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4 Wheelchair Accessible Day Trips for the Family

July 14, 2022

As the summer heats up, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and about as a family. For families with disabled loved ones, it can sometimes feel stressful to find a spot to visit that will be suitable for a family member who requires the use of a wheelchair.

Nonetheless, although there might be some extra factors to consider, it’s more than possible to have a fun day out as a family, including those with disabilities. If you’re looking for wheelchair-accessible day trips around the Minneapolis area, here’s a look at some that could be perfect for you and your family!

The Science Museum of Minnesota

Minnesota is full of art and historical museums, and the Science Museum of Minnesota is one of the most popular family things to do in Minneapolis. Found in downtown St. Paul, the museum’s exhibits are spread across four floors that are completely wheelchair accessible. 

You can explore topics spanning everything from dinosaurs to LEGOS, from the human body to the Mississippi River. If needed, you can loan wheelchairs from the box office. There is also handicap parking on all floors of the adjoining parking garage, but only one side of the doors has a ramp with a door opener.

The Mississippi River

When the weather is warm, it’s tempting to spend as much time as possible outside. The Mississippi River is the most famous of the Twin Cities’ many watery attractions. 

This really is one of our favorite wheelchair accessible day trips, as wheelchair users can explore the scenic four-and-a-half mile long route of stunning scenery on a largely flat, well-paved trail. If you’re eager to discover the more urbanized side of the river, try visiting either downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul. Both Stone Arch Bridge and the Sam Morgan Trail - are both paved and easily accessible.

Visit A State Park

Another ideal choice for things to do outside Minneapolis is to visit one of Minnesota’s many gorgeous state parks. Several offer accessible options for both campsites and trails, while three offer specific wheelchair-accessible tours to visitors. These are Hill Annex Mine, Blue Mounds, and Mystery Cave, so take your pick for a wheelchair-friendly visit.

Hill Annex Mine State Park can be found in northeast Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. Its wheelchair-accessible tours enable visitors to discover the history of the mining industry in the local area, with 90-minute tours running on Fridays and Saturdays between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

If you’re interested in getting to know our state’s magnificent wildlife, Blue Mounds State Park’s tour will be your best bet. Located near Luvurne in southwest Minnesota, the Prairie and Bison Tours are also 90 minutes long, with one wheelchair-accessible tour running between Fridays and Sundays between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

Mystery Cave State Park takes you undergound—following a three-quarter mile paved corridor through cave formations and underground lakes. You can find the park outside the town of Preston, with daily tours available between Memorial and Labor Day Weekends and additional weekend tours running throughout the month of October.

Minneapolis Skyway

As the largest system of enclosed bridges in the world, the Minneapolis Skyway System spans 9.5 miles and 80 city blocks. Bars, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and much more dot the expanse, so there’s always plenty to explore!

Many elevators in downtown Minneapolis have a ‘SK’ button in place of a ‘2’, which means it will take you to the Skyway. From there, the route is wheelchair accessible, so you and your family can spend the day exploring.

Hopefully these ideas will give you plenty to do in the sunny summer months. For more tips and advice on care relating to wheelchair users, browse our catalog of blogs and resources. 

A person in a wheelchair navigates a city
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