This weekend we got to meet my best friend’s family at the zoo. We haven’t seen them since July of last year!! We had such a wonderful day together.
I was pretty nervous when we initially discussed going to the zoo. Walking much is difficult for me, especially if it includes a lot of standing or few places to rest. Zoos are typically large and require a lot of walking. I would be with my husband and friend though, and they’re two of the best people in general and also in making sure I have what I need.
This is my review of the Metro Richmond Zoo in Richmond VA.
This zoo was supposedly small. I checked the website for accessibility information. Good job with the website for planning purposes! Parking was close to the entrance with quite a few handicap designated spots, and all parking was free. We had tickets for the opening time and arrived early and were able to park just behind those spots; thankfully since I accidentally left my placard in the other vehicle. They advertised resting areas on their website and indeed had plenty of benches throughout and covered pavilion and picnic areas. The website also offers a map that put me a bit more at ease before our trip. The pathways were wide, clean, and in good condition; all were wheelchair accessible. The paths were also lined with railings for safety and also gave a good spot to perch if you needed a handrail or spot to slump for a few.
The Metro Richmond Zoo offers wheelchair rental. The wheelchairs are the ones with small wheels with a lever across the seat back that mean someone needs to hold the lever down to disengage the parking safety (see picture example), and I would not be able to wheel myself around any for independence or be able to give them a break. I rested and elevated for a couple of days before the trip in hopes that I could try walking with my brace first and then get a wheelchair, if needed. We took lots of breaks. There were a couple of hills that took quite a bit of effort to get over.
The zoo had a tram to see the safari portion of the grounds and allowed me to pause and watch animals while also taking a load off. Each tram ride can only accommodate one wheelchair though. The waiting area for the next ride had benches, and there was a stow spot for wheelchairs and strollers for those that could be kept in the waiting area if the person can transfer to a tram seat. There was also a skylift, which we did not ride. The website says, “Safari Skylift can be stopped for anyone who might need extra time boarding. Participant will be required to transfer from wheelchair to skylift chair.”
We managed to cover the zoo in a couple of hours. What a great time at this zoo! If you are within driving distance or happen to be visiting the Richmond VA area, check it out!