Information and Safety

Red Panda - Detroit Zoo

Please visit this link to review the most up-to-date information on our new safety guidelines

MASK POLICY
  • Unless otherwise prevented by a medical condition, the Detroit Zoological Society requires that all guests 5 and older wear a mask at all times while at the Zoo.
  • We all have a shared responsibility to keep guests, volunteers, staff and the animals who live here safe. Guests who do not comply with the Detroit Zoo’s policies may be escorted from the Zoo.
  • Face masks must fit properly and securely cover your mouth and nose. Face masks with vents or valves are not permitted as they do not help prevent the spread of the virus, according to the CDC. Face shields are not accepted as substitutes for masks, but they may be worn as an added layer of protection.
  • Face masks are for sale at the Detroit Zoo’s Zoofari Market.
  • Guests may temporarily remove their masks when they are eating and drinking.
  • As individuals infected with Covid can often be “asymptomatic” and still spread the virus, we encourage individuals who cannot wear a mask to rethink their Zoo visit.
  • In order to protect other guests, staff and volunteers, guests who cannot wear a mask should minimize their time in indoor spaces, and must maintain at least six feet from other guests, staff and volunteers while outdoors.
  • Enjoy our weekly Zooper Hero posts on the Detroit Zoo’s Facebook page featuring guests of all ages sporting their masks. Share your picture with us from your last visit to the Zoo for a chance to be featured!

It is our goal to make the Zoo experience one that is safe for our visitors, staff and animals. Let’s work together.  Please be respectful, help each other and help protect the endangered animals.


Convenience Rentals – TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

Korman Tadpole PlayVenture – TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

Rissman PlayVenture – TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE

 

Safety Shelters

In the event of a need for shelter, our staff will direct guests to secure areas. Shelters include all restrooms, the lower level of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the Barn, and rhino, lion, giraffe and great ape buildings. When directed to the shelter, please remain inside until staff gives the “all clear” signal.

First Aid/Lost and Found

Please contact any staff member for assistance. Adhesive bandages and sting relief are available at the Park Safety Office (First Aid/Lost and Found) near Rackham Fountain. Pain relievers, antacids, etc., are available in vending machines at certain restrooms.

Lost Children

We advise the use of name tags for small children to facilitate their return to parents or guardians. Please have a designated spot in the Zoo to meet if you and your group are separated. Lost children are taken to the Park Safety Office at the west underpass near Rackham Fountain.

Picnic Areas

Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages into the Zoo. Several picnic areas are available throughout the Zoo. Tables are on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. No personal grills or alcoholic beverages are permitted. Please refrain from bringing drinking straws and Styrofoam products into the Zoo. Open fires on the ground are not permitted.

To reserve a picnic site for corporate picnics, family reunions, etc., contact Megan Warren at (248) 336-5805, or mwarren@dzs.org.

Refreshments

There are several concession stands conveniently located throughout the park (locations open seasonally). Items that are generally available include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, hot dogs, garden burgers, French fries, pizza, potato chips, soft drinks, frozen beverages, ice cream and coffee. We also have a location with an all-vegan menu. Operated by Service Systems Associates.

Reusable Bottles and Bags

As part of our award-winning Greenprint initiative, the Detroit Zoo no longer sells bottled water, a decision that is keeping 60,000 plastic bottles out of the waste stream annually. Visitors may bring their own water bottles or purchase inexpensive reusable bottles at Zoo concessions, which can be refilled for free at one of 20 filtered-water stations throughout the grounds. Additionally, the Zoo no longer provides plastic bags for gift shop purchases; visitors are encouraged to bring their own bags or purchase wildlife-themed reusable bags at Zoofari Market, Arctic Outpost, Drake Passage Gifts or any of the souvenir stands.

  • Detroit Zoo Safety Guidelines & Updates

    Please check this page often for updates.

    We are excited to welcome you back to the Detroit Zoo! Our goal is to provide a great Zoo experience in an environment that is as safe as possible for all. To maintain the health and safety of our guests, staff and endangered animals, there are a few safety guidelines and updates we would like you to review prior to your arrival. Thank you for doing your part!

    Book Reservations    FAQs

    MASK POLICY

    • Unless otherwise prevented by a medical condition, the Detroit Zoological Society requires that all guests 5 and older wear a mask at all times while at the Zoo.
    • We all have a shared responsibility to keep guests, volunteers, staff and the animals who live here safe. Guests who do not comply with the Detroit Zoo’s policies may be escorted from the Zoo.
    • Face masks must fit properly and securely cover your mouth and nose. Face masks with vents or valves are not permitted as they do not help prevent the spread of the virus, according to the CDC. Face shields are not accepted as substitutes for masks, but they may be worn as an added layer of protection.
    • Face masks are for sale at the Detroit Zoo’s Zoofari Market.
    • Guests may temporarily remove their masks when they are eating and drinking.
    • As individuals infected with Covid can often be “asymptomatic” and still spread the virus, we encourage individuals who cannot wear a mask to rethink their Zoo visit.
    • In order to protect other guests, staff and volunteers, guests who cannot wear a mask should minimize their time in indoor spaces, and must maintain at least six feet from other guests, staff and volunteers while outdoors.
    • Enjoy our weekly Zooper Hero posts on the Detroit Zoo’s Facebook page featuring guests of all ages sporting their masks. Share your picture with us from your last visit to the Zoo for a chance to be featured!

    It is our goal to make the Zoo experience one that is safe for our visitors, staff and animals. Let’s work together.  Please be respectful, help each other and help protect the endangered animals.

    YOUR MEMBERSHIP

    If you would like to purchase or renew a membership, click here.  Please note: Temporarily, due to the pandemic and capacity limits within the Detroit Zoo, purchasing a membership does not guarantee you will be able to select any time and date to visit. While you may see openings for general admission tickets, membership slots may not be available for those same dates and times. General admission tickets are available in order to give people who may not be able to afford a membership a chance to visit. Please check back often, as we continue to open up date and time slots for members each day.

    BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

    -All guests are required to schedule their time slot on our website prior to their visit so that we can maintain capacity limits and ensure touchless transactions. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance and can be booked here. In addition to member reservations, general visitor ticket reservations are also open. At this time, members will only be able to make reservations for the people currently listed on their membership. Due to limited capacity, we also ask that members only book a reservation once every two weeks for the time being to allow other members the opportunity to visit. A limited number of general admission tickets will also be available at the gate each day with pricing of $15 per child or senior, and $19 per adult.

    -The DZS is limiting capacity at the Detroit Zoo over our 125 acres. We will be closely monitoring the situation and decide when to increase capacity limits in the days and weeks ahead.

    -After scheduling your visit, you will receive an email with your digital ticket, safety details and a digital map, as the Zoo will not be providing paper maps. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive your tickets after making a reservation. While in the Zoo, you are expected to observe the DZS’s safety practices, which follow mandates and guidelines from the state, county, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and other experts. They are posted throughout the Zoo and include wearing face coverings, following posted routes of circulation, maintaining physical distancing and adhering to personal hygiene requirements.

    -Please plan to show your ID, membership card (if applicable) and digital, or printed, timed ticket receipt and parking receipt at the Zoo admission booth.

    AS YOU ARRIVE

    -Due to the pandemic, the members-only entrance at Rackham Fountain is temporarily closed. All guests must enter through the main admission gates at the front of the Zoo.

    -Parking is available in the surface lots and only the ground level of the parking structure so you won’t need to touch elevator controls or stair rails.

    -When you arrive at the entry booths, expect single-line queuing with physical distancing markers. We ask that you maintain at least 6 feet between groups or individuals.

    -Please show your ID and membership card (if applicable) before presenting your digital or printed timed ticket to the booth attendant, who will scan it.

    AROUND THE DETROIT ZOO

    -Enhanced cleaning procedures are in place. You may notice our Clean Team disinfecting areas regularly around the Zoo.

    -Keep an eye out for visual markers to help you maintain the proper 6-foot distance from other individuals and groups at habitats, and other signage reminding you of safety guidelines.

    -Utilize the 100 accessible hand sanitizing and handwashing stations located at the entry booths and throughout the Zoo.

    -Explore Zoo Treks for information about the animals and the habitats.

    -Visitors are strictly prohibited from feeding any animal at the Detroit Zoo. Animals have specialized and nutritionally balanced diets, and throwing food and other objects into habitats risks their health and safety. Guests who violate this rule will be escorted from the Zoo.

    -Please pay attention to the signs around the Zoo alerting you to any temporary closures as well as all the safety guidelines:

    • EXPERIENCE UPDATES: All outdoor areas of the Zoo are accessible with the exception of the playgrounds, the Red Panda canopy walkway, prairie dog bubbles, and giraffe viewing deck. However, all animals are viewable from regular public pathways. Effective immediately, all indoor spaces, except restrooms, Buddy’s Pizza, Great Lakes Coffee and Zoofari Market, are temporarily closed. To help keep guests, staff and animals safe during this period of increasing COVID infections, we require all guests 5 and older to wear a mask at all times and everywhere in the zoo, unless otherwise prevented by a medical condition.
    • RESTROOMS: Restrooms have exterior doors propped open. Attendants are monitoring capacity limits and disinfecting the restrooms regularly. Every other toilet stall or urinal has been closed to ensure guests maintain physical distancing in restrooms.
    • FOOD AND GIFT OPTIONS: Buddy’s Pizza is open daily with outdoor seating that allows for physical distancing of at least 10 feet between groups. The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. is open during Wild Lights only. The Zoofari Market is open and online ordering is also available. Credit or debit cards are strongly preferred as means of payment to reduce transmission risk of handling cash.

    WHEN YOU LEAVE THE DETROIT ZOO

    -Please dispose of your gloves, masks and other personal items in the proper waste receptacles.

    EVENTS & CAMPS

    Most public events are canceled or postponed for the time being. The Detroit Zoological Society is utilizing virtual opportunities for engaging the community, including virtual events and remote learning programs. Due to health concerns and limited staffing, Safari Camps are cancelled this year. To move a camp reservation to next year, donate a reservation to DZS or receive a full refund, contact Customer Care at info@dzs.org or 248-541-5717 ext. 3304. Check out Virtual Ventures for free self-paced virtual camps including exciting animal-related content, expert interviews, hands-on activities, and much more.

    ANIMAL CARE

    Knowledge regarding potential susceptibility of animals to COVID-19 continues to emerge, and DZS protocols adapt to include new information as it is available. We are taking proactive measures to limit any potential risk to animals who live at the Detroit Zoo as we continue to properly care for them. The DZS staff is wearing personal protective equipment while caring for certain species. It is now known that lions and tigers in one U.S. zoo have contracted COVID-19 infections. In addition, current understanding of potential susceptibility of other species in zoos to infection by COVID-19, based on a number of academic studies of this and related viruses, suggests that they may be susceptible. Guests may notice a few temporary barriers in areas that might present a risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a guest to an animal. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we work to keep the animals at the Zoo healthy.

    COVID-19 WARNING

    The safety protocols and reopening information were developed after reviewing scientific data, consulting with health experts, local officials and other zoos around the world. As a visitor, you are required to follow all of the safety guidelines established by the Detroit Zoological Society. COVID-19 is a new disease that is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and even death. Older adults and people who have underlying illnesses may be at greater risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is still a risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 while in outdoor areas with other people, though it has been established that viruses do not, in general, survive sunlight/UV radiation for very long. When you visit the grounds of the Detroit Zoo, or any other public place, you are accepting there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19.

    To limit the spread of COVID-19, everyone must share the responsibility of following safety guidelines to help keep themselves and others safe. When you make the choice to visit the Detroit Zoo, you represent that you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have not tested positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks and have not been in direct personal contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks. While in the Zoo, you are expected to observe the DZS’s safety guidelines that are derived from the CDC, WHO and other experts. They are outlined above and posted throughout the Zoo and include wearing face coverings, following posted routes of circulation, physical distancing and adhering to sanitization requirements.

    The reopening information and detailed safety protocols listed here will be constantly reviewed and revised. Please check back often for updates. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work to bring YOU back to the Zoo.

  • Zoo Map


    Zoo Treks

    Navigate the Detroit Zoo from the palm of your hand!

    Explore the Detroit Zoological Society’s long history of saving animals and easily navigate the grounds of the zoo with our Zoo Trek experience.

    General Map Trek

    Explore the Detroit Zoological Society’s long history of saving animals and easily navigate the grounds of the zoo with our Zoo Trek experience.

    General Map Trek


    Sustainability Trek

    The Detroit Zoological Society is a leader in environmental sustainability. We’re working to reduce our impact on the Earth and create a better future for animals, people and the planet.  Follow this trek to see some of the important initiatives we’re undertaking, and learn how you can join us on our Green Journey.

    Launch

    The Detroit Zoological Society is a leader in environmental sustainability. We’re working to reduce our impact on the Earth and create a better future for animals, people and the planet.  Follow this trek to see some of the important initiatives we’re undertaking, and learn how you can join us on our Green Journey.

    Launch


    Wild Lights Map

    Wild Lights is truly a beautiful sight to behold, and we want to do what we can to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. The Wild Lights trail is one mile loop around the front half of the Detroit Zoo.  Printed maps will not be available. Please download/view the event map below.

    Download Map

    Wild Lights is truly a beautiful sight to behold, and we want to do what we can to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. The Wild Lights trail is one mile loop around the front half of the Detroit Zoo.  Printed maps will not be available. Please download/view the event map below.

    Download Map

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    Do I need a reservation to visit the Detroit Zoo?

    Yes, all visitors (ages 2 and up) are required to have a reservation prior to their visit in order for us to maintain capacity limits within the Detroit Zoo.

     

    Do I have to wear a face mask when I visit?
    • Unless otherwise prevented by a medical condition, the Detroit Zoological Society requires that all guests 5 and older wear a mask at all times while at the Zoo.
    • We all have a shared responsibility to keep guests, volunteers, staff and the animals who live here safe. Guests who do not comply with the Detroit Zoo’s policies may be escorted from the Zoo.
    • Face masks must fit properly and securely cover your mouth and nose. Face masks with vents or valves are not permitted as they do not help prevent the spread of the virus, according to the CDC. Face shields are not accepted as substitutes for masks, but they may be worn as an added layer of protection.
    • Face masks are for sale at the Detroit Zoo’s Zoofari Market.
    • Guests may temporarily remove their masks when eating and drinking.
    • As individuals infected with Covid can often be “asymptomatic” and still spread the virus, we encourage individuals who cannot wear a mask to rethink their Zoo visit.
    • In order to protect other guests, staff and volunteers, guests who cannot wear a mask should minimize their time in indoor spaces, and must maintain at least six feet from other guests, staff and volunteers while outdoors.
    • Enjoy our weekly Zooper Hero posts on the Detroit Zoo’s Facebook page featuring guests of all ages sporting their masks. Share your picture with us from your last visit to the Zoo for a chance to be featured!

    Does purchasing a membership automatically guarantee me a specific reservation at the Detroit Zoo?

    Temporarily, due to the pandemic and capacity limits within the Detroit Zoo, purchasing a membership does not guarantee you will be able to select any time and date slot to visit. While you may see openings for general admission tickets, that may not necessarily mean membership slots are available for those same dates and times. General admission tickets are available in order to give people who may not be able to afford a membership a chance to visit. However, we continue to open up date and time slots for members each day.


    Why are there general ticket slots available?

    General ticket admission is currently available because we don’t want to exclude anyone from visiting who may not be able to afford a DZS membership. Each day, we open up more date and time slots for members. You will be able to visit your Detroit Zoo, we just ask that you check detroitzoo.org/reservations often.


    If I’m a member, can I book more than one reservation at a time?

    Currently, we’re asking members to only make a reservation once every two weeks in order to give other members the chance to visit.


    Can I make a reservation in person?

    All guests are required to make an advance reservation prior to their visit. If you need reservation assistance, please contact us at info@dzs.org or call 248-541-5717. Please be advised we are experiencing high traffic on our reservation site and through our call center. Please try again if you have issues. Thank you for your patience as we do our best to support all of our members and guests. A limited number of general admission tickets will also be available at the gate each day with pricing of $15 per child or senior, and $19 per adult. The best way to guarantee your Detroit Zoo visit is to book your visit in advance online.


    Do I have to show up for my selected time and date slot?

    Please only make a reservation for a day and time you are planning to come. Unfortunately, we have a high percentage of members who are not showing up for their reservations, which is preventing other members from visiting.
    Visitors purchasing general admission tickets will be required to pay a change fee per ticket to visit the Zoo on a different date.


    How do I cancel my reservation?

    Members can fill out the form here or email info@dzs.org to cancel reservations. Please provide your order confirmation number.

    All ticket purchases are non-refundable. Visitors purchasing general admission tickets will be required to pay a change fee per ticket to visit the Zoo on a different date.


    Can I enter through the member-only entrance?

    Due to the pandemic, the members-only entrance at Rackham Fountain is temporarily closed. All guests must enter through the main admission gates at the front of the Zoo.


    When will the rides and attractions be open?

    At this time all rides and attractions are temporarily closed and will reopen in phases. Check detroitzoo.org/health for updates.


    What are the dining and gift options available?

    Buddy’s Pizza is open daily with outdoor seating allowing for physical distancing of at least 10 feet between groups. The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. is open weekends only. The Zoofari Market is open, and online ordering is also available. Credit or debit cards are strongly preferred as means of payment to reduce transmission risk of handling cash.


    Is the Giraffe Encounter open?

    For the safety of our animals, the Giraffe Encounter is temporarily unavailable.


    Will convenience rentals be available?

    Currently, convenience rentals are unavailable due to the public health crisis.


    Where can I find your full list of safety guidelines?

    You can read the current safety guidelines at detroitzoo.org/health. We are updating the page often.


    Can I find out which habitats are open prior to my visit?

    Yes, check out Zoo Treks to find out which habitats and indoor areas are currently open.


    Why aren’t visitors allowed to feed the animals?

    Visitors are strictly prohibited from feeding any animal at the Detroit Zoo. Animals have specialized and nutritionally balanced diets, and throwing food and other objects into habitats risks their health and safety. Guests who violate this rule will be escorted from the Zoo.


    Is the Polk Penguin Conservation Center temporarily closing for repairs?

    The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is expected to reopen in winter 2020.


    Can I bring my own food/picnic?

    Yes, you can bring in your own food, non-alcoholic beverages and cooler. Grilling on Zoo grounds is prohibited. We have a large number of picnic tables throughout the Zoo for guest use, some of which are under tents. Feel free to sit at any that are not reserved.


    Can I bring my dog/pet?

    For the safety of your pet and our animals, pets are not allowed on Zoo grounds.


    Are you open during certain holidays or in the winter?

    The Detroit Zoo is open 362 days a year; we are only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Starting in October we switch to our winter hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).


    I would like to have an event at the Zoo. How do I get information?

    We offer a large variety of unique opportunities for private events. Please visit here for more information.


    Can I rent an animal? Can I touch an animal?

    Zoo animals are cared for by specially trained keepers who, in most cases, do not come in direct contact with them. So while it isn’t possible for anyone to pet a Zoo animal or volunteer to work with them, we do have a couple of suggestions. Also, our WildLife Preserver’s “Adopt-an-Animal” program allows you to make a donation in someone’s name. It is a symbolic adoption – the donation will be used for the care of that animal – and he or she will receive a certificate and information about the animal they love.


    How long does it take to walk around the Zoo? How far is it?

    The Zoo is 125 acres. If you walk all the primary pathways on the main route, it is a 1.7-mile trip. Adding in smaller paths increases your distance.

  • Zoo Information
    Coupons

    We do not accept coupons from outside organizations, including Groupon.

    Animal Feedings/Zookeeper Talks

    Zookeeper talks are held daily at various animal habitats, giving guests the opportunity to interact with animal care staff while learning about the individuals living at the Zoo and observing them receiving treats. You can view the weekly schedule on Today at the Zoo. Additionally, food and other items are regularly hidden throughout the animals’ habitats to stimulate natural behaviors such as foraging or stalking, as part of our comprehensive program of ensuring environments for animals that are ever changing and appropriately complex. We hold several events throughout the year that coincide with a season or holiday, allowing for visitors to view this practice on a schedule, e.g., Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day and Heart Fest.

    Animal Viewing

    The Detroit Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals of 240 species and has 125 acres of expansive, naturalistic habitats designed to meet the animals’ needs. Whether or not animals are active during a specific time depends on many factors, including the species, the individual animal, and oftentimes, the temperature. We work to create habitats with complex environments that stimulate species-specific behaviors. The animals have many choices for how they spend their time – there are opportunities to patrol their habitats, wallow in the mud, climb a tree, swim in a pool, or nap in the shade. If you do not immediately see an animal, we encourage you to spend a few minutes looking around and talking to the docents who can point out the animals if they are resting somewhere.

    Giraffe Encounter – Back in action soon

    Opportunities are available for guests to feed the giraffes from an elevated viewing platform that overlooks the habitat and brings guests to eye level with the Zoo’s tallest creatures. From late spring through early fall, 50 patrons per feeding are able to purchase a ticket for $5 from the Ambassador Booth at the main entrance of the Zoo, redeemable for a supervised opportunity to feed the giraffes. Feeding opportunities are available subject to the giraffes’ appetites, the weather and special events. Feeding times may vary. There are also private dining experiences with the giraffes that guests can register for at least two weeks in advance.

    Tauber Family Railroad – Back in action soon

    The Tauber Family Railroad is operational May through September and on weekends in October. Tickets may be purchased for a one-way ride only. (Riders must disembark at the opposite train station and wait in line if they wish to reboard for a round-trip ride.) Stations are located at the front of the Zoo near the Main Entrance and in the far northwest corner of the Zoo (Africa), past the rhino habitat. Folding wheelchairs, wagons, and folding strollers can be accommodated. Rented Zoo strollers and wagons cannot be taken on the train.

    Facility Availability

    Occasionally, a building or facility may be closed to the public for part or all of a day due to animal health needs, maintenance repairs or special events. Refunds and rain checks are not available. Schedule subject to change without notice.

  • Safety and Enjoyment

    We want your visit to be pleasant and safe, so we ask that you observe the following rules:

    No-Feeding Policy
    Visitors are strictly prohibited from feeding any animal at the Detroit Zoo. Animals have specialized and nutritionally balanced diets, and throwing food and other objects into habitats may risk their health and safety. Guests who violate this rule will be escorted from the Zoo.

    No Admittance to Restricted Areas
    For your own safety and the safety of your children, NEVER get close to the animals. Do not climb over, lean on or lift children onto or over fences. Please stay out of service areas.

    Security Services
    Guests are required to abide by all posted rules and regulations and to follow the direction of Security Officers.

    • Smoking and vaping are restricted to one designated area (see map).
    • Shoes and shirts are required.
    • No obscene or indecent clothing.
    • No bicycle riding, ball or frisbee playing, skateboarding, roller or in-line skating, shoes with built-in skates, tricycles and scooters.
    • No running or jogging.
    • Segways and other similar upright assisted mobility devices are not permitted on Zoo grounds.
    • Absolutely no pets on Zoo grounds or in parking lots.
    • No grills or alcohol.
    • No distribution of merchandise or printed literature of any kind in the Zoo.
    • No collection of signatures. No solicitation.
    • No radios or televisions.
    • No balloons (they are dangerous to animals).

     

    Drone Policy
    The use or deployment of unmanned, remote-controlled, autonomous, or semi-autonomous aircraft (including drones, model aircraft, rockets, and similar aerial devices) on or over the Detroit Zoo can pose a serious and direct threat to the safety and welfare of Detroit Zoo animals, patrons, and staff. Animals may be startled or panicked by such devices, and these devices pose an immediate physical threat due to propulsion systems and/or uncontrolled flight.

    Except as specifically authorized under Federal Aviation Administration, and with the permission of the DZS Chief Life Sciences Officer and Chief Operating Officer, operation or launch of such a device from the Detroit Zoo property is prohibited. While the DZS cannot control the conduct of individuals located off Detroit Zoo property, the DZS further prohibits overflight of the Detroit Zoo by such a device, except as specifically authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration. In the event that such a device lands on Detroit Zoo property, the device will be confiscated.

  • Service Animal Admittance Policy

    Domestic  animals  may  present  a  risk  of  disease  transmission  to  other  animals  and  are  not allowed in the Detroit Zoo or the Belle Isle Nature Center unless providing assistance as a service animal to a guest.  Domestic animals can also be distracting to the animals that live at the Zoo and may pose a problem for guests who may not welcome their interaction.

    Service Animals

    The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) strives to provide a welcoming environment for a diverse audience on both campuses. If you plan to arrive with a service animal at the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center, please note that upon arrival, a member of the Park Safety team will welcome you and ensure that your service animal is qualified under the current American Disability Act guidelines. Then you will be issued a bandana to indicate that your service animal has been approved and is allowed on grounds. The bandana will be collected upon your departure. Each guest with a service animal will also be given a small collapsible water bowl for the animal’s comfort and a pet waste collection bag for convenience. The DZS staff members at each entrance will also advise you of the areas service animals are not permitted (e.g., the Australian Outback Adventure and Free-Flight Aviary at the Detroit Zoo and the Deer Encounter at the Nature Center) and let you know how to reach staff if any assistance is needed.

    Applicable service animals are limited to dogs and in some cases, miniature horses. Bona fide service animals are allowed to enter the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center to provide assistance to guests in accordance with applicable  federal, state and local regulations. Service animals must meet the following conditions:

    • Service animals must be at least 12 months of age as specified by Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 750.502c.  Animals under 12 months of age are more likely to carry parasites or other pathogens that pose a direct threat to our patrons and animal residents.
    • Service animals must be under the “effective control” of the individual with the disability, in accordance with ADA.  “Effective control” means “service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In that case the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls”.
    • Service animals must be “on duty” and accompany a person who is in need of the animal’s assistance.
    • Service animals must not threaten the health or safety of guests or animals, or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center.

    Service animals are not allowed in the following areas of the Detroit Zoo as their presence may threaten the health or safety of guests and/or animals or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo:

    • Australian Outback Adventure immersive walkway (exterior viewing is available)
    • Free-Flight Aviary
    • Simulator Ride (non-motion rides are available upon request)

     

    Service Animals in Training

    Service animals in training will be allowed in the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center subject to the following conditions:

    • The service animal must be at least 12 months of age.
    • The service animal must be under the effective control of a certified trainer or guide who possesses photo identification stating that he or she is a trainer, or an employee of a training organization, included on the Michigan Department of Labor’s list of recognized trainers.
    • Service animals are not allowed in the following areas of the Detroit Zoo as their presence may threaten the health or safety of guests and/or animals or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo:
      • Australian Outback Adventure immersive walkway (exterior viewing is available)
      • Free-Flight Aviary
      • Simulator Ride (non-motion rides are available upon request)

    Service animals that do not meet the above criteria, or otherwise threaten the health or safety of other patrons and animals, will, be denied access to, or removed from, the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center.  The guardians or owners of service animals who are denied access or removed from the premises may still enter the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center without the service animal.     The  Society  cannot  allow  animals  of  any  kind  to  be  left  unaccompanied   in  an automobile in a Zoo parking area.

    Contact us with questions about the Service Animal Admittance Policy.


    Tags: emotional-support animals, therapy dogs, support animals, emotional support animals, therapy animals

  • Special Needs

    Autism and Other Special Needs

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    The Detroit Zoological Society is committed to accommodating individuals with diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, including autism. Our staff has participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan and KultureCity’s certification process. These resources have prepared staff and volunteers at both DZS facilities on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory-overload situation. Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads are available to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Guests can check out the bags at Customer Care and the Park Safety Office. A dedicated sensory room is also available for those who may need a quieter and more secure space.

    The Detroit Zoological Society is committed to accommodating individuals with diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, including autism. Our staff has participated in the Michigan Autism Safety Training (MAST) provided by the Autism Alliance of Michigan and KultureCity’s certification process. These resources have prepared staff and volunteers at both DZS facilities on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory-overload situation. Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads are available to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Guests can check out the bags at Customer Care and the Park Safety Office. A dedicated sensory room is also available for those who may need a quieter and more secure space.

    Detroit Zoo - ADA Logo

    Additionally, social narratives about the Detroit Zoo have been developed for guests with special needs to use prior to visiting. This tool provides colorful pictures, easy-to-understand terms and a visual to reference in preparation for a visit. It also provides insight for families as to what might be too sensory-stimulating for some individuals, or how to better prepare the guest for what they might experience.

    Additionally, social narratives about the Detroit Zoo have been developed for guests with special needs to use prior to visiting. This tool provides colorful pictures, easy-to-understand terms and a visual to reference in preparation for a visit. It also provides insight for families as to what might be too sensory-stimulating for some individuals, or how to better prepare the guest for what they might experience.

    Download the KultureCity App for iOS or Android devices for resources before and during your visit. We have a strong desire to be autism- and special needs-friendly, and hope all families have an enjoyable experience the Zoo!

    Download the KultureCity App for iOS or Android devices for resources before and during your visit. We have a strong desire to be autism- and special needs-friendly, and hope all families have an enjoyable experience the Zoo!

    Detroit Zoo and Autism Narrative (PDF)

     


     

    Mobility Hearing Accessibility
    Guest Amenities Available for Rent or Deposit Wheechairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (EVC)s are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Assistive Listening Devices are available in the Ford Education Center Theater for our guests with mild to moderate hearing loss. Electronic-assist doors are located in the Ford Education Center and Arctic Café.
    Rental Locations The Chrysler Main Train Station and Africa Train Station are open for rentals April through October. The Guest Relations Office has rentals available during the winter months. All restrooms are equipped with an accessible stall.
    Other Rental Information Must be 18 years of age or older to rent ECVs. No reservations accepted. Available on a same-day basis and may only be used inside the Zoo.
    Other Rental Information Segways are prohibited at the Detroit Zoo; however, if you have a personal Segway and a physician’s note indicating that the Segway is a prescribed mobility device, you will be offered the use of an ECV or wheelchair free of charge. If you would like to have a sign language, oral or cued speech interpreter, please call 248-541-5717 x3750 at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour, education program, etc. Please be specfic about the type of interpreter, e.g., ASL or signed English.
    Safety in the Zoo Mobility scooters/EVCs: Please keep your speed to the walking speed of those around you.
    Safety in the Zoo Adjust and lower speed while maneuvering through enclosed spaces such as restrooms, merchandise and food and beverage locations.
    Safety in the Zoo Park your device in safe locations clear from walkways and stairs.
    Safety in the Zoo In the event of an evacuation, guests may be required to walk certain distances and navigate stairs or narrow walkways. In this case, please have a member of your party assist you or wait in a vehicle for assistance.
    Safety in the Zoo Some attractions require guests to transfer from their wheelchairs or ECVs to the attraction. Zoo staff are not permitted to physically assist guests in the transfer.

     

    Mobility

    • Wheelchairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (EVC)s are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • The Chrysler Main Train Station and Africa Train Station are open for rentals April through October. The Guest Relations Office has rentals available during the winter months.Must be 18 years of age or older to rent ECVs. No reservations accepted. Available on a same-day basis and may only be used inside the Zoo.
    • Segways are prohibited at the Detroit Zoo; however, if you have a personal Segway and a physician’s note indicating that the Segway is a prescribed mobility device, you will be offered the use of an ECV or wheelchair free of charge.
    • Mobility scooters/EVCs: Please keep your speed to the walking speed of those around you.
    • Adjust and lower speed while maneuvering through enclosed spaces such as restrooms, merchandise and food and beverage locations.

    Hearing

    • Assistive Listening Devices are available in the Ford Education Center Theater for our guests with mild to moderate hearing loss.
    • If you would like to have a sign language, oral or cued speech interpreter, please call 248-541-5717 x3750 at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour, education program, etc. Please be specific about the type of interpreter, e.g., ASL or signed English.

    Accessibility

    • Electronic-assist doors are located in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, Ford Education Center and Arctic Café.
    • All restrooms are equipped with an accessible stall.