The Christmas season is finally here! During this season, there are so many family fun activities you can do. This year my family started the season off with a visit to the Ark Encounter! The Ark Encounter is open year long, but during December, they have ice-skating, and festive light displays. Sounds fun, right? That’s because it is, unless it has poor accessibility for wheelchair users.
This park is about two years old, so I expected it to be fully ADA compliant. Here’s the accessibility adaptions you can expect when you visit the Ark Encounter.
A bus transports you from the parking lot to the actual Ark.
It is like a regular city bus. A ramp deploys from each door. There’s a section for two chairs to park. The only concern I have, and I have this for every city bus, is this: they don’t use tie-downs for your chair. AKA, you are not strapped in. I am always nervous that my chair will slide on the floor because it has done that in the past. Thankfully, this bus driver drove slowly, and I asked my uncle and dad to stand next to my chair just in case something were to happen.
Another tip on the bus, make sure they see you or understand your disability. Let them know you need to board first. This makes it easier for everyone and you won’t crush any toes. 😉
It’s a very large park so if you use a push chair, you may become exhausted quickly. Be prepared.
The park is beautiful, but it can be tiring, even if you’re able bodied! If you have trouble walking, they also have rental scooters available.
Ramps are everywhere!
There are 0 stairs, only ramps. Probably to replicate the interior of Noah’s Ark (I’m guessing animals didn’t use stairs haha), but this is also great for wheelchairs! This is great because you will never have to separate yourself just to use a ramp. You won’t feel like everyone is waiting for you. It’s those details, whatever the intention was, that helps wheelchair users connect and feel “normal” with the general public.
More parks should be like this.
As you explore the Ark Encounter, you travel up floors. At the end, there are two elevators that you will use to transport downstairs to exit through the gift shop.
There’s a cute petting zoo to explore! Also, kangaroo is coming soon. Oh yeah. 😉
You can warm up by the fire! Huddle around to stay warm.
The Encounter is full of answers.
They go into extreme detail about the Ark and how they survived, cooked, and worked. If you have any questions or you are curious about the Ark, like how they disposed the animal poop, they have an educated answer (but we will most likely, never know 100% how it was done). I don’t want to spoil anything else! It was all interesting. Even if you know the story, you will learn something!
Finally, there are beautiful lights everyone can enjoy
End the day and walk around!