Accessibility

Child with vision impairment using a braille sign

Welcome! The Junior Museum & Zoo is committed to being engaging and fun for people of all ages and abilities. We understand that it is not someone’s disability that limits them, but inaccessible spaces and societal attitudes. We have built the JMZ to be inclusive for everyone.

If you or a member of your family has a disability, here’s lots of information to help you prepare for your visit.

Our staff is trained to assist visitors with various disabilities. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable and fun!

If you have any questions or need special assistance please email us at funscience@cityofpaloalto.org or call (650) 329-2111

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 each. Proof of a disability is not required.

Apply for Reduced Admission

On site accessibility

All exhibits are designed according to the Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibitions. Exhibits and experiences are multisensory and hands-on to engage different abilities depending on a child’s strengths.

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

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.” Pets, emotional support animals, comfort or companion animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under the ADA and are not admitted.

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

Near the front entrance there are 3 accessible parking spaces and 1 accessible EV charging only space. Additionally, there are 2 accessible parking spaces and 2 accessible EV charging only spaces located further away in the lot. There is also an accessible loading zone near the front entrance. More details on transportation are available on our "Getting Here" page, linked below.

Additional Transportation Information

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 and wheelchair tables are available to borrow during your visit.

Seating is located throughout the museum and zoo. If you need a portable stool, please ask a staff member.

 

Visitors who are blind or have low vision

A large print and tactile 3D map is located at the entrance to the museum and one at 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, and images of zoo animals, and QR codes to connect you with audio recordings of our labels.

 

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 Junior Museum & Zoo. Please contact us at funscience@cityofpaloalto.org or (650) 329-2111 at least two weeks before your visit so we can arrange for an interpreter.

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 (PECS) 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 and Zoo" storybook is available in English and Spanish to help you and your child prepare for a visit and learn what you will see and experience at the JMZ.

 

   

Super Family Sundays

A free event when the JMZ is open exclusively to families with children who have disabilities. Children with all disabilities are welcome, as well as parents, siblings and grandparents.  Come and meet zoo animals up-close.  Upcoming events are scheduled as follows:

  • June 26, 5:30-7pm
  • July 17, 5:30-7pm
  • Aug. 21, 5:30-7pm
  • Sept. 18, 5:30-7pm
  • Oct. 23, 5:30-7pm

In order to maintain a non-crowded environment, spots are limited and reservations are required.  Reservations “sell out” quickly, please fill out the form below to be added to the email list for ticket release announcements. For questions or to request special accommodations, please call (650) 329-2111

Super Family Sunday Brochure(PDF, 2MB)

Click here to view form.

Field trips for children with disabilities

If you would like to schedule a field trip for your group, please email funscience@cityofpaloalto.org or call (650) 329-2111. If you have any accessibility requests, please let us know. We will try to accommodate them.

For field trips for special education classrooms, the fee will be $3 per student. Teachers, aides and chaperones for students will be admitted free of charge. Advance reservations are required. Contact us for more information.