Besides requesting written information, you may wish to ask specific questions to assist in planning your visit, including:
- Is there an accessible or an easy entrance into the zoo? Most zoos, museums, or aquariums have several entrances into their building or park. Some entrances can be very difficult because of terrain or the design of the building. Several older buildings have accessible entrances that might be located away from the main entrance or main parking areas. Rather than hunting for the best place to enter, ask the staff members for their opinion and directions.
- Are there accessible parking spaces by this entrance? Some entrances are still quite a distance from the accessible parking spaces. Try to find out which one is the best.
- Is there a drop-off area near an accessible or an easy entrance? If you are traveling with a friend who is driving, he or she might be able to drop you off near the entrance before parking. This can cut down on your travel time and allow more energy for the rest of the day.
- Another option may be public transportation that stops at or near an entrance. Some public bus systems will stop at a main entrance. Other systems, such as a subway or train station, might provide a shuttle bus to bring people to the institution.
- Are certain days or times of the year busier than others? Some institutions can have 30,000 to 40,000 visitors in one day. These days can be difficult for a person with a disability. Longer waits in lines, more people using auxiliary aids, harder-to-see exhibits, less of a chance to use interactive features, etc., can make for a long, tiring and sometimes frustrating day.
- Most zoos cover many acres. If you are going to be walking, consider planning your route by locations of water fountains and benches. Ask if the map shows the location of water fountains. These areas typically will have benches nearby.
- Are there special programs and/or demonstrations planned for the day you'd like to attend? Many free demonstrations occur during each day. Check to see if specific times are scheduled, where the activity is located, and if a reservation is needed. Some demonstrations might be limited by space and require a reservation.
- Are there any places to touch or see animals up close? Specific areas might provide these opportunities. If you have a group, you might be able to schedule a specific time. For these types of programs or activities, try to do them early in the day. Late mornings and afternoons can get very crowded and make the experience more difficult.