By Ariana Estes
Accessibility and sensory situations can become barriers to a fun day out for individuals with physical or developmental disabilities. Technology has helped — developments like the upcoming Ability App and Google’s new feature to add wheelchair accessibility details offers a quick way to get information about a business. Still, these barriers can leave individuals with limited choices in where to go to have fun. Luckily, Virginia is full of beauty, history and great activities that can be accessible to everyone! Here are just a few of the great disability-friendly activities Virginia offers.
Virginia boasts some beautiful botanical gardens. These gardens offer year-round beauty, events and classes that are family-friendly and accessible. Norfolk Botanical Garden features accessible trails and wheelchair-friendly trams. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden also has accessible trails, and the CWDKids Treehouse in the children’s garden is wheelchair-accessible so that everyone can enjoy the view!
Several movie theaters across Virginia offer sensory-friendly movies. During these screenings, lights are kept turned up, movie volume is kept lower, and viewers are welcome to enjoy the movie in a way that makes them comfortable — this can include walking around, dancing, talking and singing. Available movies and times vary by theater.
Regal My Way Matinee
Cobb Sensory-Friendly Films
AMC Sensory-Friendly Films
Virginia State Parks
Virginia State Parks offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the great outdoors! Thirty of the state parks offer universal accessibility, with 13 that include accessible trails and four that have lodging that meets ADA requirements. Virginia State Parks with accessible trails include Westmoreland, Pocahontas, New River Trail, Natural Tunnel, Southwest Virginia Museum, Leesylvania, Lake Anna, James River, First Landing, Claytor Lake, Chippokes, Belle Isle, and Bear Creek Lake. ADA compliant lodging can be found at Hungry Mother, Chippokes, First Landing and Lake Anna. Because the level of accessibility of trails may vary, we recommend contacting the park prior to your visit. Learn more about Virginia State Parks.
Minor League Baseball
Virginia is home to eight minor league baseball teams. This is an affordable way to enjoy a fun afternoon or evening out enjoying America’s pastime. Minor league baseball games are a great way to take part in cheering for the home team with the local community. Teams also offer fireworks after the game for an extra burst of entertainment! Fireworks may not be fun for everyone in your group, so check the game schedule or contact your local team to find a game without fireworks. Tickets range from $4-$14. Find your nearest team!
Chuck-E-Cheese Sensory Sundays
Sensory Sensitive Sundays are offered at Chuck-E-Cheese on the first Sunday of every month. Locations open two hours early and offer reduced lighting and noise, trained staff and food. Parents can bring their own snacks if their children have dietary restrictions. There are currently 10 locations in Virginia offering Sensory Sundays. Contact your location for specific times and additional information. Check out the list of participating locations here.