Thursday 4 September 2008

School-like Toilets at Central Florida Zoo Are Paradise for the Under-8 Crowd

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center Toilet
3755 NW Hwy 17-92
Sanford FL USA

Where is it?

From the parking lot, head through the main entrance and stay along that main walkway, past the ticket booths, until you see the Discovery Center on your right. It's not quite on the main path -- about 50 feet back from it and across a small plaza -- but you won't be able to miss it. In fact, it looks like a small Bass Pro shop -- large wooden cabin in theme with large display windows.

Once inside the main entrance of the Discovery Center, turn left (passing the Insect Zoo display on your right) and head to the far left end of the building. The bathrooms will be there.

What's it like?

The setup is pretty familiar and in many ways looks and feels a lot like the Seuss Landing Toilets and the Super Hero Toilets (near the Spiderman ride) experienced at Islands of Adventure.

Only these are about half the size (they cater to much fewer people after all) and much cleaner and friendlier in spirit. At the same time, they feel like they've been designed by the same person or company. Go figure.

Here, you'll find a roomy environment containing three toilet stalls (including a very roomy handicap one), a set of urinals set along the same wall and separated by black dividers (offering wonderful privacy, like the toilets at Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville at City Walk Orlando, only without the dim lighting), and a two-sink vanity opposite those commodes and a baby changing station against the back wall.

The tiles on the wall are set in a colorful pattern that cheerfully mixes reds, yellows, whites, blues and blacks. The floor is covered in white tiles with blue highlights.

Yellow is the predominant color here -- displayed both because of the yellow-ish lighting here and in the counter and upper walls, both of which are yellow. The color adds a comfortably cheeriness to the environment that the Islands of Adventure toilets lacked, I'm sorry to say.

Seeing that this is essentially a kiddie toilet, I thought it would be very messy (like the one at IOA's Toon Lagoon), but they weren't. In fact, these were exceptionally clean and odor free, with the only mess I found being some mis-thrown paper towels beside the garbage can here (a 33 gallon can -- no doubt included because the place needs it and the smaller receptacles below the paper towel dispensers can't accommodate the volume).

What's also neat here is that many of the add-ons feel like they belong in a school instead of a zoo -- a fact that no doubt helped its younger visitors feel more comfortable. The paper towel dispensers are stainless metal ones built into the walls -- just like what you'd find in school bathrooms. The 33-gallon garbage can also looks like it would fit well in a school bathroom. And the sinks, with their built-in soap dispensers, have the same sense of association.

All of which, I think, makes the place all the more appealing to the under-8 crowd.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

Very good, comfortable environment. Only thing I could suggest is maybe add a few wall hangings to remind visitors they are inside a zoo -- some animal pictures or event listings might make nice additions.

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