Days Out On Wheels
If you are confined to a wheelchair but still love to go outdoors, why not broaden your horizons with a day or part day at the park? There are many parks, and likely one near you, that have wheelchair accessible features including toilets, paths, and even wheelchair accessible displays. There are a couple of traditional types of "park" other than your local playground which can provide a great diversion. The first is a campground and the second is an exciting amusement park. Here are some of the benefits and pitfalls of visiting parks in a wheelchair, in the hopes it will help you not get stuck on your day out!
Camping With Wheels
If you're looking for sensibly accessible camping, be sure to request a site that is level and clear of rocks, stones or logs, with reasonably hard-packed ground so you can move around with ease. Some sites even offer paved areas specifically for wheelchair accessibility. Shower and bathroom facilities which are wheelchair friendly are a bit trickier to find and you may have to get a bit adventurous. Don't forget to ask whether the facility has wheelchair accessible bathrooms and showers, but remember this is camping so sometimes the full wilderness experience is worth a bit of roughing it.
Many campgrounds have trails that are paved, well lit and with rest stop areas. These are great for wheeling along with a walking or cycling friend, while taking in the nature and fresh air. Make sure to choose hiking trails that are paved and have guardrails (whenever available). Many places also like to provide wheelchair friendly visitor leaflets, maps and signs which give you a clear view of where you can get to easily without difficulty. Make sure that you ask how steep various trails and routes are - you don't want to get stuck in a tricky spot in the summer heat (or any other unfriendly weather). At the seaside, lots of campgrounds offer wheelchair accessible parking and wheelchair visible signs. It is often worth asking if the place you are visiting has any all-terrain wheelchairs for rent. If you'd rather sleep in a cabin than a tent, ask the ground workers to install a ramp for easier access (although there should already be one really).
Adrenalin on Wheels
If you're looking for a more adrenalin-pumping day at an amusement park, you'll be glad to know that more and more amusement parks are converting to full-scale accessibility. This includes the ride area that can accommodate standard size wheelchairs, with room to manoeuvre, load and unload, ramp access to facilities, additional handrails and wheelchair viewable displays and outdoor signs for posting safety guidelines. Consider a virtual reality ride or show, where your chair can be fixed for most of the time, or how you would go about transferring from your chair to rollercoaster or other ride seats. There are some Ferris wheels that can now be sat in without leaving your chair. In future, keep an eye open for newly designed rides that must provide at least one space for a wheelchair. Otherwise, make sure you have fun and don't get too scared on those big rides!