Gold award for accessibility at zoo

Larry Bush and the zoo's customer experience and events coordinator, Rhian McIntosh.

Larry Bush and the zoo's customer experience and events coordinator, Rhian McIntosh. - Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

A zoo in Wraxall has won three regional South West tourism awards.

The first ever virtual ceremony took place over Zoom on April 22, with Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm winning all three of awards it was nominated for.

The zoo, in Clevedon Road, received a bronze award for large visitor attraction of the year, a bronze award for ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism and a gold award for accessible and inclusive tourism.   

The team was particularly thrilled to have received the gold award after a huge push by the zoo to become accessible for all visitors. Its Ark for All initiative, which started in 2018, aims to support all visitors in having a great visit to the zoo.

In recent years, the initiative has seen the installation of a changing places toilet complete with hoist and changing bed, accessible play equipment, accessible signs as well as improving their car park to make it more accessible to wheelchair users.

The zoo's team has also undertaken training in autism, mental health awareness and British Sign Language.

The increase in accessibility and inclusivity has seen a sharp rise in the numbers of visitors with disabilities and their families visiting the zoo.  

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This year’s ethical responsible and sustainable award was sponsored by South West Water. Therefore, a real emphasis was put on water conservation at this year’s awards.

The zoo harvests a huge amount of rainwater from the roofs of their animal houses which can be used to fill pools for animals and to water plants.   

Larry Bush, the zoo's managing director, said “We are absolutely thrilled to have received these awards which highlight the dedication of our talented and committed team.

"Accessibility is such an important aspect of tourism and at Noah’s Ark we’re working hard to be as inclusive and accessible as we can through our improved facilities and through awareness and training of our team.

"It’s a huge honour to be recognised for our progress with these tourism awards.”

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