Belfast Zoo
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Visitors on the Autism spectrum

We are proud to be a family-friendly visitor attraction. We recognise that visiting with individuals on the autism spectrum can be challenging and we want to support families as much as possible to ensure you have a stress-free, fun day.

Plan your day

Download our 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. You can use the guide to prepare the family for your trip to the zoo, letting everyone know what they can expect and to minimise any potential stress. 

Zoo map 

At the zoo

Beat the queue

If you are visiting the zoo during a busy period when queuing in the visitor centre is higher than normal, you can join our fast track queue or 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, National Autism Card or JAM 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.

Prices 

To avail of our free carers offer you will need to 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. 

If you require more information, call us on 028 9077 6277 (extension 201). 

Visual menus 

Ask the team 

All of our staff have recently completed training with Autism NI and will be happy to assist you in any way possible, during your visit. All staff can be identified by the zoo uniform. 

Our top tips

  • Provide a bracelet or name tag with contact details and anything else we should know if an individual becomes separated from your group. 
  • Bring along ear plugs or headphones. Areas of the zoo can become crowded and noisy. 
  • Bring a favourite device or activity, such as a tablet, video game, book or anything else you think might distract them and keep them entertained during any periods of waiting.
  • Provide 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. 

Zoo events

Quiet hour

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. Normal admission applies on these days. 

Sensory day

Following the success of quiet hour, we will ran our first ever sensory day. This allows families to enjoy the zoo in a stress-free way with fast track entry, sensory activities and availability of a quiet room. The event  allows families to explore the sights and sounds of the zoo in a calm and relaxed atmosphere. 

Other zoo events 

If you are planning to visit the zoo for one of our special events, contact our team to discuss your requirements in more detail. 

Disabled Go website 

For more information about accessibility at Belfast Zoo, visit our profile information at www.disabledgo.com