For Immediate Release: 27 November 2023
From an ultra-accessible theme park to the world’s first Autism City, accessible skiing and much more, destinations in the United States are taking the initiative to ensure everyone is included and able to experience the best of travel. Please find below the latest opportunities from our clients.
Morgan’s Wonderland – San Antonio
San Antonio is home to Morgan’s Wonderland the world’s first ‘ultra-accessible’ theme park, devised to make everyone feel included and bring people of all ages and abilities together. Set for a major expansion in 2024, that will include new rides and 4D cinema, the park is a 25-acre oasis of inclusion, entirely wheelchair-accessible with all kinds of theme park attractions from a Ferris wheel and water splash park to catch-and-release fishing, and plenty of attractions. The story behind the creation of this theme park is a gift of love from a father to his daughter. In 2006, a man named Gordon Hartman noticed his daughter wanting to interact with other children at a hotel pool but they were wary of her and would not include her in their play. Gordon and his wife Maggie resolved to create opportunities and places where those of all abilities can come together for fun and a better understanding of one another and Morgan’s Wonderland was born.
This heartwarming story has also found its way to the heart of Hollywood. The theme park has inspired a movie that will explore the Hartman family’s challenges in raising a child with special needs, and what sparked their determination to create a place where people of all abilities could get together and experience. The theme park has attracted almost 3 million guests from all 50 states and more than 120 other countries since the grand opening in 2010. The ink is just dried on the agreement – production dates coming soon.
First Autism Certified City – Visit Mesa, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona is the first ever autism certified city in the United States. The Autism certified city (ACC) designation, awarded is given to communities where key stakeholders, including healthcare, education, local government, hospitality, leisure, and corporate members are trained and certified to better serve individuals with autism and other cognitive disorders. To earn this achievement, at least 80% of guest or public-facing staff are trained in understanding Autism and sensory disorders. Mesa is the first city to be designated as such. Recognized nationally as one of the most family-friendly communities in the United States, Mesa hotels and attractions are rolling out the red carpet to welcome travellers. Whether creating a work of art, panning for gold, or exploring our stunning desert landscape for the first time, Mesa offers a full-sensory experience for everyone.
Fall Colours Viewfinder – Tennessee
Tennessee has one of the best Fall colour displays in the USA, with its landscape lending itself to fiery red, lush greens and warm oranges. They wanted to ensure everyone had the opportunity to experience the incredible display, including colourblind people who’ve never experienced fall colours. Thus, they developed the first scenic viewers in the world designed to help those with red-green colour deficiency. The Tennessee Viewfinders for the Colourblind helps visitors enjoy the fullness of our state’s landscape, scenic views and fall colours accessible to everyone, making travel truly accessible.
Accessibility Guide – Explore Louisiana and New Orleans & Company
A wide range of travel options are available for visitors with disabilities in Louisiana. From the bayous of Cajun Country to the rolling hills and freshwater lakes of north Louisiana, Louisiana’s 22 state parks offer outdoor fun for all visitors. These parks were designed with accessibility in mind, and many have paved trails and wide boardwalks. Louisiana Tour Company and Airboat Adventures, also in the Barataria region, have wheelchair-friendly swamp boat tours that ensure everyone gets to experience Louisiana’s famous swamps.
New Orleans provides an Accessibility Guide for tourists to navigate the city and enjoy its various sights and sounds. This city welcomes everyone and with being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) it has ensured people of all abilities can experience the city. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) runs the buses, streetcars, and ferries here in New Orleans. Standard buses and streetcars are equipped with devices for disabled riders, and paratransit services are available for eligible riders. In partnership with the local disability advocacy non-profit, Lighthouse Louisiana, Accessibility Cards are available for riders of public transportation who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision. Various museums and attractions offer accessibility options for those who are visually impaired or hearing impaired. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s services include large print materials and verbal description services.
Accessible Sports & Skiing – Discover New England and Meet Boston
New England is a great playground for skiing and sports enthusiasts. Vermont Adaptive is an organization empowering people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming. It has year-round programme options in addition to sports. Founded in 1982, Maine Adaptive is now the largest year-round adaptive recreation program in the state of Maine for adults and children with disabilities and provides 3500 lessons.
Boston ensures transportation & experiences that are accessible to as many people as possible, welcoming visitors with any need or requirement. F1 Boston features F1 cars designed especially for children with disabilities.
Accessible Helicopter Tours – Maverick Helicopters
Maverick Helicopters employs the highest qualified pilots in the industry who have received numerous awards for safety and is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. Maverick Helicopters also has the top safety record of any tourism-based aviation company in the world. Maverick caters for wheelchair users and collapsible wheelchairs can be transported in the helicopter in most cases.
Accessibility Guide – Visit Mississippi
Mississippi welcomes all visitors with disabilities and special travel needs. The state has various attractions offering experiences and accommodations that demonstrate their commitment to making it accessible for all. Ship Island located in the Gulf of Mexico offers travellers pristine beaches that can be accessed through private boats equipped with ramps for boarding and wheelchair tie-downs on the first deck and cabin. Beach access is provided via a continuous pier and boardwalk. The Hattiesburg Zoo was the first attraction in Mississippi to be certified by KultureCity as a sensory inclusive location. During scheduled sensory days, the zoo offers sensory bags at the zoo office which include noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads. The Mississippi Museum of Art provides wheelchair-accessible parking and the Grammy Museum Mississippi offering the best of American Music offers parking for the differently abled ensuring travellers can access these places conveniently.
Saguaro National Park – Visit Tucson, Arizona.
The unique Sonoran Desert landscapes and Sky Island mountains are accessible to travellers of all abilities. Saguaro National Park contains many accessibility upgrades such as; 8-foot parking spaces, curb cuts, wide power-assisted doors, variable height counters, and brochures in various text sizes. The new interpretive exhibits include assisted listening technology, closed-captioned videos, and a replica saguaro that is designed to be touched. The visitor centre also features a fully accessible and covered outdoor interpretive patio where daily educational programs take place. The Park is proactively working to provide for persons with a variety of abilities in order to connect people with their natural resources.
Children’s Museum Tucson features 11 indoor exhibits and party rooms & s entirely accessible by wheelchair and accessibility has been designed into the exhibits. The Museum also offers programming for families with children with autism, low-sensory needs, and disabilities to ensure they are welcomed in an inclusive environment.
For media enquiries, more information, hi-res images or video, please contact:
Caroline Donaldson-Sinclair, Senior PR Account Manager: email@example.com
For Visit San Antonio, Discover New England and Meet Boston
David Venables, PR Account Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Explore Louisiana, Visit Mississippi, Tennessee Tourism, Visit Mesa, Maverick Helicopters
Kirsty Dillury, PR and Communications Director: email@example.com for Visit Tucson