If you have a child in a wheelchair, then you know all too well the unique challenges that come with finding a park that is accommodating to those with physical disabilities. My son Dyllan is nine years old, and LOVES to play at the park, especially the swings and slides! Dyllan has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, which makes it very hard for him to walk. As he gets older and heavier, we are finding that a wheelchair accessible park is a must! There are a few parks around the city, that have gone above and beyond to provide ramp access, turf for wheelchairs, and other great features to maximize inclusion and fun for people with physical disabilities!
Roy J Holland Memorial Park
One Park Drive, Fishers, IN
Roy J Holland Memorial Park is located in the middle of Sunblest Neighborhood in Fishers. It is open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. The playground was rebuilt a few years ago, and is now seated on a firm rubber material, that makes it easy to push a wheelchair straight onto the playground. There is a ramp to access all slides on the first level of the playground, as well as two handicap swings. If you have a child in a wheelchair that cannot transfer, they even have a bench swing system, where a wheelchair can be brought up via ramp, and the entire platform sways like a swing!
There is a very nice paved walking path that goes around the entire park facility, that is perfect for even a wide wheelchair to enjoy. Another nice feature is the picnic shelter right next to the playground. It’s open and easy to bring the wheelchair into, and a perfect spot to cool down if your child needs a break from the sun.
“Everyone’s Playground” at River Heritage Park
11813 River Road, Carmel, IN
Everyone’s Playground was specifically designed for inclusion and accessibility for children with various special needs. River Heritage Park is located in Carmel, off of River Road, and is open daily from 9 am-9 pm. The playground surface is mulch, which can make navigating a wheelchair difficult; however, the playground is entirely handicap accessible. There are ramps to access the slides and equipment, handicap swings, and over 40 acres of land that includes handicap accessible walking trails.
2100 S Morgantown Road, Greenwood, IN
Independence Park Located in Greenwood is open from 6:30 am- 8:30 pm, seven days a week. First built in 2000, it is known as Indiana’s first all-accessible playground. In March 2020, the playground re-opened with even more accessible options! There is an 8,000 square foot playground with a rubber surface, that makes pushing the wheelchair so easy.
With over 100 components to the playground that are all wheelchair accessible, you can stay and play for hours without limitations! They’ve added a Cozy Cocoon swing to combat overstimulation and lots of tactile play stations. The Aeroglider has benches at each end for children and adults, room for two wheelchairs, and stepping platforms on the outside of each end for more people to join the fun. There is a paved, wheelchair-accessible trail, in addition to the half mile hiking trail that is paved and accessible and a StoryWalk interactive reading experience. All wheelchair accessible!
Freedom Trail Park
500 Deer Walk Trace, Westfield, IN
Freedom Trail Park is open from Sunrise to Sunset seven days a week. With almost 30 acres of land, this is a sizable park that was specifically designed for inclusion and acceptance of children with disabilities. Rubberized material throughout the playground makes it easy to push a wheelchair for direct access to equipment. When the equipment was built, the ramps were designed to allow more than one wheelchair to pass on the wide ramp system, which will lead to all the playground features. The most unique feature about this park is the sensory garden. With over 2000 plants, as well as multiple interactive sensory elements, it is the first of it’s kind in the state of Indiana. The garden is 100% accessible to all abilities, and engages four of the five senses- sight, sound, smell, and touch.
“Unity Park” Blue Heron Park
405 Driftwood Court, Franklin 46131
Unity Park, within Blue Heron Park, is open from 7 am-8 pm seven days a week. This playground is incredible for children with disabilities. The entire playground has a rubber flooring surface for easy access. It features a merry go round with deep seats, that are designed to secure a child safely. It also includes a seesaw that is wheelchair accessible, and wide ramping systems to access all playground equipment. There are several handicap accessible swings, as well as spinning equipment with high back seating and straps for safety. You will also find paved walking trails, picnic shelters, and wetlands to explore!
Many different organizations have come together around Indianapolis to make our parks more inclusive and accessible for people of all abilities. Add one (or more!) of these parks to your Summer Bucket List, and make sure to share your memories with us, by using the hashtag #PLAYindy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
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