exhibit with members of your party. Water will be provided for kenneled service animals, and they will be kept in a safe, clean area not accessible to the general public during your visit in the Zoo exhibit. If your service animal needs to relieve itself, there are grassy areas by the Great Apes building and Elephant Encounter. Please be considerate and remove animal waste.

During your visit, please be sensitive to the Zoo animals. If they seem distressed by your service animal’s presence, please step back from the exhibit to help the Zoo animal calm down. Be aware that there are free-roaming chickens and peafowl on Zoo grounds that may cross the path.

Please note that on a limited basis, other areas may be designated off limits for service animals on a day-to-day basis, due to sensitive animal care concerns such as new births or hatchlings, nesting or breeding behaviors in progress, or new animals in exhibits.


Guests who are Blind or have Low Vision

Large Print and Tactile Braille maps are available for checkout upon request at Guest Services, courtesy of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Sensory backpacks, made possible by a grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, are available for checkout at Guest Services on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each kit includes a number of items that may be helpful for visiting the Zoo with a child who is blind or has low vision (see below for backpack inventory). Kits are free for checkout during your Zoo visit, but require a valid driver’s license and contact information to ensure the backpacks are returned for future guests. We recommend renting a wagon or bringing your own so as to lay out the items in the backpack and have easier access to them during your visit.

Sensory backpacks include:

  • Monocular
  • Amber and Yellow glare reducing glasses
  • Magnifying glass
  • Animal artifacts and animal models with labels printed in size 18 font. *Braille labels are available upon request.
  • Grade 2 braille labels are available upon request, courtesy of the State Library for the Blind.

The following is a listing of all accessible tactile statues and signs in the Zoo, categorized by exhibit.

Tactile and Sensory Exhibits

African Savanna

  • Stylized giraffe statue at entry plaza on a springy flooring
  • Sign comparing foot casts of savanna animals at Giraffe yard
  • Bronze dung beetle, lion and zebra skulls at Twiga Terrace
  • Model skulls and bones embedded in “cliffs” surrounding lion habitat
    • Please note that there is an interactive cave space for children with low ceilings at the east end of the exhibit.
  • Lion pride statue
  • Soundboard at west end of African Savanna with animal vocalizations

Elephant Encounter

  • Model elephant skull, femur and tooth
  • Elephant tusk, model rhino horn and skin
  • Stylized statue of Jumbo the elephant, which makes noise and blows air out of its trunk
  • Life-size statue of rhino with tickbirds on its back

Great Apes

  • Male gorilla statue outside entrance to Great Ape Building
  • Female gorilla bust on south side of Great Ape yards with a braille sign

Creekside

Nature pathway includes bronze statues of Utah native animals just across the fence line. The following are statues that can be reached from the pathway, over the fence.

  • Dragonflies on signs
  • Fish
  • Three ducklings
  • Beaver mother and baby
  • Tarantula
  • Frogs
  • Snake
  • Mice
  • Butterflies
  • Mountain Lion

Play area includes concrete statues of Utah native animals.

  • Raccoons in knotholes
  • Woodpeckers
  • Great horned owl
  • Frogs
  • Rabbits
  • Desert tortoises

“Hope Springs,” a sensory mosaic funded by a generous grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, and created by community artist Roger Whiting and the children of Matt’s Place.

Rocky Shores

  • Sign comparing footprints of small North American mammals
  • Bronze model of eagle skulls
  • Life-size eagle nest on a springy flooring
  • Life-size otter statue
  • Hollow log for play on a springy flooring
  • Sign comparing seal and sea lion skulls
  • Life-size seal statue
  • Life-size polar bear and cubs statue
  • Bronze models of small sea creatures inside Tidewater Cove by crash tanks
  • Skull and bones of whales, dolphins and walrus inside Tidewater Cove.
    • Please note that marine mammal bones are porous and filled with oil for buoyancy when the animal is alive; therefore, these bones have a strong, oily scent if you lean close.
  • Soundboard of animal vocalizations at west entrance of Tidewater Cove
  • Comparison of polar, brown and black bear paws
  • Comparison of polar, brown and black bear skulls

Asian Highlands

  • Interactive sign demonstrating tigers’ senses of taste, sight, smell and touch in the Forest View habitat
  • Grandma’s House with artifacts from Asian cultures
  • Life-size tiger statue

Guests with Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The following social story is designed for guests with Autism Spectrum Disorders to enhance their Zoo experience, but may be used by anyone. Please note that some attractions, such as the Zoofari Express, close seasonally, and that some exhibits may be loud on days that are crowded. A list of helpful hints at the end of the story can help caregivers better prepare for a Zoo visit. If you have any questions about your visit on a particular day, feel free to call member services at (801) 584-1700 to get up-to-date information.

Sensory Backpacks

Sensory backpacks, made possible by a grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, are available for checkout at Guest Services on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each kit includes a number of items that may be helpful for visiting the Zoo with a child with special needs (see below for backpack inventory). Kits are free for checkout during your Zoo visit, but require a valid driver’s license and contact information to ensure the backpacks are returned for use for future guests. We recommend renting a wagon or bringing your own so as to lay out the items in the backpack and have easier access to them during your visit.

ASD/SPD/Developmental Disabilities Backpack

  • “I have Autism, if lost please call” Stickers
  • Laminated copy of the Zoo Social Story
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Fidget toys
  • Assorted animal artifacts and animal models with labels

Small – and medium-sized weighted sensory belts are also available for checkout at Guest Services on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Belts are free for checkout during your Zoo visit, but require a valid driver’s license and contact information to ensure the backpacks are returned for use for future guests.

Because it is so important that guests remain seated throughout the World of Flight Bird Show to protect the birds, weighted lap pads and wobble cushions are available upon request.  Ask the theater gate attendant for a lap pad or wobble cushion and and return it at the end of the show.


For Teachers with Special Needs Classrooms

Are you a teacher with students with special needs? Utah’s Hogle Zoo offers onsite and outreach special education classes taught by a Zoo instructor. Classes include sensory experiences with animal artifacts such as pelts, skulls and eggs, as well as live ambassador animals. Class length can be tailored to the needs of your class, but have a maximum of 45 minutes. Follow the link to learn more about onsite and outreach programs for students with special needs.

Programs for Families with Special Needs

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is proud to offer Zoo Just for You, a new program for children with special needs and an accompanying adult. Beginning in 2016, we will offer a preschool class series for children with special needs, as well as classes for children ages 6-18 who are Blind/Visually Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, have Autism Spectrum Disorders, intellectually delayed or who have physical disabilities. Check the website for class dates and availability.

*If there are other accommodations you or your family will need during your visit, please call Elise Plumley at (801) 584-4563 or email her at least two weeks in advance.

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