Belfast Zoo is located on a beautiful hilltop site on the northern edge of Belfast. It is situated on the historic Cave Hill which dominates the local skyline to provide stunning views across Belfast Lough.
Development of a number of loops ranging from flat to steep gradients throughout the 55 acre site enhances the unique setting of Belfast Zoo. To help visitors navigate the more challenging hill routes we have created a free Zoo map (PDF - 653KB) which details each loop based on level of difficulty.
Entrance to Belfast Zoo allows visitors to spend the day at their own leisure so we recommend planning your routes in advance so visitors can view all animal enclosures and make the most of the picturesque local landscape.
Wheelchair and mobility access
The zoo was designed in a number of loops (such as the elephant and giraffe loop) to provide flatter areas after each uphill climb. By following these recommended routes and with a little planning, you'll be able to see the majority of enclosures around the zoo.
Disabled parking spaces are available for Blue Badge holders at the top end of our car parks. Blue Badges must be properly displayed on the vehicle dashboard with the side showing the wheelchair symbol facing forward.
Our visitor centre is fitted with an induction loop hearing system. If you’d like to use this please advise a member of our staff and switch your hearing aid to T.
All of our toilets are accessible.
Manual wheelchairs are available at the zoo. Please call us on 028 9077 6277 to check availability and to reserve one. The wheelchairs are booked on a first come, first served basis.
To gain free carer’s admission the carer must: provide proof in the form of documentation to show that you are in receipt of carer’s allowance, a doctor’s letter or other relevant paperwork. Alternatively the visitor who requires a carer can provide evidence of their disability.
Due to the steep hills, we can’t provide electric scooters. But, you are allowed to use your own electric scooter at your own risk. You’ll need to sign a disclaimer at the zoo entrance and follow the recommended route.
Double and triple pushchairs
You may experience problems in accessing some of our standard single doorways with some double and triple pushchairs.
Only registered assistance dogs are allowed into the zoo, as stated in the regulations of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA). These regulations state that:
- all registered assistance dogs must be up to date with all inoculations.
- dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and under strict control.
- dogs must not be allowed to fowl anywhere in the zoo grounds. Any incidents should be cleared away by their owners.
Please do not encourage your dog to look at the animals or lead them directly to the windows. This disturbs the zoo animals and can be stressful for them. Dogs are only allowed into the park to assist the visitor.
Zoomobile – accessible buggy
Coming soon. Call back for more information.
Visitors on the autism spectrum
We regularly run ‘quiet hour’ mornings which allow visitors on the autism spectrum, their family and friends to enter the zoo an hour early at 9am. This is an opportunity to enjoy the peace and quiet of the zoo for an hour before it opens to the general public.
The Lion’s Den Restaurant and the Treetop Tearoom will not open until 10am on these mornings.
Normal admission applies and you must book the event in advance by calling us on 028 9077 6277.
There are no quiet morning dates at this time.
If you are visiting the zoo during a busy period when queuing in the visitor centre is higher than normal, use the double doors to enter our Zoovenir Shop and approach a member of staff who will make all reasonable attempts to assist you. You must display your Autism Alert card to avail of this queue busting service. You can also call our team in advance to find out the best time to visit or to identify how busy the zoo is on a specific date.
Download a visual guide
We have developed a visual guide, which has been designed to let you know what you can expect from your visit to Belfast Zoo and to help you plan your day.
- A bracelet or name tag with contact details and anything else we should know if they become separated from your group.
- Ear plugs or headphones. Areas of the zoo can become crowded and noisy.
- A favourite device or activity. Bring their tablet, video game, book or anything else you think might distract them and keep them entertained during any periods of waiting.
- Reinforcers for good behaviour. The average visit to the zoo is three hours, so these may be useful.
- The sights, sounds, smells and movements through the zoo might become overwhelming so a sensory toy could be useful.
- If you are planning to visit the zoo for a special event, contact our team to discuss your requirements in more detail.
Get in touch
If you would like more information or have any queries, contact our visitor services team on 028 9077 6277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org