Access Statement

Access Statement

Introduction

Situated at Qawra Point, The Malta National Aquarium has been designed to educate, entertain and tell a story about the marine world from the Mediterranean Sea to the Oceans. Safe and reliable mobility is one of our primary challenges “Access for All” is a design philosophy that envisions a built environment designed with the specific and changing needs of all its inhabitants in mind, irrespective of their age, status and physical capabilities. This is especially the case for children, people with disabilities and the elderly, whose freedom of movement may be considerably restricted. For them “Access for All” means having immediate surroundings that are secure, aesthetically pleasing and stimulating to the senses, with essential amenities and facilities close by.

The Aquarium is based below the reception floor with lift access on entry and exit. You should allow at least 45 minutes to go around the aquarium, where you will be assisted by presenters throughout the zones who will be able to provide you with verbal information supplementary to the information tablets. The black box also offers an audio visual experience for visitors to enjoy, which will show a number of marine documentaries.

There are two catering outlets where you can enjoy a drink or light snack and even lunch/ dinner. La Nave Bistro is situated on the ground floor next to the Aquarium reception, along with the kiosk in Pjazza San Pawl for a more casual snack or coffee. The Aquarium Giftshop is available to visitors and non visitors and offers a variety of souvenirs, this is easily accessible as it is situated on the ground floor by the Aquarium reception.

Staff members are on hand throughout the facilities should you require any assistance.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Malta National Aquarium. If you have any queries or require any assistance please phone 21588100 or send us a message here.

Transport

The nearest bus stop is right outside the aquarium entrance on the same pavement and this will lead you towards Bugibba centre. If you require a bus towards the coast road, the bus stop is down the road on your left as you leave the Aquarium reception, opposite the Suncrest Hotel. The buses can accommodate wheel chairs, however it is best to contact them and find out what time they will be passing. Stickers by the engines will indicate wheelchair access.

For updated routes please visit this page.

Taxi service

JDS Cabs Malta
Tel: 356 79499907
www.bugibba-malta/jdsbabs.com

Car hire

Wheelchair Friendly Car Hire (WFCH)
8, Pinto Street, Ħal-Qormi, Malta
Tel: 356 99493963

Car parking and arrival

The carpark is situated beside the Aquarium and is private. There are 200 parking spaces on site and three clearly labelled yellow badge parking spaces, which are 40 metres from the main entrance. A low ramp for wheelchair access onto the pavement next to the parking spaces is also available. There is a barrier to enter the carpark which will provide you with a ticket. The prices are listed below, however complimentary parking is offered to all aquarium visitors, which can be redeemed at the Aquarium reception desk.

Parking is also available a couple of steps across the road from the entrance to the Aquarium. The main road outside the Aquarium has a wide paved path for pedestrians to access the Aquarium. There is one step up from road level to the pavement but ramps are available close by.

The onsite car park surface is tarmac with a paved path leading to the main entrance. The car park is well lit at night with overhead lighting. The signage has large font, however braille is not yet available. There are benches outside the aquarium in case any visitors would like to rest outside in the shade beneath the dome of the Aquarium. Visitors may be assisted by staff on request here.

The main entrance door has double automatic glass doors which are 214cm/7ft wide when open.

Main entrance, Reception and Ticketing Area

The main entrance and ticket area is situated on the ground floor with step free, level access, throughout. The floor surface is tiled, the area is even and well lit with overhead lighting. The ticketing desk is 91cm high, with a lowered section of 75cm to allow more access for wheelchair users. The ticketing desks are open to aid lip reading and visitors with a visual impairment.
Seating is available at the Bistro, and also on the ledge by the first tank in the reception area. Bistro chairs can be positioned to aid as required for the customer. There are two main floors for the visitors to visit which include the Reception/ Bistro and the Aquarium which is a floor down. There is also another floor above the reception however this is only used during events or group bookings. All three floors have lift access and visitors may be assisted on request.

A cinema room is situated on an intermediate floor inside the aquarium, which is currently showing an audio visual about Malta’s history highlights. This room does not have lift access and so visitors whom have problems with stairs will not have access to this feature of the Aquarium.

The fire alarm is audio, however in case of an emergency, aquarium staff will assist all visitors with access/ visual/ hearing impairments out of the Aquarium via an alternate emergency route by ramp. Exit signs will show designated fire exits from the Aquarium, which are standard green boards with white font.

There are smooth silver metal double handrails by the side of the stairs which have lights pointing down to light up the stairs for further aid. This allows aid for adults and children of varied heights.

The floor may get slippery on occasion so one must always be cautious when walking through. If there is an unusual amount of water, signs will indicate and visitors will be told before entering the aquarium.

A first aid box is available at the reception in case of minor accidents.

Attraction

Signage is available on tablets around the aquarium, presenters are also there to provide assistance and supplementary information to enhance your experience. The signage is in English and the font size used on the tablets is Swiss 10 point . Some staff members speak a number of languages, however to ensure that such member of staff is on shift please advise us a week prior to your visit.

The tanks are well lit and can be seen from a sitting and standing position. The floor is slightly uneven in certain areas but accessible for wheel chair use throughout. The documentaries showing in the black box are audio visual in English. Sound effects vary throughout the aquarium which represent the different zones of Malta.

A couple of tanks are slightly elevated which may limit the view of a visitor in a wheel chair, however steps can help in case of height restrictions.  Crate boxes are positioned through the Aquarium for visitors to take a seat and enjoy the view whilst taking a rest.

Lighting in the Aquarium is quite dim at times but well lit up by the tablets and lights in the individual tanks. Assistance can be booked prior to the visit for aid around the aquarium with enough notice to have a member of staff on hand.

Public toilets

Public toilets are located inside and outside on the ground floor with level access from the main entrance, bistro and kiosk areas. There are also toilets in the first zone of the aquarium which are accessible to all visitors and can be located using the Aquarium map. These toilets have separate toilets for men, women and disabled users, labelled accordingly. All toilets are standardised for users with special requirements for disabled access in the disabled toilets with a door width of 97cm. Baby changing facilities are available in the disabled users toilets in the Aquarium, at the Bistro and outside by the kiosk. These are unisex toilets.

Catering

La Nave Bistro:
The bistro is situated on the ground floor and has step free level access from the entrance by the Aquarium reception and from the entrance by the Pjazza. The entrance doors to the bistro are the same as those for the Aquarium with a width of 214cm wide.

Lighting in all areas is natural daylight during the day due to the large windows surrounding the bistro and overhead lighting as it gets darker.

The tables and chairs are moveable and stable, space can be determined according to the customer. The tables are white with navy blue paper mats and silver thick handled cutlery for contrasting purposes. The height of the chairs is 48.5cm with no arms and the table is 75cm. High chairs are also available for young children.

The font on the food menu is font 11. The menu is available online via the Malta National Aquarium Facebook page where it can be zoomed in for visually impaired customers. The menu has a varied selection which caters for customers with allergies or special dietary needs. Gluten free pizza and pasta are such alternatives.

The bistro is waiter service for a la carte dining, however ice creams or coffees can be ordered at the counter for quick take away purposes. If any other assistance is required do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

Kiosk in Pjazza San Pawl

The kiosk is situated in Pjazza San Pawl on the ground floor, adjacent to the Bistro and Aquarium entrance.
The kiosk is counter service, staff can assist on request. Tables and chairs similar to the Bistro are available with additional umbrellas for shade.

Giftshop

The giftshop is accessible to all visitors as it is on one floor beside the Aquarium reception. There is over head lighting along with a lot of natural light which enters from the big windows around it. Shelving is accessible for young children and wheel chair users since shelving height begins at 51cm above ground level with an average of 31cm between shelves. The cashier counter is 88.5cm high and therefore allows access to all.

The prices are labelled on all items in small print, if assistance is required do not hesitate to ask the cashier or a member of staff close by.

Playground

The playground structure is designed to look like an underwater adventure which is fun for visitors to see and play on. It is free of charge and all visitors are welcome . It is open all day and lit up at night. There are no swings designed for wheelchairs, however the design creates a fun atmosphere even whilst moving around.

The outdoor play area includes safety flooring and a number of slides, swings and climbing frames for children to play on. No heels or dogs are permitted in the playground.

Additional Information

All our staff are briefed every morning and receive appropriate training that includes customer service and disability awareness. We have a set of evacuation procedures – should you require it someone will assist you with evacuation. The designated assembly points are located at the Kiosk Area (near toilets) and Terrace Car Park (near the pay machine). There is access for everyone in case of an emergency, Manager and staff on duty will ensure that all visitors are assisted safely out of danger. There is an area to charge a mobility scooter and battery powered wheelchair at the welcome/ ticketing reception.

Future Plans

The touch pools will offer a new and exciting experience for all visitors who are interested in getting hands on with some marine animals.

We are launching an Education scheme for schools to follow and therefore enhance their visit as an educational experience. These will be available on the Malta National Aquarium website as of September 2014.

We are also developing an MNA Kids zone whereby we will be organising events and activities for kids to have fun and learn about the marine environment. Activities will include crafts, hands on interactions, group work, games and more. Application forms are available on the MNA facebook page or from the Aquarium reception. We also have a family membership scheme where children will be automatically entitled to join ‘Kids Zone’.