Accessibility at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Visitor Center

Welcome! We’re glad you’re thinking about visiting the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We are committed to making our building, exhibits, programs, and services accessible and inclusive to all audiences including people with disabilities. Below we have provided information about what to expect during your visit. If you have any questions or suggestions about Visitor Center accessibility features, need to request an accommodation, or you’d like to share your experience visiting us, please email us at or call us at 1-800-843-2473.

Physical Accessibility

  • The main Visitor Parking Lot, which is partially paved, has 5 van accessible parking spaces and an additional 2 reserved accessible parking spaces. It is about 400 feet from these parking spaces to the front door of the Visitor Center over a partially paved parking lot and a flat, paved bridge.
  • Push buttons are available to open the front doors of the Visitor Center. 
  • The Visitor Center has no steps on the ground floor, and an elevator to the second floor. 
  • There are two manual wheelchairs for visitors to borrow. They are located inside the entrance, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The Visitor Center floors are low pile carpet, limestone, or wood.
  • A variety of seating is available throughout the Visitor Center. Benches, chairs, and stools are available under the portico, in the Observatory, in the Adelson Family Bird Discovery Lab, in the theater, and in the auditorium.
  • A water fountain is located on the first floor near the restrooms.
  • The trails throughout Sapsucker Woods are all mostly flat and mulched, with short sections of wooden boardwalk, and some exposed roots. The trail network creates the opportunity to enjoy trails varying from 0.75 miles to 6 miles. Several benches are found along the 0.75 mile Wilson Trail. 

Light and Sound 

  • Bright sunlight may create glare in the Visitor Center near the windows in the afternoon. To avoid this, we suggest timing your visit on a cloudy day or in the morning if possible.
  • There are multiple screens that play video (with no audio) continuously throughout the Observatory and in the Adelson Family Bird Discovery Lab.

Sensory Devices and Quiet Zone

Visitors can borrow fidget devices, weighted blankets, and noise reduction ear muffs from the Visitor Center Front Desk and upstairs in the Adelson Library. Adelson Library has comfortable seating and is considered a quiet zone.


  • Restrooms with accessible stalls inside are located on the first floor. The accessible stalls are approximately 5’6” x 9’5” (1.68 x 2.87 m).
  • Each restroom has an infant changing table.
  • An accessible, all gender, family restroom is available on the first floor. It is 7’4” x 5’11” (2.24 x 1.8 m).

Accessible Media

  • Closed captions are visible on all videos that have audio.
  • The theater and auditorium are equipped with the following assistive listening technologies:
    • LT-84 Infrared Audio Systems from Listen Technologies. 
    • C5-2 SYS 1 Induction Loop Systems from Williams AV. Request the Loop System from staff or volunteers at the Front Desk. 

Sensitive Content

In the Adelson Family Bird Discovery Lab there are several specimens—preserved, dead birds. Some are whole birds which look like they are lying flat with their wings tucked in, and others have the wings or feet separated from the body of the bird. There are also bones, both real and replicas, on display. There is no sign of blood, injury, or illness on any of these specimens. All specimens are provided by the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, a research and teaching resource with strict legal and ethical requirements for specimen collection and management. 

Service Animals

Service animals required to perform tasks for or assist a person with a disability are welcome in the Visitor Center and on the trails at Sapsucker Woods. Emotional support animals and pets are not permitted in the building or on the trails.

Lactation Room

There is a private lactation room on the first floor of the Visitor Center which offers a comfortable chair, electric outlets, digitally locking lockers for pumping supply storage, and a small refrigerator. The room locks from inside and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Website Accessibility

Cornell University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are committed to making our websites accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities, and strive to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.2. If you need an accommodation to access online materials, information, resources, and/or services, please follow the instructions outlined here or call 1-800-843-2473. 

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker by Sasha Cahill / Macaulay Library