Vacation Destinations for Families with Special Needs
The summer months are always popular for travel. To help your whole family enjoy a vacation, we’ve rounded up several destinations that are accessible to those seeking accommodations for special needs.
- Morgan’s Wonderland®
Many theme parks accommodate accessibility needs, but Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas is the first U.S. theme park built entirely around accessibility. Their mission statement reads: “To provide a safe, clean and beautiful environment free of physical and economic barriers that all individuals – regardless of age, special need or disability – can come to and enjoy.” The park features rides, live entertainment which celebrates and demonstrates inclusivity, and an area called Sensory Village with activities to encourage imaginative play and stimulate all the senses. It also features a waterpark area called Morgan’s Inspiration Island® where guests can privately transfer into waterproof wheelchairs to splash and play fun without risking water damage to personal mobility devices. There is a heated reef pool for those who do not enjoy or cannot tolerate un-heated water. With over half a million visitors per year, Morgan’s Wonderland has something for everyone.
- Washington D.C.
Our nation’s capital features tourist attractions with a high degree of accessibility. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums, Capitol Building, Supreme Court, National Zoo and more are all wheelchair accessible. The city also has a mandate to make metro transit and taxi services accessible to help everyone get around town.
- Sesame Place®
Located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and based on the educational children’s show “Sesame Street®,” Sesame Place was the first theme park to earn a Certified Autism Center™ designation. The park features rides, characters, entertainment and a waterpark area with numerous special needs and accessibility features. The proactive park has a Ride Accessibility Program questionnaire that will guide you to the rides and attractions which are best suited to your family’s needs.
- Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon has long been one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. With so many people wanting to experience it; the National Park Service has built a number of features for people with special needs. If you provide advance notice (of three or more weeks), the park can provide a sign language interpreter for your visit. Wheelchairs are available for rental at the North and South Rim. The park offers both wheelchair-accessible trails and scenic drives with accessibility permits to get gorgeous views of the landscape without leaving your vehicle. For more info, check out the park’s Accessibility Guide.
- Cruise Lines
Several major cruise lines offer experiences for those with various special needs. The details of which widely vary by company. In particular, Disney’s cruise line employs youth counselors who have experience working with children with special needs. It offers wheelchair-accessible mini-golf onboard the ship and a private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay with mobility-friendly paved paths. But as always, if you’re interested in a cruise, do some comparison shopping and contact different cruise lines to find out what might be available that may meet your needs.
These are just some of the destinations available for a getaway. We’d love to hear from you about some great ideas we haven’t touched on. But please bear in mind that this list is provided for informational purposes. BancorpSouth has no working relationship with any organization mentioned, and any mention does not constitute an endorsement by BancorpSouth. Your experience may vary.
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