The best summer activities for animal-loving families with special needs



Seeing new places and going on family outings are a big part of the summer holidays - and when it comes to the most popular activities, seeing different animals and wildlife is at the top of the list. Sara and Michaela give us their thumbs up and thumbs down on accessible spots.


Photographs: Givskud Zoo FB Page

Text: Michaela Medveďová & Sara R. Newell


For families with special-needs children, deciding where to spend the day goes deeper than which activity is the closest or most convenient. Some considerations might include if there are wheelchair ramps, appropriate sanitary facilities, or if support animals are welcome.

In this issue, we hope to help give an overview of different activities centred around animals and wildlife, along with an overview of which of the considerations and requirements these destinations fulfil.


We used a heart ranking to classify destinations according to how well they cater to families with special needs. We hope this will help inform potential visitors about disability facilities and services they can expect.


Attractions are given a heart symbol for each of the following disability facilities or services:

  • Accessible toilet

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table

  • Wheelchair ramps

  • Acknowledgement of the sunflower lanyard

  • Support animals are permitted

  • Wheelchairs or similar are available to rent or borrow

  • Companion tickets are available


Furthermore, attractions are given an extra heart symbol if information regarding disability facilities and services is available on their websites. Attractions are given up to 8 hearts in total.


Sunflower lanyard

The sunflower represents non-visible or hidden disabilities - such as mental health conditions, autism, chronic pain and conditions, or speech or sense impairment. As these disabilities are invisible to the outside world, others might not understand enough of your need for more support or additional time.


When worn on a lanyard, this internationally recognised symbol can signal your needs to those who already acknowledge the Sunflower Programme. You can get a lanyard at https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/dk/


God Adgang

God Adgang, or “good access”, is an association that provides information about activities and companies which chose to become registered at God Adgang. The site https://godadgang.dk/ includes information about disability accessibility for the registered places.



Our top 3 picks

Our heart rankings showed that Givskud Zoo was our overall winner, with a total of 8 hearts. Not only does Givskud Zoo cater to families with special needs, but Givskud also goes the extra mile by offering specially designed swings for children who are wheelchair users. In shared second place with seven hearts was Copenhagen Zoo, which is very disability friendly and even hands out sunflower lanyards on-site, although full-sized changing tables aren’t available. The Copenhagen Zoo also shared second place with Odense Zoo with seven hearts. Even though full-sized changing tables aren’t available, the zoo is disability-friendly and just recently entered the Sunflower programme and is now handing out sunflower lanyards.


Our bottom three received the least number of hearts either because they did not provide disability facilities or services and/or because they did not answer our enquiries about whether these facilities or services were available. Our bottom three were: Aqua Aquarium & Dyrepark with three hearts, Ree Park Safari with four hearts, and Fjord & Bælt with four hearts. Let’s hope they can improve their services for all!


GIVSKUD ZOO

https://www.givskudzoo.dk




  • Accessible toilets, as well as a mobile person lift to assist wheelchair users.

  • Fully accessible toilets with changing tables for both children and adults. Hoist available.

  • Ramps are limited, but there are paths from the different areas in the park, so ramps aren’t necessary to see many animals. It is also possible to book a ride around the park on a jeep (although it is not possible to take a wheelchair), which is an excellent way to see all the animals for people who have trouble walking long distances. Givskud is a member of God Adgang.

  • Givskud Zoo acknowledges the sunflower lanyard.

  • Service animals are welcome, although taking them to all zoo areas is impossible. More information about guidelines regarding service animals is available on the website.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but it is best to book in advance.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • Information regarding disability facilities and services can be found on the website.


COPENHAGEN ZOO

https://www.zoo.dk/




  • All places with toilets also include accessible toilets. However, there are no accessible toilets in the Children’s zoo.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • The zoo is accessible and a member of God Adgang.

  • The zoo acknowledges the sunflower lanyard and gives them out to anyone who asks.

  • Guide dogs and service dogs are welcome.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but booking one before your visit is best. A phone number is available on the website.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort (a companion card). For example, if a disabled person buys a zookort (zoo card), it can be issued with a companion card which is not issued with a specific name on it, so various assistants and helpers can use it. More information can be found on the website.

  • Information regarding most disability facilities and services can be found on their website.


ODENSE ZOO

https://www.odensezoo.dk/




  • There are toilets accessible to people with a handicap.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • Most of the zoo has wheelchair-friendly paths. Wheelchair users can also enter the various restaurants in the zoo. Not a member of God Adgang.

  • Odense Zoo became part of the Sunflower Programme and gives sunflower lanyards out to anyone who asks.

  • Service dogs are welcome.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but booking one before your visit is best. A phone number is available on the website.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort or are a wheelchair user.

  • Information regarding most disability facilities and services can be found on their website.


DEN BLÅ PLANET

https://denblaaplanet.dk/





  • There are three accessible toilets.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • Most indoor and outdoor areas are accessible and offer good conditions for wheelchair users - Den Blå Planet is a member of God Adgang. The few places that are not fully accessible are detailed on the website. However, most of them can be accessed from elsewhere. In addition, tables and digital screens are also at a height suitable for wheelchair users, and Den Blå Planet caters to the blind, visually, and hearing impaired guests.

  • No acknowledgement of the sunflower lanyard.

  • Guide dogs are welcome everywhere except for the rainforest area (due to possible infections and high-stress levels).

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but it is best to book in advance. A phone number is available on the website. Visually impaired visitors may borrow a Victor Stream player or an SD card with audio information about the specific areas in the aquarium.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • Detailed information regarding the available disability facilities and services in the zoo can be found on their website.


AALBORG ZOO

https://aalborgzoo.dk/





  • Accessible toilets are placed at different locations around the zoo.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • Ramps are limited, but there are paths from the different areas in the park, so ramps aren’t necessary to see most animals. Member of God Adgang.

  • Aalborg Zoo doesn’t acknowledge the sunflower lanyard at present.

  • Service animals are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but it is best to book in advance.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort or a personal helper.

  • Information regarding disability facilities and services is partially available on the website.


KATTEGATCENTRET

https://www.kattegatcentret.dk/





  • There is an accessible toilet available.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • Ramps are limited, but an elevator between floors makes it possible to see most of what the aquarium offers. Not a member of God Adgang.

  • Kattegatcentret doesn’t acknowledge the sunflower lanyard at present.

  • Service animals are welcome as long as they are on a leash.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but it is best to book in advance.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • Information regarding disability facilities and services is partially available on the website.


KNUTHENBORG SAFARIPARK

https://knuthenborg.dk/





  • There are accessible toilets in two places - directions can be found on the website.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • Some animals can be viewed by car, but for other experiences, there are paved roads or gravel pedestrian paths that can be accessed with a wheelchair. Not a member of God Adgang.

  • No acknowledgement of the sunflower lanyard.

  • Service dogs are welcome for day visitors, but you are not allowed to bring one for an overnight stay.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed as long as they are available. More information is available on the website.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • Information regarding most disability facilities and services can be found on their website.


FJORD & BÆLT

https://fjordbaelt.dk/




  • The accessible toilet is on the first floor, accessed by an elevator.

  • Fully accessible toilet with change table - not available for adults.

  • The entirety of Fjord & Bælt should be accessible. However, it might take a bit longer to get into some parts of the exhibitions as there are nooks and crannies. If level differences cannot be overcome, there is always a different way to access the area. Not a member of God Adgang.

  • Sunflower lanyard - unknown.

  • Guide dogs are welcome if they are up to date with vaccinations.

  • Wheelchair rentals - unknown.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • Information regarding most disability facilities and services can be found on their website.


REE PARK SAFARI

https://reepark.dk/




  • There are seven accessible toilets.

  • Hoist not available. Change table available but not suitable for adults over 50 kgs.

  • Ramps are very limited, but there are paths from the different areas in the park, so ramps aren’t necessary to see many animals. It is also possible to book a ride around the park on a range rover, which is an excellent way to see all the animals for people who have trouble walking long distances. However, getting in and out of a range rover might not be possible for some wheelchair users. Member of God Adgang.

  • Sunflower lanyard - unknown.

  • Service animals are not permitted.

  • It is possible to rent a wheelchair or an electric scooter for 50 DKK and 200 DKK per day. However, it is best to book in advance and rent an electric scooter because of the distances between animals.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • There is some information about disability services on the website, but there isn’t much information.


AQUA AKVARIUM & DYREPARK

https://visitaqua.dk/




  • Accessible toilets - unknown.

  • Change table and hoist - unknown.

  • Ramps are limited, but an elevator between floors makes it possible to see most of what the aquarium offers. Not a member of God Adgang.

  • Sunflower lanyard - unknown.

  • Service animals are not permitted.

  • Wheelchairs can be borrowed, but it is best to book in advance.

  • Companion tickets are available if you have a ledsagerkort.

  • There is some information about disability services on the website, but there isn’t much information.


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