I grew up in Manchester, about an hour away from Blackpool. So Blackpool was always at the top of the list for a family day out. And it still is. Surprisingly, before yesterday, I had never visited Blackpool Zoo. I think the lure of the arcades and fairground rides meant we never got as far as the zoo. We now have a disabled family member with limited mobility. It has been a real eye-opener. It’s been interesting to see how conducive it is to have a family day out with a disabled visitor. And Blackpool Zoo made it possible for us all, even their disabled guest, to have a fabulous day.
Visiting Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool Zoo was very easy to find. The attraction is well signposted and not too far from Blackpool’s other attractions. There is a large visitor’s car park with an overspill car park for busier periods. Parking was £3.00 for the full day.
We booked our tickets in advance and showed them to the cashier on arrival. Although we did book online, we didn’t have to choose a time slot, which gave us the flexibility to arrive whenever we chose.
There is a large gift shop on site which you have to walk through when exiting.
There are a number of toilets dotted around throughout the site. These were clean and well marked on the zoo map.
There is a relatively large play area for children.
And also a children’s farm area.
This houses some farmyard animals and also an additional play area.
Blackpool Zoo for Disabled Visitors
Blackpool Zoo is great for disabled visitors and those with mobility issues as it is mostly flat ground.
A number of the attractions, such as the elephants, the giraffes and the orangutan enclosures were accessible via a ramp. It was good to see that significant attempts have been made to make all attractions accessible to as many people as possible. Furthermore, the orangutans, wolves, giraffes and elephants can be seen from more accessible viewing platforms. Therefore those who are unable to walk up or down the ramps are not missing out on seeing any of the animals.
It is really refreshing to see that a huge amount of consideration has gone into ensuring disabled people are not excluded from any of the attractions.
There are disabled toilets throughout Blackpool Zoo as well as parent and toddler bathrooms. This is a fantastic idea – it prevents parents from having to use disabled facilities. For example, Dads quite often go take their children into disabled toilets if they need to take their daughters to the bathroom as attractions don’t always consider these conundrums.
Blackpool Zoo also has plenty of seating areas and benches throughout the site.
Although Blackpool Zoo does not offer a mobility scooter hire service, wheelchairs can be hired from the zoo for a £20 refundable deposit. The website does give a number for a local company from whom you can hire a mobility scooter.
Disabled parking is located close to the entrance. Disabled visitors do have to pay for their parking. There is a machine which is close to the disabled parking bays. The machine close to the disabled bays was out of order when we visited. Because there was ample disabled parking, we were able to drive to another machine without having to worry about losing a disabled parking spot.
A carer can visit for free with a disabled visitor (the disabled person pays full price for the ticket). Proof is required upon entry, e.g. a blue disabled badge (this can be a photo of the badge) or a letter stating the person’s status as a carer.
Like everyone else, whenever we visit zoos, we like to see that the animals are properly taken care of. We all commented on how well treated the animals at Blackpool Zoo are. All of the enclosures were incredibly clean.
We don’t usually watch animal shows because we don’t like the notion of animals being deprived of food if they don’t perform well etc. But having witnessed the care given to the animals, we thought we would see what the sea lion show was like.
The sea lions had a large pool and were not asked to perform tricks in the traditional way. The keepers explained that much of the movements were useful for performing vital health checks on the animals. Nevertheless, if any animal didn’t like the notion of having dozens of visitors staring at them, they could go and swim in the pool and still have their fill of fish.
Like many zoos, Blackpool zoo recognises its important role in conservation. There were multitudes of information boards examining the various ways the zoo is involved in the conservation of the various species they house. The boards also contained lots of information for adults and children to read about each animal. And where relevant, how the environment of that species is being affected.
Many of the enclosures allowed visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. For instance, Aurelia sat with an orangutan.
They both seemed to look at each other with wonder through the glass that separated them.
There were plenty of viewing windows which enables visitors to feel rather close to the lions.
Indeed the viewing windows on the penguin tank made them feel incredibly close!
It was amazing to see a tiger so close through one of the viewing windows.
We were able to view the giraffes, not only from outside but also inside their paddock too.
The elephant paddock was also accessible to visitors too. We had the opportunity to see these beautiful animals eat.
My daughter and I were really keen to see the wolves (our favourite animal). It was amazing to see them from the viewing platform as we looked down on these magnificent creatures.
Blackpool Zoo is home to an array of birds. Some of these can be seen in the aviary. Walking through the aviary was quite the experience. Some of the birds were incredibly exotic and swooped and dipped as we walked.
There were many many more animals we experienced. Here are some pictures of just a few.
Aside from the animals, Blackpool Zoo is home to some other creatures. Dinosaurs! We had so much fun walking around the Dinosaur Safari.
The dinosaur models are incredibly lifelike. Some of them move, make noises and one even squirts water!
Again, the Dinosaur Safari was on flat ground and really accessible for those with limited mobility/in a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
As we strolled through the safari, we could hear the Jurassic Park theme tune playing in the background. Just to enhance the Jurassic experience!
What a fabulous day!
For similar posts, see my adventures category.