The San Diego Zoo provides special parking, rest rooms, and access to shows, tour buses, and exhibits for guests with disabilities. There are ASL “signed” bus tours available for the hearing impaired; please call in advance to arrange for an interpreter at 619-231-1515, ext. 4526. Please note there are steep grades in parts of the Zoo, and assistance is recommended for those with limited mobility. A free shuttle bus operates inside the Zoo for those with limited mobility. For safety purposes, it is not recommended for guests in wheelchairs to use the moving walkways. Again, shuttle assistance can transport disabled guests to their desired location. For information about service animal access, please call 619-231-1515, ext. 4526, Monday through Friday.
All disabled guests must pay admission fees to the Zoo. The Zoo provides free admission for a personal attendant/caregiver to accompany a guest who requires such help to access the public programs, activities, and facilities of the Zoo. On seven-day advance notice, guests who use manual wheelchairs or who are blind or have low vision can request the assistance of a staff member, free of charge, for up to four hours while on Zoo property. Please keep in mind that while all Zoo personnel may provide minor assistance, they are not trained to and are not allowed to lift a guest out of his/her mobility device or provide assistance with medication or help of a personal nature.
Our bus tour offers space to store folding wheelchairs. Before boarding, it is recommended that you notify the bus attendant to reserve seats in the wheelchair area of the bus for other members of your party. Those guests in a non-folding wheelchair may leave it at the loading facility to be picked up at the end of the bus tour.
Guests with limited mobility may also enjoy spectacular views of the Zoo and surrounding Balboa Park from our Skyfari aerial tram. Those guests in folding wheelchairs may have their wheelchairs transported ahead by a gondola to be available upon their arrival at the opposite terminal. Those who have non-folding or electric wheelchairs may leave their wheelchair at the terminal and take a round trip.
For guests with disabilities who choose to bring their trained service animal into the Zoo, a copy of our guidelines for service animals may be obtained in the Security office. A kennel is available for those who choose to leave their service animal during their stay on Zoo grounds. (Pets and service dogs in-training are not allowed inside the Zoo.)
All services and attractions are listed in the guide map. If you need more information or assistance during your visit, please ask any available employee, who can contact someone to help you. If you have additional questions about visiting the Zoo that have not been answered, please contact us.
Mobility Assistive Device Policy
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The safety of our visitors is extremely important to us. The Zoo is a primarily pedestrian environment. By “pedestrian,” we mean any individual who moves within walking areas with or without the use of walking-assistive devices such as crutches, leg braces, wheelchairs, etc. Park attendance is often at high capacity, resulting in busy pedestrian pathways. Our goal is to maintain a safe pedestrian traffic flow for all visitors while allowing for use of mobility assistive devices that do not fundamentally alter the nature of the experience the Zoo provides.
To maintain a safe pedestrian environment and the desired pace and flow of visitor traffic, the Zoo does not allow guests to bring or use most wheeled vehicles within the grounds. Bicycles, tricycles, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, and similar modes of transportation are not allowed. The Zoo allows strollers as well as the following mobility assistive devices for use by guests with disabilities: wheelchairs, electric scooters, and Segways. All Segways entering the Zoo must be operated in “turtle” mode so as not to disrupt the desired pace of visitor traffic and disturb other guests.
The Zoological Society of San Diego reserves the right to modify this policy at any time as it deems appropriate.
If you have any questions about our Mobility Assistive Device Policy or other access questions prior to your visit, please call our Access Coordinator at 619-231-1515 ext. 4526.