Hellabrunn Zoo has installed a new platform stairlift in the aquarium to ensure barrier-free access to the marine life exhibit for all.
The latest renovation work represents an important step towards reducing structural barriers in all animal houses. Other improvements for the aquarium include a new signage concept to educate zoo guests about ocean biodiversity. With the installation of the platform stairlift in the aquarium, Hellabrunn Zoo now provides barrier-free access for visitors in all its animal houses. Situated below the Venomous Snake Room, the spacious marine life exhibit features a fascinating collection of aquatic worlds, including a large shark tank. The new stairlift allows wheelchair users and visitors with reduced mobility to access this subterranean area and discover the colourful fresh and salt water worlds and the creatures that inhabit them. New animal signs were also installed in the aquarium, which are designed to be more user-friendly through the use of plain language and now feature the same format displayed in the zoo’s other animal houses. All educational content is available in German and English.
The animal signs offer visitors basic information such as the scientific and common name of the species, conservation status, geographic range, size and habitat. The new monitors installed allow more space for displaying fascinating facts and leave sufficient space on the glass panels for observing all the aquatic creatures. The uniform system makes it easier to display up-to-date information on all species on view. Hellabrunn has been offering visitors an inclusive barrier-free zoo experience for many years. In 2017, the Bavarian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Family and Integration awarded the Munich zoo the “Barrier-free Bavaria – We’re on board!” label for its commitment to accessibility.
For Verena Dietl, chair of the supervisory board and mayor, the new features represent another important step for improving accessibility at the zoo: “With the installation of the stairlift and the new educational elements, Hellabrunn Zoo underlines its commitment to make all areas of the animal park accessible to guests with reduced mobility and to make the educational displays available to all.”
Zoo director Rasem Baban explains what the upgrade means for Hellabrunn: “In view of our commitment, which has been recognised with an award by the Bavarian state, we are very pleased about this new feature to improve accessibility and would like to take this opportunity to thank the Bert Fanselau Foundation for their support. We have already made the 15 km of visitor paths at Hellabrunn fully accessible for guests with reduced mobility and can now offer access for all to the Hellabrunn Aquarium, a facility with fascinating marine biodiversity housed in a historic building under the Venomous Snake Room, as we strive to continuously improve our inclusion concept. For us, this is an important step towards making the nature and educational experience available for all visitors, including those with disabilities, and providing better access during their visit.”
Education and accessibility at Hellabrunn Zoo
At Hellabrunn Zoo, visitors with accessibility needs can discover the diversity of life through a variety of barrier-free exhibits, interactive learning stations and user-friendly animal signs. This can be experienced above all in the Species Conservation Centre, which features exhibitions on conservation projects around the world sponsored by Hellabrunn Zoo, the importance of biodiversity, and the role zoos play in global species conservation. Education stations dotted around the zoo, such as the eye-catching tree and animal info panels, the interactive bird song station featuring the calls of 27 native bird species, step-free viewing areas and animal signs positioned at an easily accessible height with audio and QR code options demonstrate the zoo’s inclusion commitment to provide equal access for all visitors to the biodiversity experiences.