For families who have children with mobility issues, planning a day out is not a simple matter of flicking through Raring2go and deciding which attractions to try this season.
Venues need to be researched beforehand to make sure facilities are accessible and appropriate. Even getting out the door can be a marathon effort, once you've made sure all the special equipment you might need has been packed. It all takes time and often it's easier to just stay at home where everything is to hand and you don't have to worry about forgetting anything vital.
This spring, Raring2go! has been researching attractions nearby that go the extra mile to cater for adults and children with disabilities, not only physical, but learning disabilities too. We hope it makes getting out and about a little easier, but do feel free to contact us if we have missed anything. We will gladly add the information. Email the editor on firstname.lastname@example.org
At Avon Tyrrell we offer fully inclusive outdoor activities and have specialized equipment and facilities if needed. We encourage everyone to experience, learn and develop so you can climb our tower, shoot some Archery or paddle on the lake. The possibilities are endless. Join in our Go Adventure Sessions and Family Events or we have exclusive Inclusion weekends throughout the year for you and your family. Find out more at www.avontyrrell.org.uk
Marwell Zoo welcomes guests with disabilities, offering a free carer per disabled guest. A limited number of manual wheelchairs are available to hire for free although a small deposit is required. All toilets have disabled cubicles and for guests with severe disabilities there is a Changing Places toilet facility opposite Tropical World with radar key access. Marwell Zoo is the first zoo to become Makaton Friendly and now has an M on the Makaton map! Makaton uses signs (gestures) and symbols (pictures) with speech to help children and adults communicate. Assistance dogs are welcome however access is restricted in a few areas due to the sensitive nature of our animals. Please see access statement online at www.marwell.org.uk
Moors Valley Country Park
The friendly staff in the Visitor Centre are happy to advise you on the best routes to make the most of your visit, the popular Play Trail and Lakeside footpath are easily accessible for all-terrain pushchairs and mobility scooters. Detailed maps can be downloaded from the website www.moors-valley.co.uk/access. At the Visitor Centre, there is a Changing Places toilet with tracking hoist and height adjustable changing bed. Other accessible facilities include wheelchair and mobility scooter hire, a braille information guide, audio trail, large print leaflets and induction loop. Events for children and adults are organised throughout the year and can be adapted to suit all participants. Free guided cycle rides with a wide range of accessible bikes take place every Tuesday and Thursday morning. See our website for full information.
Cholderton Charlies Farm
We do all we can to make everyone's day special. Parents or Carers can call beforehand or tell our Admission Staff when they arrive, who will make sure the farm staff are aware of your needs and can cater for you during all activities down on the farm. Animal handling can be especially therapeutic, so we will make sure you have all the help you need to fully enjoy the experience.
Brownsea Island's special Seahorse boat for wheelchair users will be in use again from March meaning you will be able to make the most of the island, using either your own wheelchair or by borrowing one of the Mountain Trikes which cope well with the uneven terrain. Ring 01202 707744 to find out dates for the season.
Kingston Lacy also now has three off-road Mountain Trike Push wheelchairs for use enabling all visitors to see and experience the wonderful grounds and woodland. Visit www.mountaintrike.com/try-and-hire for further info on the Mountain Trike products.
Splash of Colour CafÃ©
We are a creative venue offering several activities of therapeutic benefit to people. Pottery painting is something anyone can do - we are experienced at adapting painting techniques to suit individuals with a variety of needs. We have regular customers with special needs who we are delighted to see benefiting from their creative pursuits. We are conveniently located near central car parks and the train station, making getting to us straightforward. If you have any special requirements, we are always happy to accommodate. Please feel free to call us to have a chat about any particular needs you may have.
Ph 01722 322250 splashofcolourcafe.net
Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre is accessible for wheelchairs. There are flat, paved routes from the car park. There are plenty of accessible paths that zig zag across the headland. We recommend that visitors pop into the Visitor Centre on arrival and ask the team about the most appropriate routes. For those wishing to enjoy the Hengistbury Head Landtrain, it has one carriage with access for wheelchairs. www.visithengistburyhead.co.uk
Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway
Exbury Gardens welcomes guests with disabilities and carers are admitted free of charge to the Gardens per disabled person. Bays for blue badge holders are at the front of the main car park nearest to the Gardens entrance and a limited number of manual wheelchairs are available to hire free of charge. Motorised scooters are welcomed in the Gardens as long as users keep to the recommended pathways. The Steam Railway has four railway carriages adapted to accommodate wheelchairs. All toilet facilities have disabled cubicles. Exbury also has a chauffeur driven buggy service so that visitors with limited mobility can access the main areas of interest within the gardens. It is a hop-on, hop-off service so visitors can enjoy exploring parts of the gardens on foot if they would like to. Sensory discovery trails for children are available all year and the gardens are a rich source of interest with wildlife, plants, a railway, ponds and more to explore. www.exbury.co.uk
At Jump Factory Indoor Trampoline Park in Basingstoke, we hold special needs trampolining sessions on the second and last Wednesday of each month, creating a relaxed, welcoming environment for our SEN visitors to enjoy. We understand that a busy trampoline park can be a little overwhelming for those with special educational needs, which is why we offer these uniquely-tailored sessions exclusively to SEN visitors and their carers/family members. Not only are these sessions an interactive way to explore and have fun, they also provide individuals with the opportunity to get active, whilst improving their co-ordination, sensory skills and muscle tone. Siblings are welcome to join in the fun, while carers are able to access the session for free, should they present a Gateway or Yellow Card. The sessions run from 6-7PM on the specified days, and are advertised on our website timetable for your convenience. To find out more, call us on 01256 327 772 or visit www.jumpfactory.co.uk
Nearest Attractions with Changing Places Toilets
Bournemouth Lower Gardens
Further info here
Information correct as of March 2017