As we celebrate Changing Places Awareness Day on July 19, Australia Zoo is delighted to announce the opening of a new Changing Places facility, making a real difference to the lives of people with high support needs who will be visiting and spending their day at the zoo.
These facilities are larger than standard accessible toilets with an adult-sized changing table, ceiling hoist, a peninsular toilet, privacy screen and additional circulation space to meet the various needs of people with complex disabilities.
Owner of Australia Zoo, Terri Irwin, was the driving force behind this project and is immensely thrilled upon its completion, passionate to provide the most comfortable and easiest facility to use for people with high support needs.
“I am exceedingly proud of our team at Australia Zoo who built this remarkable facility, a passion project that has beautifully come to life. We are so happy to open a Changing Places within Australia Zoo,” said Irwin.
“We are the only zoological destination in Queensland, and one of only two locations on the Sunshine Coast to introduce a Changing Places facility. This is an excellent milestone to accomplish, and we look forward to welcoming visitors with high support needs to use this facility comfortably, with plenty of space for them, their family or carer,” she said.
Changing Places is beyond excited for the opening of this facility, helping more people who require support flourish in the community and participate in social or family outings without any exclusion.
“We could not be prouder to see Australia Zoo open its doors to people with high support needs and their carers. When you build a Changing Places, you’re unlocking the world to people with disabilities, their carers, family and friends,” said a spokesperson.
“As an incredibly popular tourist destination, it’s great to see Australia Zoo leading the way in creating tourism opportunities for all Australians,” they said.
Changing Places first launched in the United Kingdom in 2006. Upon requesting relevant design specifications, the first facility in Australia was opened in Melbourne in 2014. Today, there are 1619 facilities in the United Kingdom, and 177 facilities in Australia, now with the newest addition open at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast.
Here at Australia Zoo, whilst we continue Steve’s dream of a world where humans and wildlife live harmoniously alongside each other, it is an honour to be able to provide facilities such as Changing Places that make visiting the zoo a real possibility to those who previously may not have been able to visit.
Australia Zoo’s Changing Places facility is located within close proximity to the Admissions area or the Otter habitat, and is accessible for guests during regular operating hours, 9:00am-5:00pm daily. Carers of visitors with high support needs who present a Companion Card receive free entry to the zoo, and can access the facility using an MLAK key. If the carer does not have access to the key, one can be requested from the Australia Zoo team.