7.09.2014

THE ENTIRE BELIZE ZOO IS NOW ACCESSIBLE!

News from Sharon and Jamal!

After two years of fund-raising and design work and then actual on-the-ground work, the zoo is now 100 percent accessible.  The rose-coloured pathways no longer stop and go, they simply GO!   And lots of happy moments are to be had for anyone with diverse abilities.  Some of the zoo animals come close up to see their wheelchair visitors.  Not used to seeing kids or adults in “moving chairs," the animal curiosity is also fun to observe.

Our help has come from various sincere and kind sources.  No words can fully serve to sufficiently thank the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, who not only raised funds for this important project, but then their students and instructor all came to Belize to assist in building the pathways.  Pathway construction supervisor, Mr. Max was skeptical seeing his young female assistants come on board.  However, he quickly changed his initial “first opinion” when these young ladies eagerly pushed wheelbarrows and shoveled cement, day after day!  “Girl power” to the max, Mr. Max!

Local business contributions also assisted our efforts.  As did a superb gift from Mr. Peter Hughes and his colleagues at the British High Commission.  Our area representative,  Hon. Dolores Balderamos,  kindly made a contribution to show her support of this work.   Last December, while still not fully finished, the Belize Assembly for People with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) came to the zoo to celebrate World Disabilities Day.  Smiling kids in wheelchairs glided down the pathways and saw our jaguars and toucans.  “Rose” the crocodile made an appearance to add to the magic of the celebration, while officials from BAPDA excitedly spoke about returning  so that all could experience the fun and excitement  again.

Each week, our zoo crew sees more and more wheelchair using visitors.  And visitors who do the “walk about” frequently comment on the pathways, too.  “It’s fun to walk on," - we often hear that statement.  Due to the pathway construction technique, perfected by long-term zoo employee, Tony Garel, the air and gravel mixture with just the right amount of cement, provides a bit of a “cushion” for all of our zoo visitors.  And for parents with strollers, a zoo visit is an easy visit, and a delight for stroller-passengers, too.



At this time, The Belize Zoo is the only nature destination in Belize
which is accessible.  We are proud and happy about this accomplishment!   Good Zoo?  We have always been a very good zoo.  However, now we truly are, “The Best Little Zoo in the World."

3 comments:

Delvin Mitchell said...

My friend and I have been talking about this particular place.I think this is one of the most significant information for us.Every year We go to Belize but never to the zoo. We contact with Bottom Time Dive Shop, only for scuba diving. I must say I will go to Belize zoo in our next visit.Your post is just so wonderful and amazing! Please keep it going!

Tom Pasquarello said...

Hi Delvin,

I hope you visit the zoo on your next visit to Belize. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. The zoo has wonderful accommodations and makes a great base for exploring the inland wonders (Mayan sites, sub-tropical rain forest, etc.) Belize has to offer.

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning, how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Belize? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Belize in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)
Spain

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez