Exciting, Accessible Leisure in Ohio’s State and National Parks
Hocking Hills State Park
While known for its steep, winding trails, often incorporating sets of stairs to climb, Hocking Hills still provides numerous locations within the park that are accessible for individuals with mobility disabilities. Some of these include the “Ash Cave Gorge”, “Cockles Hollow Gorge”, and the “Old Town Creek Trail.”
Barkcamp State Park
This state park located in Belmont, OH. Among their 150 electrified campsites, they offer two wheelchair accessible campsites, as well as several paved trails.
One such paved trail winds through the pioneer village, leading through mature woodlands, and provides access to the Antique Barn. Ohio State Parks also provides a full list of everything Barkcamp State Park has to offer.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park strives to remove barriers and create fun experiences for everyone. Brochures are provided, and they offer audio-only and braille brochures as well. Many of the park’s prime attractions are fully accessible including the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Canal Exploration Center, Everett Covered Bridge, and the upper boardwalk of the Brandywine Falls.
All visitor centers are fully accessible too, where rangers can give you descriptions including trail surfaces, presence of stairs and hills, and distances. They also provide wheelchairs and hiking sticks available for loan upon request at the Boston Mill Visitor Center and the Canal Exploration Center.
The phone number to call and request a wheelchair is even posted at accessible parking places! The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also offers a car with a lift to help transport people in a wheelchair to see their attraction.
The park also provides accessibility options for visitors with deafness or hearing-loss, blindness or low-vision, cognitive disabilities, as well as offers accommodations for service animals. The National Park Service also provides a page on their own site discussing the different options for accessibility provided by Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Museums and the Arts
Akron Art Museum
The Akron Art Museum, located in Akron, Ohio, is a center for arts hosting a contemporary collection of regional, national, and international art. They also boasts their commitment to providing an accessible and inclusive experience where all can feel a sense of pride and belonging. You can learn about the Akron Art Museums Mission Statement, Statement of DEAI, and more on their own site.
Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum
The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum, located in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is a functional roundhouse where restoration specialists work to preserve locomotives, railcars, tools, and machinery from the golden age of railroading. The entire tour is on one level, accessible by wheelchairs and motorized scooters. The Roundhouse Museum also provides a limited number of wheelchairs and strollers for guests.
American Civil War Museum of Ohio
The American Civil War Museum of Ohio, Located in Tiffin, Ohio, seeks to provide a unique and educational experience by collecting, preserving, artifacts and knowledge on the civil war, and interpreting it and its impact on the current generation of American People.
The entire museum is wheelchair accessible with ramps providing access throughout the main level, and a chair lift providing access to the lower level. The American Civil War Museum of Ohio also provides a research library, theater, presentation room, and even hands-on activities to allow guests to learn about the Civil War in many ways.
Cincinnati Museum Center
The Cincinnati Museum Center provides a wide range of exhibits from historical attractions to exhibits geared towards child-play. They provide a handful of “quiet rooms” for individuals with auditory sensitivities, equipped with amenities including weighted blankets, noise-reducing earmuffs, fidget toys, comfortable seating, changing tables and nursing rooms, with fidgets and earmuffs available at all ticket booths available upon request. The Cincinnati Museum Center ensures wheelchair-accessibility throughout the premises, and also offers wheelchairs and Electronic Convenience Vehicles for rent. Also provided are no-touch buttons that activate effects throughout the museum, braille exhibits in the Dinosaur Hall, and descriptive audio for the visually impaired for their OMNIMAX film “Secrets of the Sea”. For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, the museum also provides script versions of feature exhibit audio, and holds “Deaf Days” at least once per run of a featured exhibit. The Cincinnati Museum Center also provides a full list of accessibility options, accommodations provided, and where they can be found on their own site.
Amusement and Water Parks
Cedar Point is a famed amusement park which prides itself on its accessibility and accommodations. They welcome the use of mobility aids including strollers, wheelchairs, and power chairs. As well as a boarding pass for visitors with movement and cognitive disabilities with a reason they cannot wait in the normal line. They also provide ASL services for their shows upon request for those hearing impaired. Also provided is a full list of accommodations and accessibility options, including tips for visitors with Autism, a list of what rides guests with prosthetics or amputations should avoid, provide information on how to arrange for accessibility options, and other recommendations for a host of disabilities, what accommodations can be made, and what activities/attractions should be avoided, and more on Cedar Point’s website.
Great Wolf Lodge Cincinnati-Mason and Sandusky
Great Wolf Lodge provides numerous options for accessibility at their resort. Some of these include equipment for guests with auditory needs or sensitivities and a limited number of waterproof wheelchairs available upon request. Accessible parking, front desk services, restrooms and common areas are also provided. Sloped zero-depth entries, transport systems, or pool lifts are also provided to offer guests in a wheelchair ways in and out of the pool. Great Wolf Lodges full page on accessibility can be found provided on their own site.
Coliseum X, located in Columbus is Ohio’s largest indoor laser tag arena. All arenas are on one floor with no stairs required. Multiple laser-guns are also provided, some requiring two hands, others only needing one. They also emphasize the teamwork aspect of their activities, allowing some teammates to play a stationary role, not requiring movement, while other teammates take on a more active role, moving around. Coliseum X boasts they have had participants who are pregnant, in wheelchairs, in casts, or even on crutches. Coliseum X also provides information in their FAQs stating what participants with disabilities should be able to do.
Defiance Splash Park
Defiance Splash Park is a family-oriented park boasted to be ADA compliant and is wheelchair and stroller accessible. They offer a host of different attractions geared towards guests of all ages, with divided areas including a baby-area, toddler-area, and a large splash pad where older kids and even adults can comfortably cool off. All of this for free, providing families of all incomes a fun destination. You can learn about everything Defiance Splash park has to offer at their own site.
1828 Blaine “S” Bridge
The Blaine “S” Bridge, located in Bridgeport, Ohio, was part of the first federally-funded national highway, and being constructed for use of wagons, is accessible by means of assisted transport. The bridge has a constant grade of 6.3%, so use of non-breaking wheelchairs or strollers should be used with caution. You can learn about the 1828 Blaine “S” Bridge on the Historic Bridges website.
Big Bottom Memorial Park
Site of the Big Bottom Massacre, now the home of a memorial and historic plaque amidst the surrounding park and sitting next to the gently flowing Muskingum River serves as an ideal destination to learn the history of the site or simply enjoy nature in the park. Many of the locations are accessible without stairs, allowing for easy access for wheelchairs and individuals with mobility-disabilities. The Clio offers a very informative page on the history and location of the park.
Historic Fort Steuben
A reconstruction of the historical For Steuben, located in Steubenville, Ohio, provides a look back into the days when the fort was originally built, built with blockhouses for enlisted soldiers, officers quarters, artificer’s shops, the guardhouse, hospital, and commissary provide a glimpse into the daily life of a soldier serving here at the time. The visitor center and most exhibits within the fort are accessible by ramp, providing access for guests with a mobility disability, with only the gatehouse noted as being only accessible via just over a dozen stairs. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience provides a site providing information on accessibility, attractions, and location.