Accessibility at the JMZ

Two children sit side by side: one in a wheelchair, and one on the netting of the Tree House

The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo welcomes visitors of all ages and abilities. Here are a few of the ways we prioritize accessibility during the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo experience.  

Reduced Admission 

We understand that expenses relating to a child’s disability can often leave families with little disposable income for museum visits. Visitors with disabilities and their immediate family and care providers qualify for reduced tickets at $3.00 each.  

On-Site Accessibility 

  • Our staff is trained to assist visitors with various disabilities. You can always let us know if there’s something we can do to make your visit more comfortable and fun!  

  • Service animals are allowed if they meet ADA’s definition as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.”  

  • A large print and tactile 3D map is located at the entrance to the museum and at the entrance to the zoo. 

  • Labels throughout the museum and zoo include QR codes with audio recordings in both English and Spanish. 

  • There are 3 accessible parking spaces and 1 accessible EV charging only space at the front entrance. There are also 2 accessible parking spaces and 2 accessible EV charging only spaces located further away in the lot, and an accessible loading zone near the front entrance.  

A child in a wheelchair gets a masked kiss from a parent while at the JMZ

Visitors who have limited mobility 

  • The JMZ is wheelchair accessible. Many exhibits have multiple access points for visitors using wheelchairs. Our Tree House has a wheelchair accessible elevator and pathways to climbing areas. There are wheelchair transfer stations at the climbing nets in the tree house, the underwater tunnel in the zoo, and at the gravel dig in the outdoor dawn redwood garden. 

  • All restrooms are accessible. Adult-sized and infant changing tables are available in both the women’s and men’s restrooms. A family restroom is available for visitors with disabilities. 

  • Wheelchairs, wheelchair tables, and a portable stool are available to borrow during your visit. 

  • Seating is located throughout the museum and zoo.

Child with vision impairment using a braille sign

Visitors who are blind or have low vision 

  • There is a large print and tactile 3D map at the entrance to the museum and at the entrance to the zoo.  

  • The zoo contains many life-like, touchable bronze animal sculptures. Animal Tactile Touch Kits with braille labels are available to borrow. 

  • Labels throughout the museum and zoo include braille and QR codes with audio recordings in both English and Spanish.  

  • A braille and large print guide is available to borrow during your visit. The multi-page guide includes text from exhibit and zoo animal labels, a tactile map, images of zoo animals, and QR codes to connect you with audio recordings of our labels.  

Something to note: 

The QR code reader on the camera of newer iPhones do not work well for people who are blind or with vision loss. Here are a few solutions that will simplify access to our QR code Audio Labels: 

  • If you have an iPhone and use the Control Center feature on it, you can add the Code Scanner widget, which is different from using your camera because it identifies the QR code and automatically directs you to the audio link. Here are directions to add the widget to your control center: 

1.      Open Settings 

2.      Select Control Center 

3.      Add Code Scanner 

4.      Close Settings 

5.      Try out by opening the Control Center 

6.      Click on Code Scanner 

7.      Scan a QR code 

Visitors who are deaf or have hearing loss 

  • Assisted listening devices are available for classrooms, Wildlife Circle presentations, and other events. Please let our staff know if you need assistance.  

  • A portable hearing loop is located at the front desk to assist visitors who have hearing aids with T-coils. Headphones are also available for the hearing loop.  

  • American Sign Language Interpretation is available free of charge for visits to the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo. Please contact us at or (650) 329-2111 at least two weeks before your visit so we can arrange for an interpreter.  

A family of four relaxes in a calming nook at the JMZ

Visitors with autism and sensory sensitivities 

  • Calming nooks in the museum and the zoo provide a quiet place for families to take a break. While all are welcome, the Calming Nook areas are designed for children with sensory sensitivities and nursing mothers.  

  • Sensory backpacks are available to borrow at the front desk at no cost. Backpacks include items to help children who may need additional support to enjoy the museum and zoo.  

  • The Dynamic Dinosaur Backpack is for sensory seekers and includes a variety of fidgets and other exploratory toys. 

  • The Calming Critters Backpack has sensory soothing items like noise canceling headphones and quiet toys.  

  • A Picture Exchange Communication System (PCES) Backpack is also available to borrow.  

  • Other access resources for visitors with sensory sensitivities, including a weighted blanket and noise canceling headphones, are also available to borrow 

  • “My Trip to the Junior Museum & Zoo” storybook is available in English(PDF, 3MB)  and Spanish(PDF, 3MB)  to help you and your child prepare for a visit. Each story describes what you will see and experience at the Junior Museum & Zoo.  

Online Accessibility 

  • We include image descriptions or alt text when posting images to social media.  

  • We capitalize the first letter of each word in hashtags and links to provide clarity to those who use screen readers.  

  • We check color contrast on our digital and print materials to ensure readability. 

  • We use a hyper-legible font in our digital and print materials (it’s free, and you can use it too! Download here).  

  • We refrain from using all caps to increase visibility. 

Additional Resources

Learn more about accessibility at the JMZ here

How can we be better? 

If you have an accessibility comment, suggestion, or request, we’d love to hear it. Contact us at and we’ll follow up as soon as possible.