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Service Animals

The Louisville Zoo is happy to permit service dogs on grounds. However, due to the unique nature of our facility, we do have a few restrictions for your safety and the safety of your service animal, Zoo guests, and the Zoo’s animals. Visiting a Zoo — especially for the first time — can be an unusual and overwhelming experience for animal and handler alike.

Please note, in compliance with ADA and according to their website:

  • A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.
  • The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks under the definition of a service animal and are not permitted on Zoo grounds.
  • A service dog is permitted anywhere members of the general public are allowed.  However, the service dogs themselves may be excluded from visiting certain areas if there is a legitimate safety concern. Please refer to the map below for more details and areas that are restricted for the health and safety of the service dog and our animal collection. If the guest is unable to enter one of the indicated areas with their service dog, please call (502) 459-2181 and a member of our Guest Services team will assist in holding or staying with a service animal as needed.
  • All service dogs must have a harness, leash or other tether, unless the handler is unable to use a tether due to disability, or the use of a tether would interfere with the service animal’s ability to safely perform its work or tasks. In these cases, the service animal must be under the handler’s control through voice commands, hand signals, or other effective means (whistles are strictly prohibited).
  • Whistles are strictly prohibited from use by guests on Zoo grounds. Whistles serve as critical tools of communications between animals and keepers. Unauthorized use of a whistle may cause animals to react, creating unwanted and hazardous situations.
  • The Louisville Zoo has the right to ask a service animal to be removed from Zoo grounds if the animal is not housebroken, is out of control and the individual is not able to control it, or the animal poses a health or safety concern to any of the animals in our collection or to other guests.

While visiting the Zoo it is the responsibility of a service dog owner/handler to:

  • Check in at the front gate to provide pertinent ADA-compliant information before entering.
  • Maintain full control over the service animal as defined above.
  • Ensure the service animal does not cross any barriers, enter any of the restricted areas indicated on the map below, or otherwise come into close contact with any of the animals from the Zoo’s collection.
  • Maintain awareness of the Zoo’s animal collection and should a Zoo animal respond adversely to the service animal, promptly move away from the exhibit or animal to avoid injury, fright, panic or stress to the animals in our collection.

With these restrictions and guidelines in mind, the Louisville Zoo is happy to welcome you and your service dog to visit and enjoy our offerings.  If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to call (502) 459-2181 or use the contact us link here and a member of our staff will respond as soon as possible.