When you arrive at any of these five fun places in the US, you'll likely see a few rigorously used handicapped vans parked nearby. They belong to people with disabilities and a powerful passion for unusual adventure. Each unique location promises an experience like no other, and they're all wheelchair accessible.
Known as "The Soul of Seattle", this one-of-a-kind farmers' market first set up shop in 1907, when eight farmers rode their wagons into town and, on the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street, established what has become one of the most celebrated spots in the country. A tip of the hat to Seattle city councilman Thomas Revelle, who was tired of overpaying for produce. He first suggested a market where farmers could sell their produce directly to the consumer, and Pike Place Market was born. Tom probably never imagined that his savvy suggestion would eventually become internationally known as America's premier farmers' market. Yes, it has grown somewhat since 1907.
Today, the market houses 200 year-round commercial businesses, 190 artisans, and about 100 farmers who rent table space. Just think of the mouthwatering goodies you'll get to sample as you mix and mingle with shoppers from around the globe. While scoping out the merchandise, which is a lively activity itself, you're entertained by more than 200 street performers and musicians. If you're a people person, this is the place for you!
Fabulous and free! This zoo has the tamest "wildlife" anywhere, and one man is responsible for "raising" and caring for all 160+ iron giants. Bill Swets built the Swetsville Zoo from scrap metal, car parts, farm machinery, and anything else that has imagination-inspiring potential. What's more, the popular Fort Collins attraction happened quite by accident.
According to Bill, who tapped into his creative side by constructing these works of art, he couldn't house his massive menagerie, so "I started putting them out in the yard, and people stopped to see." The collection grew to more than 160 sculptures, which now beautify a wooded path encircling the Swets' property. Though there's beauty in the beasts...
You can't help but notice that Bill has a unique sense of humor. His artwork includes goofy dinosaurs, visionary space ships, and an animal heavy metal band. You won't see another zoo like this one anywhere. It's wheelchair accessible--and it won't cost you a penny to explore Bill's wild side!
Eerily beautiful in every way. Centuries-old live oak trees dressed in lacy Spanish moss that billows in the breeze. Richly hued water lilies float lazily atop the pitch-dark water, hiding alligators, turtles, and other river-dwelling critters that inhabit the legendary Okefenokee Swamp. Majestic blue herons, great egrets, and ibis stand watch along the river banks and, in the trees, owls and osprey are among the more than 200 bird species that call the swamp home. If you'd like to pay them a visit...
Stephen Foster State Park at the tip of southeast Georgia is the primary entrance to one of Mother Nature's most intriguing masterpieces.
Considered one of Georgia's seven natural wonders, the Okefenokee Swamp can be explored a number of ways, and Stephen Foster State Park has accessible facilities and programs to make you feel a part of this visually stunning 402,000-acre ecosystem, with accessible cabins, cottages, and campsites (your neighbors are raccoons, foxes, bear, deer, and a few other four-footed inhabitants), boat tours, beaches, picnic areas, fishing piers, nature trails, exhibits--you'll have plenty to do!
If you're planning to stay a few days, call ahead for reservations to make sure you get accessible accommodations.
Come face-to-face with the future at Biosphere--named one of the 50 must-see Wonders of the World by Time Life Books. It's not often you can surround yourself with a living, breathing scientific. experiment. The strategically designed, completely enclosed mini-world contains a custom-built ocean complete with a real coral reef, a coastal fog desert, a misty tropical rainforest, and other extraordinary ecological communities. The rainforest alone is home to more than 150 species of plants, some reaching 60 feet in height. You'll even go behind the scenes to see...
The "lungs" that are used to keep the air pressure normalized in the vast, multi-facility laboratory of human-made biomes, which are areas of the planet that are classified according to climate, geography, plants, animals, soil organisms, and we know them as ecosystems (like the Okefenokee Swamp!) The mission of Biosphere 2 is "to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and lifelong learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe."
While mostly wheelchair accessible, there may be a couple of locations that aren't wheelchair-friendly inside the Biosphere. It's recommended that you call ahead to schedule a modified ADA tour ($25), and if you use a manual wheelchair, you will need assistance.
We'd be lion if we told you you should steer clear of this roarin' ranch!
As part of the worldwide effort to protect African lions from extinction, the 8.5-acre Lion Habitat Ranch in Nevada is a natural habitat for and home to 40 lions and their cubs. Is there a better way to learn about these magnificent animals than to be in the midst of more than forty lions. The habitat gives "up close and personal" a whole new meaning.
Some interesting tidbits you'll take away--these lucky lions can sleep up to 20 hours a day (yes, really!), and the females do all the hunting. (Apparently, when the cat's away, her husband is taking a snooze...)
Take a tour, explore the ranch on your own, or schedule a private tour. The ranch has concrete pathways. Get your picture taken with a lion cub! Watch these big cats getting bathed and hand-fed by trainers. You can even "Feast with the Beast"--enjoy a catered lunch or dinner surrounded by these beautiful lions which, let's hope, have already had their "mane" course.