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Africa Alive Zoological Reserve

Whites Lane, Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 7TF

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Access Guide

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Introduction

Opening Times

  • The venue has seasonal opening times.
  • Comments View
    • Opening times vary by season:
    • 1st November - 3rd March: 09:30-16:00
    • 4th March - 30th June: 09:30-17:00
    • 1st July - 31st August: 09:30-17:30
    • 1st September - 31st October: 09:30-17:00.

Location

  • There is not a bus stop within 150m (164yds) of the venue.
  • The nearest National Rail station is Oulton Broad South.

Parking

  • The venue does have its own car park.
  • Venue Car Park View
    • Parking is free for all users.
    • The car park is located to the east of the zoo entrance, off Whites Lane.
    • The car park type is open air/surface.
    • Parking spaces for Blue Badge holders cannot booked in advance.
    • There is/are 10+ Blue Badge parking bay(s) within the car park.
    • The dimensions of the Blue Badge parking bay(s) are 315cm x 510cm (10ft 4in x 16ft 9in).
    • The nearest Blue Badge bay is 32m (34yd 2ft) from the Main Entrance.
    • The furthest Blue Badge bay is 94m (102yd 2ft) from the Main Entrance.
    • The route from the car park to the entrance is accessible to a wheelchair user with assistance.
    • Assistance may be required because there is/are loose chippings.
    • The car park surface is loose chippings.
    • There is not a road to cross between the car park and the entrance.
    • The car park does not have a height restriction barrier.
  • Drop-off Point View
    • There is not a designated drop off point.

Access Point (Main Entrance)

  • Access Point View
    • This information is for the access point located to the east of the zoo, leading in from the car park.
    • There is not an information board/map at this access point.
    • There is step-free access at this access point.
    • There is a gate which opens away from you (push).
    • The gate is permanently held open.
    • The width of the gap is 117cm.
    • There are kiosks next to the gates, used for purchasing tickets or validating pre-booked tickets. The counters at these kiosks are 100cm high.

Outside Access (Gift Shop - South)

  • Entrance View
    • This information is for the entrance located to the south of the gift shop.
    • There is ramped/sloped or stepped access at this entrance.
    • The main door(s) open(s) towards you (pull).
    • The door(s) is/are easy to open.
    • The door(s) is/are double width.
    • The width of the door opening is 156cm.
    • There is a small lip on the threshold of the entrance, with a height of 2cm or below.
    • There is a second set of doors.
    • The door(s) open(s) automatically.
    • The door(s) is/are double width.
    • The width of the door opening is 163cm.
    • There is a small lip on the threshold of the entrance, with a height of 2cm or below.
  • Ramp/Slope View
    • The ramp/slope is located to the right of the steps.
    • The gradient of the ramp/slope is slight.
    • The ramp/slope is permanent.
    • There is a level landing at the top of the ramp/slope.
    • There is not a/are not handrail(s) at the ramp.
    • The ramp/slope does bypass the step(s).
  • Step(s) View
    • The step(s) is/are located to the left of the entrance.
    • There is/are 2 step(s).
    • The step(s) is/are clearly marked.
    • The height of the step(s) is/are between 15cm and 18cm.
    • The height of the step(s) is/are 16cm.
    • There is a/are handrail(s) at the step(s).
    • The handrail(s) is/are on the right going up.
    • Handrails are at the recommended height (90cm-100cm).
    • Handrails do cover the flight of stairs throughout its length.
    • Handrails are not easy to grip.
    • Handrails do not extend horizontally beyond the first and last steps.

Outside Access (Gift Shop - East)

  • Entrance View
    • This information is for the entrance located to the east of the gift shop.
    • There is step-free access at this entrance.
    • The main door(s) open(s) towards you (pull).
    • The door(s) is/are easy to open.
    • The door(s) is/are double width but one door is locked.
    • The width of the door opening is 74cm.
    • There is a small lip on the threshold of the entrance, with a height of 2cm or below.

Inside Access (Gift Shop)

  • There is not level access to the service(s).
  • There is not a hearing assistance system.
  • This venue does not play background music.
  • Motorised scooters are welcomed in public parts of the venue.
  • The lighting levels are moderate to good.
  • Comments View
    • Part of the gift shop is accessed by a single clearly marked step, bypassed by a slight ramp (see separate Level Change section).

Level Change (Gift Shop)

  • There is a ramp/slope to access this area/service.
  • The ramp/slope is located to the left as you enter the gift shop from the South Entrance.
  • The ramp/slope gradient is slight.
  • The ramp/slope is permanent.
  • There is a level landing at the top of the ramp/slope.
  • The ramp does have handrails.
  • The handrails are on both sides.
  • There is a/are step(s) to access this area/service.
  • The step(s) is/are located to the left as you enter the gift shop from the South Entrance.
  • There is/are 1 step(s) to the area/service.
  • The lighting levels at the step(s) are moderate to good.
  • The step(s) is/are clearly marked.
  • The step(s) is/are medium height (11cm - 17cm).
  • There is not a/are not handrail(s) at the step(s).
  • The ramp/slope does bypass the step(s).

Counter (Gift Shop)

  • The counter is 7m (7yd 1ft) from the main entrance.
  • There is level access to the counter from the entrance.
  • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the counter.
  • The height of the counter is 100cm (3ft 3in).
  • There is not a lowered section.
  • There is not a hearing assistance system.
  • Lighting levels are moderate to good.

Outside Access (Guest Services)

  • Entrance View
    • This information is for the entrance located to the east of the zoo, opposite the Somali Wild Asses.
    • There is ramped/sloped access at this entrance.
    • The main door(s) open(s) towards you (pull).
    • The door(s) is/are permanently held open.
    • The door(s) is/are double width but one door is locked.
    • The width of the door opening is 84cm.
    • There is a small lip on the threshold of the entrance, with a height of 2cm or below.
    • There is a second set of doors.
    • The door(s) open(s) away from you (push).
    • The door(s) is/are double width but one door is locked.
    • The door(s) is/are permanently held open.
    • The width of the door opening is 84cm.
    • There is a small lip on the threshold of the entrance, with a height of 2cm or below.
  • Ramp/Slope View
    • The ramp/slope is located directly in front of the first set of doors.
    • The gradient of the ramp/slope is steep.
    • The ramp/slope is permanent.
    • There is not a level landing at the top of the ramp/slope.
    • There is a/are handrail(s) at the ramp.
    • The handrail(s) is/are on the right going up.
  • Comments View
    • The ramp has an uneven surface of loose chippings.

Counter (Guest Services)

  • The counter is 9m (9yd 2ft) from the entrance.
  • There is level access to the counter from the entrance.
  • There is sufficient space to write or sign documents on the counter.
  • The height of the counter is 72cm (2ft 4in).
  • There is not a hearing assistance system.
  • Lighting levels are moderate to good.

Parks and Gardens (Zoological Reserve)

  • The park or garden does have footpaths.
  • The path(s) has a / have compact earth, tarmac, concrete, gravel and muddy surface(s).
  • The majority of the path(s) is / are wide enough for wheelchair users.
  • There are slight and steep slopes on the paths.
  • There are bench seats situated along the paths for people to rest.
  • Comments View
    • Picnic tables designed for wheelchair users are available (shown in photograph 4).
    • From the entrance, there is step-free access to all areas of the zoological reserve. There is also level or slight ramped/sloped access to the vast majority of the site, although there are a few steep ramps/slopes in places.
    • Mobility aids are available to hire - Wheelchairs Free, Powered Mobility Scooters £10, Single Pushchairs £10, Double Pushchairs £12. Please speak to a member of staff in the Gift Shop to arrange rental, or contact the venue in advance.
    • There are maps and information boards situated throughout the zoo (example shown in photograph 8).

Flamingo

  • The Flamingo enclosure is located opposite the Parkside Pizza restaurant north entrance and toilets. The indoor area for the flamingos can be seen through a window that is at a suitable height for a wheelchair user to look through. The lake area can be seen through a glazed screen. Both of these are located on a level surface of concrete tiles.
  • The rest of the enclosure is a walk-through exhibit, accessed through a double (with one leaf locked) gate that opens away from you (push) and is 122cm wide. Beyond this is an additional gate with an opening width of 93cm. Both gates are hard to open (heavy). There is a similar setup at the exit, located to the north of the enclosure.
  • The path through the flamingo enclosure has a gravel surface.
  • At time of survey (August 2023), there was a disinfection mat at the entrance and exit to the walk-through section. This creates a short (6cm) step into and out of the area.
  • Information boards are at a suitable height for a wheelchair user, easy to read and presented in contrasting colours.

Kalahari Sands - Meerkat and Yellow Mongoose

  • Kalahari Sands is located in the northern portion of the zoo. Information boards are at a suitable height for a wheelchair user, clearly written and presented in contrasting colours. There are gravel and block paving paths around the edge of the enclosure, and a concrete path through the middle of the enclosure. All paths have a slight gradient and no handrails. All paths are over 150cm wide.
  • The indoor portion of the enclosure is viewed though glazed screens, which are at a suitable height for a wheelchair user to look through.

Aardvark House

  • The Aardvark House is an indoor exhibit located in the northern portion of the zoo. It is accessed by double, manual, heavy doors with an opening width of 156cm. Alternatively, there is a single, manual, heavy door with an opening width of 78cm. Both sets of doors open away from you (push).
  • There is a steep ramp to access the Aardvark House with a minimum width of 85cm. The ramp does not have any handrails.
  • As well as Aardvarks, the indoor exhibit contains Spiny Mice, Royal Pythons, Plated Lizards, and Malagasy Giant Jumping Rats. All enclosures are viewed through glazed screens at a suitable height for wheelchair users. Information boards are clearly written and presented in contrasting colours, but some may be too high for a wheelchair user to read.
  • Lighting levels are low inside.
  • There is also an Aye Aye enclosure within the building. It is accessed via a clearly marked 4cm step and is behind a curtain. Lighting levels are very low here.
  • Visitors are asked to keep noise to a minimum here to avoid disturbing the animals.

Lemur Encounters Walk Through

  • The Lemur Encounters Walk Through enclosure is located to the west of the zoo. It is open from 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00. Visitors enter and exit the walk-through exhibit through two sets of single, manual, heavy doors, which open away from you (push) and are 77cm wide. They are opened by push buttons 115cm from the ground.
  • There is a level path with an uneven surface of loose chippings through the enclosure. Information boards are easy to read and presented in contrasting colours, and are at a suitable height for wheelchair users to read.
  • There is a hand washing station by the exit doors. The sinks are 72cm high and have push taps. The soap dispensers are 102cm high, and the hand dryer is 112cm high.

Zebra, Ostrich and Blesbok Stables

  • The Zebra, Ostrich and Blesbok Stables are located to the south-east of the zoo. There is a steep ramp with no handrails to access the viewing areas for the indoor part of this enclosure. The viewing windows are at a suitable height for wheelchair users to look through. Information boards are clearly written and presented in contrasting colours, although some may be too high for wheelchair users to read.
  • There is a canopy affording weather protection here, as well as bench seating. The path around the enclosure has a block paving surface.

Rhino House

  • The Rhino House is located in the centre of the zoo. It is accessed by one of two sets of double, manual, heavy doors which open towards you and are 168cm wide. They are permanently held open in the summer months.
  • There is shiny concrete flooring inside the Rhino House. Lighting levels are low to moderate. Information boards are clearly written and presented in contrasting colours, although some may be situated too high for wheelchair users to read.

Giraffe House

  • The Giraffe House is located to the south-west of the zoo. It is accessed via double, manual, heavy doors which open towards you (pull) and are 150cm wide. They are permanently held open during the summer months.
  • Lighting levels in the building are moderate to good.
  • There is level access to the Giraffe House via a block paving surface. The flooring inside is concrete. Information panels are clearly written, presented in contrasting colours, and at a suitable height for wheelchair users to read.

Kingdom of the Lion

  • The Kingdom of the Lion enclosure is located in the centre of the zoo. There is a level path with a tarmac and concrete surface around the outdoor viewing areas. The indoor viewing area is located on two levels. To access the upper viewing area, there are 13 clearly marked medium height steps with handrails on both sides, bypassed by a steep ramp which also has handrails on both sides. To access the lower viewing area, there are 4 steps, 3 of which are clearly marked, but one is not. They are medium height and have handrails on both sides, and are bypassed by slight ramp with no handrails.
  • There is a wooden decked surface in the upper viewing area, including on the ramp and steps used to access it. This may be slippery when wet.
  • There is a block paved surface in the lower viewing area, including on the ramp and steps used to access it.
  • Information panels are clearly written and presented in contrasting colours, although some of these are too high for a wheelchair user to read.

Discovery Centre for Conservation Education

  • The Discovery Centre for Conservation Education is located in the centre of the zoo, next to the Parkside Pizza Restaurant. There is one set of double, manual, heavy doors which open towards you (pull) to enter the building. They are permanently held open and 158cm wide. There is a slight slope with a concrete surface directly in front of the doors which does not have handrails.
  • Inside, lighting levels are moderate to good. There is vinyl flooring with a shiny finish. The building contains information and exhibits about wildlife and conservation aimed at children, as well as a few smaller animals on display. All displays are at a suitable height for wheelchair users to read/view, and information is easy to read and presented in contrasting colours. There is some seating without armrests, most of which is designed for children. There is ample space for wheelchair users to manoeuvre here.
  • Interactive talks and presentations are held here, mostly aimed at children.

Eating and Drinking (Woodlands Food Kiosk)

  • The following information is for the café.
  • The café is located to the south-east of the zoo.
  • Full table service is not available.
  • Food or drinks are ordered from the service counter.
  • Food or drinks can be brought to the table.
  • There is not a lowered section at the counter.
  • No tables are permanently fixed.
  • All chairs are permanently fixed.
  • No chairs have armrests.
  • The nearest table is approximately 3m (3yd 10in) from the kiosk.
  • The standard height for tables is 70cm.
  • There is ample room for a wheelchair user to manoeuvre.
  • Plastic / takeaway cups are available.
  • Plastic / takeaway cutlery is available.
  • Drinking straws are available.
  • Menus are wall only.
  • Menus are not available in Braille.
  • Menus are not available in large print.
  • Picture menus are not available.
  • Menus are clearly written.
  • Menus are presented in contrasting colours.
  • The type of food served here is hot and cold drinks and snacks.

Toilet with Adaptations (Parkside Pizza - Right Hand Transfer)

  • Accessible toilet facilities are available.
  • Location and Access View
    • There is pictorial and written text signage on or near the toilet door.
    • This accessible toilet is approximately 71m (77yd 1ft) from the Main Entrance.
    • This accessible toilet is located to the north side of the Parkside Pizza restaurant building, opposite the Flamingo enclosure.
    • There is level access to this accessible toilet.
  • Features and Dimensions View
    • This is a shared toilet.
    • A key is not required for the accessible toilet.
    • The door opens outwards.
    • The door is locked by a locking handle.
    • The width of the accessible toilet door is 105cm (3ft 5in).
    • The door may be difficult to open.
    • The dimensions of the accessible toilet are 199cm x 235cm (6ft 6in x 7ft 9in).
    • There is sufficient turning space in the cubicle for a wheelchair user.
    • There is a lateral transfer space.
    • As you face the toilet pan the transfer space is on the right.
    • The lateral transfer space is 129cm (4ft 3in).
    • There is a dropdown rail on the transfer side.
    • There is a flush, however it is not on the transfer side.
    • The tap type is lever.
    • There is a mixer tap.
    • There is an emergency alarm.
    • The emergency pull cord alarm is not fully functional.
    • The alarm was out of reach (higher than 10cm (4") from floor) when surveyed.
    • Disposal facilities are available in the cubicle.
    • There is a/are sanitary, non-infectious waste and open waste paper bin disposal units.
    • There is a/are coat hook(s).
    • The height of the coat hook is 147cm from the floor.
  • Position of Fixtures View
    • Wall mounted grab rails are available for the toilet.
    • As you face the toilet the wall-mounted grab rails are on both sides.
    • There is not a shelf within the accessible toilet.
    • There is a mirror.
    • Mirrors are not placed at a lower level or at an angle for ease of use.
    • The height of the toilet seat above floor level is 48cm (1ft 7in).
    • There is a hand dryer.
    • The hand dryer cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The hand dryer is not placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • There is not a towel dispenser.
    • There is a toilet roll holder.
    • The toilet roll holder can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The toilet roll holder is not placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • There is a wash basin.
    • The wash basin cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The wash basin is not placed higher than 74cm (2ft 5in).
  • Colour Contrast and Lighting View
    • The contrast between the external door and wall is good.
    • There is a high colour contrast between the internal door and wall.
    • The contrast between the wall-mounted grab rail(s) and wall is fair.
    • There is a fair colour contrast between the dropdown rail(s) and wall.
    • The contrast between the walls and floor is fair.
    • The lighting levels are moderate to good.
  • Baby Change Facilities View
    • Baby change facilities are located within the venue.
    • Baby change facilities are located in the Parent and Baby Room next to the Parkside Pizza Standard Toilets.
    • The height of the baby change table once extended is 67cm (2ft 2in).

Standard Toilet(s) (Parkside Pizza)

  • Availability and Location of Standard Toilets View
    • Standard toilet facilities are available.
  • Access to Standard Female and Male Toilet(s) View
    • The female and male toilet facilities that were surveyed are located to the north side of the Parkside Pizza restaurant building, opposite the Flamingo enclosure.
    • The female and male toilets are approximately 71m (77yd 1ft) from the Main Entrance.
    • Inside the venue, there is level access to the female and male toilets.
    • Lighting levels in the female and male toilets are moderate to good.
  • Baby Change Facilities View
    • Baby change facilities are located within the venue.
    • Baby change facilities are located in the Parent and Baby Room next to the Parkside Pizza Standard Toilets.
    • The height of the baby change table once extended is 67cm (2ft 2in).
    • Inside the venue, there is level access to the baby change facility.

Parent and Baby Room (Parkside Pizza)

  • There is a parent and baby room for public use.
  • The parent and baby room is located to the north side of the Parkside Pizza restaurant building, opposite the Flamingo enclosure.
  • The parent and baby room is approximately 71m from the Main Entrance.
  • There is step-free access to the parent and baby room.
  • Staff do not need to be notified for use of the room.
  • There is pictorial and written text signage on or near the parent and baby room door.
  • The baby change table is not set against the wall, permanently fixed at 75cm from the floor.
  • The baby change table is not height adjustable.
  • The height of the baby change table once extended is 67cm (2ft 2in).
  • There are disposal facilities in the parent and baby room.
  • There is a wash basin in the parent and baby room.
  • The height of the wash basin is 82cm.
  • The wash basin tap type is push.
  • There is a/are chair(s) in the parent and baby room.
  • There is a chair with armrests on both sides.
  • There is not a toilet in the parent and baby room.
  • There is not a red flashing fire alarm beacon within the room.
  • The lighting levels are moderate to good.

Toilet with Adaptations (North - Right Hand Transfer)

  • Accessible toilet facilities are available.
  • Location and Access View
    • There is pictorial and written text signage on or near the toilet door.
    • This accessible toilet is approximately 375m (410yd 4in) from the Main Entrance.
    • This accessible toilet is located to the north of the zoo, next to the Kalahari Sands (Meerkat and Yellow Mongoose) and Aardvark House enclosures.
    • There is not level access to this accessible toilet.
  • Features and Dimensions View
    • This is a shared toilet.
    • A key is not required for the accessible toilet.
    • The door opens outwards.
    • The door is locked by a locking handle.
    • The width of the accessible toilet door is 83cm (2ft 9in).
    • The door is easy to open.
    • The dimensions of the accessible toilet are 151cm x 220cm (4ft 11in x 7ft 3in).
    • There is not sufficient turning space in the cubicle for a wheelchair user.
    • There is a lateral transfer space.
    • As you face the toilet pan the transfer space is on the right.
    • The lateral transfer space is 85cm (2ft 9in).
    • There is a dropdown rail on the transfer side.
    • There is a flush on the transfer side.
    • The tap type is lever.
    • There is a mixer tap.
    • There is an emergency alarm.
    • The emergency pull cord alarm is fully functional.
    • Disposal facilities are available in the cubicle.
    • There is a/are sanitary and non-infectious waste disposal units.
    • There is not a/are not coat hook(s).
  • Position of Fixtures View
    • Wall mounted grab rails are available for the toilet.
    • As you face the toilet the wall-mounted grab rails are on both sides.
    • There is not a shelf within the accessible toilet.
    • There is a mirror.
    • Mirrors are not placed at a lower level or at an angle for ease of use.
    • The height of the toilet seat above floor level is 47cm (1ft 7in).
    • There is a hand dryer.
    • The hand dryer cannot be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The hand dryer is not placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • There is not a towel dispenser.
    • There is a toilet roll holder.
    • The toilet roll holder can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The toilet roll holder is not placed higher than 100cm (3ft 3in).
    • There is a wash basin.
    • The wash basin can be reached from seated on the toilet.
    • The wash basin is not placed higher than 74cm (2ft 5in).
  • Colour Contrast and Lighting View
    • The contrast between the external door and wall is good.
    • There is a high colour contrast between the internal door and wall.
    • The contrast between the wall-mounted grab rail(s) and wall is poor.
    • There is a poor colour contrast between the dropdown rail(s) and wall.
    • The contrast between the walls and floor is good.
    • The lighting levels are moderate to good.
  • Baby Change Facilities View
    • Baby change facilities are located within the venue.
    • Baby change facilities are located within this accessible toilet.
    • The height of the baby change table once extended is 83cm (2ft 9in).
  • Comments View
    • There are slight and steep slopes on the paths through the zoological reserve from the main entrance to reach this toilet block. There is then a slight ramp with no handrails directly in front of the toilet door (see separate Level Change section).

Standard Toilet(s) (North)

  • Availability and Location of Standard Toilets View
    • Standard toilet facilities are available.
  • Access to Standard Female and Male Toilet(s) View
    • The female and male toilet facilities that were surveyed are located to the north of the zoo, next to the Kalahari Sands (Meerkat and Yellow Mongoose) and Aardvark House enclosures.
    • The female and male toilets are approximately 375m (410yd 4in) from the Main Entrance.
    • Inside the venue, there is not level access to the female and male toilets.
    • Lighting levels in the female and male toilets are moderate to good.
  • Baby Change Facilities View
    • Baby change facilities are located within the venue.
    • Baby change facilities are located within the North accessible toilet, next to these facilities.
    • The height of the baby change table once extended is 83cm (2ft 9in).
    • Inside the venue, there is not level access to the baby change facility.
  • Comments View
    • There are slight and steep slopes on the paths through the zoological reserve from the main entrance to reach this toilet block. There is then a slight ramp with no handrails directly in front of the toilet doors (see separate Level Change section).

Level Change (North Toilet Block)

  • There is a ramp/slope to access this area/service.
  • The ramp/slope is located directly in front of the toilet doors.
  • The ramp/slope gradient is slight.
  • The ramp/slope is permanent.
  • There is not a level landing at the top of the ramp/slope.
  • The ramp does not have handrails.

Additional Info

  • Documents are not available in Braille.
  • Documents can be requested in large print.
  • A bowl of water can be provided for an assistance dog.
  • An assistance dog toilet area can be provided onsite.
  • The assistance dog toilet area is located on grassed areas anywhere around the site.
  • A member of staff trained in BSL skills is not normally on duty.
  • This service can be requested.
  • Comments View
    • Should you plan to bring an assistance dog to the zoo, it is requested that you inform the Guest Services team at least 48 hours before your intended visit. They can be contacted at [email protected] or on 01953 887771 extension 260.