Service Dog Policy

We welcome guests with disabilities who are accompanied by a trained service dog, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Thank you for your cooperation to ensure a safe and successful visit for yourself, your service dog, the animals cared for at the zoo, and other park guests.


ONLY WORKING SERVICE ANIMALS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) ARE ALLOWED AT THE PARK. Under the ADA, “a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to work or perform tasks for assisting a person with a disability.” Service dogs are working animals, not pets. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Pets, comfort animals, emotional support or therapy animals are not permitted at the Zoo.

UPON ARRIVAL AT THE PARK, HANDLERS MUST CHECK IN WITH ADMISSIONS so a supervisor can review some logistical items with you and issue a Service Dog Admission pass*. Guest/handler for the service dog is solely responsible for the care and control of their animal.

*As stipulated by the ADA, Zoo staff may request that a service dog experiencing difficulty or demonstrating problematic behaviors, such as barking or lunging, be removed from the Zoo immediately. We ask that you promptly comply with any such request for the safety and welfare of all.


Since service dogs can pose certain concerns and challenges within a zoo setting, it is important that we advise you of our policies regarding these animals and ask for your cooperation.

For the safety of you, your service dog and the animals in our care:

  • A SERVICE DOG MUST BE LEASHED AND UNDER HANDLER’S CONTROL AT ALL TIMES. A service dog is required to be on a leash, harness or tether while on Prospect Park Zoo premises**. At no time should a service dog be in contact with fences, mesh, wire, railings, glass or other exhibit barriers.
  • IF EITHER A ZOO ANIMAL OR SERVICE DOG ARE VISIBLY UPSET OR AGITATED BY THE OTHER’S PRESENCE, THE HANDLER AND SERVICE ANIMAL MUST MOVE AWAY FROM THAT EXHIBIT IMMEDIATELY. Signs of agitation include, but are not limited to: barking, howling, growling, bumping into exhibit window or walls, jumping, climbing, running around exhibit and/or erratic movements.
  • THE HANDLER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CARING FOR AND SUPERVISING THEIR SERVICE DOG, WHICH INCLUDES TOILETING AND FEEDING. The zoo is not able to provide a rest area or supplies for service dogs. Please come prepared with anything you think your animal might need during your visit. If a service dog needs to relieve itself, handlers may exit the park temporarily at any Admissions gate. A service dog that is not housebroken will be asked to leave the park.
  • RESTRICTED AREAS: Some animals can strongly react to the presence of a dog; therefore, service dogs are restricted from some specific locations. Included in these restricted areas are places where zoo animals can choose to roam among guests or activities where zoo animals have limited or no barriers. At this time there are no specific restricted areas of note, but changes may occur on site based on unforeseeable circumstances.
  • SENSITIVE AREAS: Some areas may pose an increased potential for the presence of a dog to be disruptive or may place zoo animals at increased risk. These areas are considered sensitive due to their unique circumstances and may have specific guidelines for entry. Handlers are welcome to take their service dog through these areas while abiding by the guidelines and practicing extra caution.
    • BARNYARD – Due to reduced barriers, free roaming animals and animal-human contact area, a traditional leash/tether is always required..
    • DISCOVERY TRAIL – Due to reduced barriers, practice caution through this exhibit area. Refer to items A and B above.

The zoo reserves the right to modify this information and accessibility policies as appropriate, such as changes to sensitive and/or restricted areas. Guests with service dogs are required to stop at Admissions Booth upon arrival to receive current information about their visit.

If there is a situation where the handler is not able to maintain control over the service animal, we would need you to remove the animal from the park. We ask that you promptly comply with any such request for the safety and welfare of all.

**For situations where an individual’s disability prevents having a service dog on a traditional leash, AND if the service dog is trained to respond to alternate effective means of control, then (and only then) are they permitted in certain areas without a tether. Due to the unique zoo environment, additional restrictions will apply. Refer to items D and E.


For additional questions, or assistance with visit planning, please contact Guest Relations at guestrelations@wcs.org or 718-220-5103. Due to high volume of correspondence, we recommend reaching out at least 7 days prior to a planned visit.

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