Melbourne Zoo – Accessibility Review

Majestic and thirsty Indian Elephant at Melbourne Zoo

DATE of VISIT: June 2018

VENUE: Elliot Avenue, Parkville, Victoria, Australia


PURPOSE: Melbourne Zoo is part of the Zoos Victoria group. According to  Zoos Victoria’s website their vision is : ‘As a world leading zoo-based conservation organisation, we will fight extinction to secure a future rich in wildlife.’

I had a hankering to visit our local Melbourne Zoo after not visiting for over 15 years with, of course, our young children. We enjoyed it then and there have many significant modifications and renovations made since.

Now that my awareness of the ecological and environmental impact from our human species has grown I was incredibly impressed with the standard of the animal housing and the educational and conservational messages that the Zoo proactively shares.

On top of that there was nary a step to be seen within the grounds – all exhibits were wheelchair friendly. I took my power chair and was very comfortable all day.

Melbourne Zoo’s website is very comprehensive with accessible information including the car parking.

The Zoo has plenty for everyone and focusses heavily on being sustainable, educational and environmentally and animal friendly. There are many interactive displays for children of all ages along many of the walkways and paths including bush settings to run through as if you were an animal, press button animal statues that emit the appropriate animal noise and investigative games. There are also stacks of activities on their website and the Twilight Zoo in warmer months is a great visit.

In my power chair I  could fit in around people and the viewing areas were reasonably generous but I had forgotten just how crowded the Zoo always seems to be. I must admit I have never seen so many prams en masse for years and they’re so big now too. For once I didn’t feel apologetic taking up more space than I used to.

REST ROOMS: The many toilets were dotted around the grounds and each section had one toilet that was accessible – shared with ambulant patrons. They were clean and had grab rails, under sink roll in space and plenty of space to manoeuvre a chair and a helper. (No truly accessible review would be complete without the ‘loo pic’)

PARKING: This was my only sticking point. There appear to be hundreds of ‘normal’ parking bays but only 13 accessible carparks overall. The Zoo is right on the train line and there is a drop off zone at the Elliott Ave entrance as alternatives and they are building more car spaces so hopefully this ratio becomes a lot better than it currently is.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Kids are free and the Zoos Victoria are part of the Companion Card and Carer Card schemes.

Free wheelchair hire is also available.

If you enjoy  beautiful, varied landscape settings and wish to appreciate our world’s wonderful creatures  I thoroughly recommend Melbourne Zoo for wheelchair users of all ages.

Check out more reviews such as Yarra Valley’s Alowyn Gardens  

and my my post about self acceptance, Ableist Me

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