Zoo opens new Changing Places facility

CHANGING Places facilities make a real difference to the lives of people with high support needs with larger accessible toilets, 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.

The recent opening of a new Changing Places facility at Australia Zoo is only the second on the Sunshine Coast and will make a real difference to the lives of people with high support needs who want to visit and spend their day at the zoo.

“We are so happy to open a Changing Places within Australia Zoo, 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,” Australia Zoo owner Terri Irwin said.

A spokesperson for Changing Places, which advocates for fully accessible public toilets with change tables and hoists for people with severe or profound disability across Australia, said the organisation was excited about the opening of the zoo facility.

The spokesperson said it would help more people who required support to flourish in the community and participate in social or family outings without any exclusion.

“When you build a Changing Places, you’re unlocking the world to people with disabilities, their carers, family and friends,” the spokesperson said.

The inside of the Changes Places facility

The zoo’s facility is located near the admissions area and otter habitat, and is accessible for guests during regular operating hours, 9am-5pm 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, they can request one from the Australia Zoo team.

The other Changing Places facility on the Sunshine Coast was opened by Sunshine Coast Council at the beginning of the year at Currimundi’s Grahame Stewart Park located in Croydon Avenue Currimundi.