Accessibility

 

Accessibility

ESPLORA ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENT
EAS/V.3.1/281216

This document expresses Esplora’s commitment to accessibility for all. The details and degree of accessibility and any limitations are listed with the intention of supporting all visitors to plan their visit to Esplora with ease and confidence.

CONTENTS

1.0 INTRODUCTION
2.0 PRE-ARRIVAL INFORMATION
3.0 VISITING ESPLORA
3.1 Transport and Parking
4.0 THE COMPLEX
4.1 Entrance Hub
4.2 Esplora Gadget Shop
4.3 Esplora Café
4.4 Exhibition Spaces and Activity Centre
4.5 Signage
4.6 Lighting
4.7 Flooring, Steps and Ramps
4.8 Fire Alarms
4.9 Restroom Facilities
4.10 First Aid
5.0 ACCESSIBILITY TO EXHIBITS
5.1 Exhibition Building – Ground Floor
5.2 Exhibition Building – Basement
5.3 Planetarium
5.4 Outdoor Areas
6.0 EXHIBITS AND INTERPRETATION
7.0 Parking
7.1 Parking for disabled
8.0 Entrances and Exits
9.0 Visitors with Autism
10.0 Lifts
11.0 Carers
12.0 Conclusion

1.0 INTRODUCTION

We welcome all visitors and have endeavored to ensure that our facilities at Esplora are accessible to all. Please let us know in advance if you have any specific requirements or if there is anything we can do to assist your visit.

2.0 PRE-ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Service dogs are most welcome and arrangements for water and food bowls may be made upon arrival. Please speak to us before your visit if you are concerned about any aspect of your Esplora experience.

3.0 VISITING ESPLORA

3.1 Transport and Parking
We encourage visitors to use public transport to come to Esplora. Bus stops to and from Valletta are located approximately 100 metres outside the Esplora main entrance.
If you are using a privately booked coach or minivan, please inform the Esplora Booking Office on info@esplora.org.mt of your plans and expected drop off and collection times, so that meet and greet arrangements may be booked for your group.
If you are using a private vehicle you will find public, street-level parking spaces along Triq Marina, the road leading to Esplora. Parking spaces cannot be reserved and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Should you opt to cycle to Esplora, bicycle stands for staff and visitors are available underneath the outdoor escalators.
There are seven benches in the arrival area. You may use the escalators or lift located in the Atrium to make your way to the Main Reception.

4.0 THE COMPLEX

4.1  Main Reception

The visitor entrance and exit to the Main Reception is situated near the illuminated main sign. Esplora’s orientation signs in the vicinity indicate all the other venues in the complex. The complex is wheelchair accessible and there are no turnstiles at any point.
You will find the Reception Desk centrally located in the Main Reception. The desk is U-shaped with three workstations and has two working surface heights to accommodate staff and visitors who are standing, as well as children and wheelchair users.

4.2 EsploraShop

The EsploraShop is strategically located in the Main Reception.

4.3 EsploraCafé

The EsploraCafé is located on two levels in the centre of the complex, just below the Main Reception. Facilities are available for heating baby food and drinks in EsploraCafé and highchairs are available for families with young children. Please ask our staff should you require any assistance.
The seating at Esplora Café is moveable. The moveable tables are accompanied by sturdy, light-weight chairs.
Should you have any special dietary requirements, we will gladly do our best to serve you, given reasonable notice. If you require colour contrasting crockery or glassware, or thick handled cutlery, we kindly ask you to bring your own with you on your visit.

4.4 Exhibition Spaces and Activity Centre

There are several floors of exhibition and activity spaces in the Esplora complex, which are accessible to all visitors by lift and stairs, namely the Entrance Hub (1 level); Main Exhibition Hall (3 levels), Cot Lift (1 level), Activity Centre (2 levels), Planetarium (2 levels) and Esplora Café (1 level). There are no public telephones onsite.

4.5 Signage

There are several types of wall mounted signage used throughout Esplora. All permanent signs are in Maltese and English and vary in detail according to their purpose. Bilingual text is used along with pictograms, colour coding, and maps with keys that describe the symbols, names and markings on the map.
Large orientation signs are placed at the entrance of each building and include a centre section displaying the main map, and side panels on the left and right, which provide general direction using arrows and symbols.
Inside the buildings, you will find colour-coded, level-specific and zone-specific orientation signs providing more information about the exhibits, access and facilities available in each area.
A secondary type of directional signage is found on wall-hung signs and on poles, both of which are mainly intended to direct visitors towards restrooms, elevators and information points. Finally, colour coded, numbered signage is found on the side of doors to indicate entrance to specific function rooms.

4.6 Lighting

Throughout Esplora lighting is used for different purposes. The type and intensity of the light varies a great deal according to the task at hand and exhibition on display. A few examples include: lighting to provide safe access, to accentuate the historic fabric of the complex, and to feature exhibits.

4.7 Flooring, Steps and Ramps

A range of flooring finishes are found throughout the complex including: polished hard stone slabs; polished, non-slip concrete flooring; rubber flooring; gloss gres floor tiles, and restored mosaic flooring. Access to the multiple floors and levels throughout the Esplora complex includes lifts, escalators, and steps and stairs accompanied with handrails in compliance with CRPD specifications. Aisles, corridors and ramps of different gradients are found in every building of Esplora and are accessible to all visitors. Visitors may use the rest areas and benches outdoors.

4.8 Fire Alarms

A fire detection system is installed on each floor, in every building. This installation is incorporated with fire alarm points (breaking glass), that can facilitate if an emergency arises. At ceiling level, fire detectors are connected to audible fire horns in all areas. Each zone has a fire evacuation plan indicating the meeting points on all floors and in all areas of Esplora to be used in case of evacuation.

4.9 Restroom Facilities

Fully accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are available in all areas of the complex. All restrooms include toilets designed in accordance with CRPD guidelines. There are no emergency pull cords. Baby nappy changing facilities are located in every wheelchair accessible toilet (both male and female). A separate Family Baby Room is also available in the Little Esploras area, at the basement level of the Main Exhibition Building. The restrooms in the Little Esploras area are also designed for young children.

4.10 First Aid

Esplora exhibition floor staff are trained First Aiders. The First Aid Room is found next to the entrance to the Main Exhibition Building. First aid kits are available in all areas of Esplora and there is a defibrillator in the First Aid Room.

5.0 ACCESSIBILITY TO EXHIBITS

Every effort has been made to make the entire Esplora experience accessible to all visitors. However, wheelchair accessibility is restricted in a small number of exhibits listed below.

5.1 Main Exhibition Building – Ground Floor

• The Ship has two levels; the elevated level is not accessible but the same or similar experience is provided on the 1st floor.
• Walk the Plank
• Jolly Boat
• Step-Up (Biology)
• Car race (Mezzanine)

5.2 Main Exhibition Building – Basement

• The House – the 2nd floor only is not accessible
• The Ball Machine – this exhibit is split on two levels: ground level and a raised platform accessible by stairs. The platform is not accessible by wheelchair; however, wheelchair users may participate in the exhibit activity from the ground level.
• Bridge
• A small staff area in the staircase is not accessible by lift.

5.3 Planetarium

• There is one permanent wheelchair space in the Planetarium theatre. Booking in advance is required.
• Visitors are advised that certain Planetarium shows are not recommended for anyone suffering from balance disorders and/or extreme motion sickness.

5.4 Outdoor Areas

• Rail track
• Caves areas – partially accessible
• Not all areas are accessible to all; however, these are relatively small areas having other accessible areas adjacent to them, such as in the Little Explorers’ Outdoor Playscape.

6.0 EXHIBITS AND INTERPRETATION

All labels and signs at Esplora have been written in a consistent and easy to read style. Labels and signs are displayed at a suitable height for children and wheelchair users. Text colour is dependent on the colour of the background used. When a dark background is used, then the text colour is white. When the text appears on a white or light background, then the text colour is 70% black or a colour picked from the Esplora colour palette which offers high contrast and legibility.

7.0 PARKING

Ample parking is available for mobility-impaired visitors. 7.1 DISABLED PARKING A limited number of disabled parking spaces are available in our car park. Parking for Blue Badge holders is free of charge. When you arrive at our main ticket desk, please present your parking ticket and our operator will be happy to discount your parking. We have a drop off zone at Esplora that can be used from anyone that has mobility problems. Please call us ahead of your arrival and we will meet you to wait with the visitor whilst you park.

8.0 ENTRANCE AND EXITS

The main entrances and exits to Esplora Science Centre are wheelchair accessible.

9.0 VISITORS WITH AUTISM

Visitors with autism do not have to queue during busy periods. Please speak to a member of staff on arrival and they will be happy to assist you. Esplora has lots of resources for visitors with Autism such as Ear Defenders and Fidget toys. Esplora has many multi-sensory exhibits and also designated quiet areas. All Esplora’s bathrooms are furnished with handwashing visual aids. Such visual aids provide awareness to the public who visit Esplora. A Substantial number of Esplora’s staff is trained with Autism awareness handling program. Please do not hesitate to ask if you need extra support or guidance during your visit.

10.0 LIFTS

All lifts within the Science centre can accommodate 1 wheelchair and 1 carer.

11.0 CARERS

All paying visitors who require special assistance are offered free admission for their carer to all areas.

12.0 CONCLUSION

At Esplora, we strive to deliver a world-class experience to all of our visitors. If you are concerned about any aspect of a visit you are planning, please contact the Esplora Booking Office by dropping us a line on bookings@esplora.org.mt and we’ll get back to you.

 
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