Summer is a great time for visiting new places, and it is also the perfect time to talk about some of the most accessible attractions for people who are blind or visually impaired. We have previously written about some of the steps museums and other organizations are taking to make their attractions more inclusive and accessible for everyone. Things like audio description, touch tours, tactile paintings and statues, and assistive devices can help people who are blind or visually impaired fully enjoy popular attractions.
The following are five of the most popular attractions that have accessibility features for people with vision loss. It is intended to give readers a general idea about the accessibility services offered at some of the most frequently visited theme parks and museums in the United States. Institutions are constantly updating their services, so it is best for patrons to do some research before visiting.
- Smithsonian Institute
The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. offers many accommodations for people with visual impairments. Audio description is available in some exhibitions, and tactile elements can be found throughout the museums. Tactile and audio described tours can be arranged by contacting a museum two weeks in advance. IMAX movies also offer audio description. Publications are also available in Braille and CD.
- Walt Disney World Resort
All four Walt Disney theme parks offer accessibility features for guests with visual impairments. These include stationary large print and Braille maps, audio description for many attractions and entertainment events, Braille guide books and accommodations for service animals. Audio description is provided on a special device, which can be rented by guests upon arrival. This article from AccessWorld reviews and gives more information about the device.
- The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago offers audio described tours and a touch gallery specifically for people who are visually impaired (although anyone is welcome to visit.) Audio description is provided on special devices available free of charge to people with visual impairments and their companions. The museum also offers 3D replicas of some of the original works of art.
- Universal Orlando
Scripts for all Universal Orlando attractions are available in both Braille and large print, and service animals are welcome at most locations. Hotel room numbers are also labeled in Braille for guests who are blind.
- Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
Guests with visual impairments are advised to contact Busch Gardens two weeks in advance if they wish to have a guide for part of or all of their visit. Users who are blind or visually impaired should have the ride restrictions read to them prior to boarding. Service animals are also welcome.
While this list is not exhaustive, it can give patrons with vision loss a general idea of what attractions are accessible. Summer is a great time to have fun and visit new places, and this is much more enjoyable when we as people with disabilities can get the full experience. Be sure to check out any of the places listed if you have the time and are nearby! Do you know about other attractions that are accessible to people with vision loss or other disabilities? If so, please share them with our readers.