I’ve been wanting to go to Paradise Wildlife Park for quite a while so when the weather was still nice and warm in September we decided to go and have a look. Apparently Paradise is well known for it’s accessibility so I was quite excited to go and test it myself..
So it all starts with the (online) price of course: A normal ticket price costs £20.21 when a disabled ticket incl carer costs £15.98. I’m always a big fan of places that sell disabled tickets at a lower rate and it’s even better if the carer gets in for free because let’s be honest, disabled life is more than expensive enough already. I’d like to say that you don’t have to be in a wheelchair to get the disabled rate, in that case you do need to show your blue badge, access card or a doctors note.
Once I got inside the park I was pleasantly surprised. Most places are flat and the ground is easy to roll on. I have a manual wheelchair with wheeldrive (basically when I push there’s a battery that helps me) and I never had to use full power because of ground type, so that was great.
The enclosures are super clean and quite big so the animals had more than enough space (something I always look for when I go to animal places, it’s so important) and I was happy when I saw that some enclosures with glass had viewing points where the glass was lower than others, I’m guessing it’s mostly done for children but as a wheelchair user it’s actually great for us too. What surprised me the most is when I saw there was actually multiple ramp access to different kind of enclosures! The ramps were big, safe and even had antislip things on them so this way if it would rain or there’d be snow, you could still use it!!
There’s one very long ramp going to the enclosures of the white panthers and other animals, that way you can watch them when they’re sitting up their platforms having a nap. I have to say that one is quite long and steep so my boyfriend had to help me up and in all honesty I wouldn’t have been able to go up there without him, even with the help of my Wheeldrive. Up there there’s also a restaurant but the food is the same as the others on ground level. If you cannot take the ramp, don’t worry, you can still see all the animals on ground level, you might just have to look up a little.
During the day there are several feedings where the keepers explain the animal’s behavior but also their little (or sometimes big) personalities. If you absolutely want to see your favourite animal being fed and you’re in a wheelchair I do advise you to be at the enclosure for a good 15 minutes beforehand. People tend to try and get a good spot early and often don’t bother to give you a space so you can watch from your wheelchair. This isn’t something the keepers can help you with (which is totally normal) which is why I advise you to get there a bit early. I saw the otters and red panda’s being fed and it was so so cute!
The facilities at the park are great as well. There are 2 disabled access toilets at 2 different places of the park. One at the Animal Park and another at the main car park alongside the Discovery Centre with both left and right handed opening doors, there’s also a hoist and bed. Let’s be honest this is a lot more than most places do.
Paradise Wildlife Park also does animal experiences, which we didn’t do this time but I’d absolutely love to. According to their site the majority of these experiences are suitable for disabled visitors. The Meerkat and Lemur ones are fully wheelchair accessible (both £99 each).
So long story short I think we can all agree that Paradise Wildlife Park are nailing it for wheelchair accessibility. I absolutely enjoyed my visit to the park and I’ll definitely visit the park again!
Would you like to visit the park and experience it all yourself? You can click here for their site!