Okay, fun’s over. The kids are back at school, the long, lazy days of summer have given way to the long haul before the next shot at vacation, and unbelievably, some people (guilty as charged) have already extended holiday invitations. Drag in the patio furniture, snow is right around the corner.
Now that many of you have clicked away, I’ll answer a question that has been asked anonymously of the "everything you ever wanted to know about disability, but were afraid to ask" staff. In this case, the Accessible Insights Blog staff consists of only me, however I reach out to a brilliant group of masterminds who contribute to the cause. more on that here . The question was asked, "Are there any disability-friendly amusement parks or attractions for children?"
This question can be interpreted broadly, as in: Wwhere can I bring a special needs child for fun?" Or, more narrowly as: “Is there such a thing as an amusement park specifically for people who have disabilities?”
The answer is yes to both. In this post, I’ll focus on a few ideas for you to consider when it’s time to extend that summer fun for just a little longer.
Museums: Many museums offer special "after hours" programs for a variety of groups. Give your local galleries a call to find out if they can provide close-up, hands-on and guided educational programs for individuals who have disabilities. many museums do offer visitors options for viewing the objects via a variety of technologies, such as hand-held recorded
descriptions of the installations, or a docent who can give tours using sign language. Some museums even offer a special room or wing just for people with disabilities to examine art objects up close. Seek out museums that encourage interactivity, such as The Exploratorium in San Francisco, California.
National parks: Did you know that people with disabilities can apply for a "Golden Pass," that permits access to any park at no cost? This lifetime pass can make planning park visits a little easier for a family. Also, both local and national parks offer accessible or "barrier free" trails that are specifically for wheelchair users and less experienced hikers. These trails are usually wider, well graded or in some cases paved, and have fewer topographical obstacles such as rocks, water or steep slopes. Check out the Oregon Barrier-free trail that meanders through the northernmost stand of Redwood trees, for example. It’s an easy1/2 mile loop. I was married along that trail, right in front of a hollowed-out, ancient Redwood.
Amusement parks: If you live near a theme park, you may already be aware of a special day set aside for fun-seekers who have disabilities. However, I recently learned of an amusement park especially for kids and adults alike who have need of greater accessibility. It’s called Morgan’s Wonderland. Here is some copy straight from the Morgan’s Wonderland web site:
"Morgan’s Wonderland, located in San Antonio, Texas, was built in the true spirit of inclusion to provide a place where all ages and abilities can come together and play in a fun and safe environment. Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park, encompasses 25 acres of rides, attractions and activities for everyone, and all are welcome.”
If you visit the Morgan’s Wonderland web site, (http://www.morganswonderland.com) you can watch videos about the park, check out the attractions, find lodging and make a donation. Morgan’s Wonderland is the first of what many hope will be other destinations like it. Admission is free to people with disabilities and only $15 for everyone else. Read about Morgan’s story, and the gift that brings fun, friends and family together in a safe, accessible and inclusive place.
Are there any similar parks, museums or attractions in your area, just for people with disabilities? If you know of any, please share. Here is another article on accessible travel that provides more information about places to visit: