Posted 29.04.2021

Full Press Release below from Belfast City Council

Belfast Zoo will reopen to the public on Friday 30 April and will open its new Changing Places facility for the first time. The Changing Places facility is a specialist accessible toilet with changing facilities, providing people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, their carers, assistants and families the confidence to enjoy a day out at Belfast Zoo.

The accessible facility is designed with enough space and equipment for people who are not able to use the toilet independently. Located in the zoo’s Visitor Centre, the space offers a height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a ceiling mounted hoist, a centrally placed toilet with space either side, non-slip floor, privacy screen, adjustable washbasin and emergency alarm.

Lord Mayor, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, who visited the new facility ahead of the zoo reopening to the public, said:

It is vitally important that we do all we can to ensure our facilities and venues are as accessible as possible, for all our visitors and citizens, and I’m delighted that this Changing Places facility is now open. We want to offer the best possible experience for anyone who visits Belfast Zoo, and this is an important step forward in making it more accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Karen Hoe, MDUK Changing Places Development Officer said:

Changing Places toilets are a lifeline for more than a quarter of a million disabled people across the UK. In Northern Ireland, having access to one of the Changing Places toilets can make a world of difference for people with conditions like muscular dystrophy, ensuring greater independence and making planning days out much easier.

Andrew Smyth, Changing Places Specialist at Sync Living said:

This facility will mean that guests can enjoy a wonderful day out at the zoo, without fear of having to cut their day short due to inadequate changing facilities. It is great to see Belfast Zoo and Belfast City Council acting upon their commitments to inclusivity and accessibility, promoting well-being for all.

In addition to the new Changing Places facility, Belfast Zoo recently upgraded its accessible car parking bays to provide direct low-level access to the zoo’s Visitor Centre. Visitors to the zoo can avail of a range of accessible provisions at Belfast Zoo such as a wheelchair-friendly guided tour of the zoo (booking essential), free entry for carers, free wheelchair hire, free audio tour and fast track access for visitors with sensory requirements.

Access to the Changing Places facility is available during the zoo’s opening hours:  Monday-Sunday 10am-6pm from April – September and 10am – 4pm from October – March. For further information on accessibility at Belfast Zoo please visit

Photo caption: Belfast Zoo reopening with new accessible Changing Places toilet facility

Notes to editors

  • Belfast Zoological Gardens is owned and operated by Belfast City Council.
  • Belfast Zoo will reopen to the public on Friday 30 April under strict health and safety measures which adhere to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.

    Some of these precautions include:
  • Visitor numbers limited per day
  • All visitors must book tickets in advance
  • Visitors must follow a one-way system which is clearly marked
  • Floor markings illustrate 2-metre distances to manage queues
  • Protective screening is in place at all contact points
  • Indoor animal areas remain closed until further notice
  • Keeper talks and animal feeding times are temporarily unavailable
  • Zoo café will offer takeaway options only
  • Hand sanitiser stations are available throughout the zoo site

For more information and details on our full safety measures, please read our frequently asked questions (FAQs):

For all the latest zoo news please visit:


For further information, contact:

Sarah Boyd, Marketing & Events Officer

[email protected]

028 9077 6277