In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are welcome at Blandford Nature Center. It is our intent for all guests to safely enjoy the Nature Center’s experiences while being responsible stewards of the captive animals in our care including rules set by the Animal Welfare Act.
In the event that a service animal’s presence within certain areas of the Nature Center is demonstrated (through prior or current displays of agitation) to cause the captive wildlife in that area undue stress or anxiety, or present the potential for injury, we reserve the right under the ADA to designate such areas as off-limits or to designate the area as sensitive and request that guests observe extra caution in such areas.
Because of this, we have identified the following areas where the presence of a service animal poses a safety threat. We recognize that these service animals are highly trained and reliable. These considerations are based on the reactions of the captive wildlife in Blandford Nature Center’s care, not the service animal’s actions or responses.
Wildlife Education Center in the Mary Jane Dockeray Visitor Center
Service animals must be kept a minimum distance of 15 feet back from these exhibits for the safety of the captive wildlife on the other side of the glass. Because it is impossible to stay 15 feet away from the glass in the Wildlife Education Center, service animals are excluded from that room. Our wildlife in that area are unfamiliar with service animals and may become agitated* and try to flee or attack the service animal and injure themselves on the glass, particularly if the service animal is a dog, which may be viewed as a predator, prey, or both.
Main Lobby of the Mary Jane Dockeray Visitor Center
Service animals are excluded from a 15-foot buffer around the glass turtle exhibit in the main lobby. Turtles view dogs as predators and may be exposed to undue stress. We ask that visitors with service animals utilize the entry and exit door closest to the reception desk as they enter and leave the building to reduce stress on the captive wildlife. The rest of the lobby, restrooms, gift shop, auditorium, and wet lab are fully accessible to visitors and their service animals.
While the Nature Center prohibits animals on the Wildlife Trail, service animals are permitted, provided that all exhibits are approached slowly and quietly to give the Nature Center wildlife time to react to the presence of a service animal. For everyone’s welfare, if any of the captive wildlife appears distressed or agitated* , the service animal should be immediately moved further back or walked beyond the exhibit completely.
*Signs of stress and/or agitation include: flying to the back of the cage, rapid pacing back and forth, panting, fluffing out feathers, leaning back and forth, and audible screeching, growling, etc.
As a lover of animals and a Nature Center supporter, your understanding is greatly appreciated as Blandford Nature Center carefully makes decisions for both your safety and enjoyment along with the welfare of our wonderful wildlife.
Thank you for visiting. We hope you have a fun and safe time with us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
To learn more, please visit our FAQ page or contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.