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. The Zoo’s front entry is at the highest elevation of 4,895 feet above sea level. The lowest point for guests is in Rocky Shores at 4,835 feet, making a 50 foot difference from the highest point to the lowest at the Zoo – the equivalent of about a 4-story building.
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.
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 and the R. Harold Burton Foundation, 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:
The following is a listing of all accessible tactile statues and signs in the Zoo, categorized by exhibit.
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.
Play area includes concrete statues of Utah native animals.
“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.
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, made possible by a grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums and the R. Harold Burton Foundation, 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
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’s 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 please return it at the end of the show.
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, 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.
Classroom sensory kits for teachers of SPED classrooms, made possible by a grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums and the R. Harold Burton Foundation, are available for checkout free of charge during your class field trip. Kits must be reserved at least two weeks in advance, and will be waiting at guest services on the day of your visit. After you reserve your kit, a complete inventory list will be emailed to you that you may better plan your field trip. You will need a valid photo I.D. in order to check out kits on the day of your field trip. Return the kit at guest services at the end of your field trip. Email Here to reserve your kit at least two weeks prior to your visit.
There are also teacher kits available for checkout to classrooms. These teacher kits may be checked out one at a time for two weeks, and are $10.00 to reserve. Click here to learn more information and to see a complete list of available kits.
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/sisually 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.