Jennifer Allen Summer 2022
These destinations and attractions offer something for all types of families. Spend less time worrying about barriers and more time enjoying quality family moments with these inclusion-focused getaways.
Strasburg is a train lover’s paradise. America’s oldest operating railroad is also one of the rare historic trains equipped with wheelchair access. Take a ride through the Amish countryside on the Strasburg Rail Road and enjoy some old-fashioned slow travel.
Just across from the steam engine ride is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania – a great place to explore over 100 trains. The museum also has hands-on exhibits for kids to build their own tracks or operate the G-scale model train.
Continue the fun at the National Toy Train Museum with plenty of activities and push-button-activated train scenes.
Start at Laguna Splash water park, where you can swap your wheels out for an aquatic wheelchair and roll right under fountains, and through pools and splash zones. In between enjoying the multiple water play areas, be sure to enjoy as much authentic Italian cuisine as you can.
While you’re in the area, enjoy the accessible railroad attractions. The Railroaders Memorial Museum celebrates the people behind the machines with interactive exhibits for kids and a roundhouse of trains on display. The Allegheny Portage Railroad is a national historic site showing the significance and history of this local railway.
The outdoor scene completes Altoona’s trifecta of ideal vacation attractions. In addition to accessible trails (including the September 11th National Memorial Trail, connecting all the 9/11 sites), you can find wheelchair-friendly hiking paths at Canoe Creek State Park. The park also has a beach with ramped access to the water and accessible amenities throughout.
Travel back to our nation’s beginnings at the bucket list-worthy Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. Many of the subway stops are wheelchair-accessible and all buses are equipped with lifts, making it an easy place to navigate. Swing by Eastern State Penitentiary and visit Al Capone’s cell for a different slice of history.
Don’t let Rocky’s steps scare you off from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The west and north entrances are accessible. In addition to world-renowned art, the museum offers family festivals and hands-on art activities. Admission is free for children.
Little ones will love exploring a miniature world of fun at the Please Touch Museum. Slightly older kids will enjoy the hands-on science at the Franklin Institute or the dinosaur fun at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Slow down with a beach getaway. The slow waves over the sand may lead you to believe that you’ve arrived at the ocean, but just head to the other side of the isle. Roll along to experience the ADA lake trail and its beautiful PA trees and wildlife. Beaches #7 and #8 have wheelchair access to the water and beach wheelchairs on loan.
Immerse yourself in nature with miles of rail trails through hundreds of thousands of miles of forest, along with breathtaking accessible vistas, unique wildlife, and some of the nation’s best stargazing.
The Pine Creek Rail Trail is a great place to start, but don’t miss the views from the top of Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon at Leonard Harrison State Park. Hyner View State Park is another great place to soak in the mountain views.
If you’re not up for a hike, take a drive along Scenic Route 6 or Route 44 for beautiful views. If you drive along Route 6, don’t miss the Kinzua Bridge, named one of the world’s most beautiful skywalks.
Cherry Springs State Park is a dark skies park and one of the best places in the country for taking in the night skies.
Why not go chasing waterfalls? Ohiopyle Falls is known as the Niagara Falls of western PA, and you can stroll the rim for fantastic views. Extend your time in nature on the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail.
Next head to Laurel Hill State Park and take the wheelchair-accessible Copper Kettle Trail for falling water views of the dam. With ADA camping, why not stay and enjoy the beach? There’s a beach wheelchair you can loan, an ADA swing, and a nice ADA fishing area.
Ligonier is a great area for exploring small-town USA, tracing the roots of an American icon through the Fred Rogers Center or interacting with the diverse animals at Living Treasures Wild Animal Park.
For more information on accessible family adventures in Pennsylvania and beyond, visit Jennifer Allen’s website, wonderswithinreach.com.