When my family heads out of the house, we never think of calling ahead to ask if the place we’re going is accessible. (The only time I worry is when we need to stay at a hotel or rent a car.)
Most of the places we visit—like restaurants and stores and movie theaters—we visit regularly. So I know the my daughter’s wheelchair fits. Sometimes we go on bigger outings farther away from home—tourist attractions like the zoo, a water park, a museum. No problems there, either. We simply wheel her in and go wherever she can participate in the fun and learning.
For 13 years, this has always worked for her.
Then we got an invitation from our close friends to visit a nearby water fountain exhibit. We had never been here before, but I assumed that, because it was outdoors, we would be fine. Oh, boy, did I assume wrong!
It was a beautiful attraction, with different types of waterfalls. Many of the waterfalls were interactive; kids could play in them.
Unfortunately, we could get the wheelchair to only one of the falls. The rest of the place was inaccessible. She could “look” at only the one waterfall, and she wasn’t able to touch anything!
I could not believe it. I was disappointed. I realized I should have planned better.
Now, I will call places before we visit.
(Luckily, our family quickly made a backup plan to the disappointing waterfall experience. We went to a great, accessible restaurant and had ice cream for dessert!)
Make sure you check with any place that you have not visited before you go. Avoid the disappointment. Also, always have a backup plan ready. Some places, believe it or not, are still not accessible to those who use wheelchairs.
Use the Find Services, Groups and Events search to locate accessible venues for your family.