It’s summer. Summer means fun in the sun, outdoor activities and taking in the fresh air. And for us, summer also means finding new and exciting experiences to partake in. Luckily, this often means hitting the open road in one of our many wheelchair accessible vans. One of our favorite Midwest destinations for exactly this happens to be the great state of Illinois.
That is because Illinois is not only home to great food and sports stadiums, but they happen to have a wide array of accessible activities and attractions perfect for people of all abilities. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites – our top ten accessible activities in Illinois, to be exact.
10. Navy Pier
Chicago’s Navy Pier is arguably one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Illinois. All levels of Navy Pier are accessible by elevator and some wheelchairs are available at the Guest Services Desk on a first-come, first-served basis. However, not all attractions located at the historic Navy Pier are designed with patrons with disabilities in mind. Admission is free and the Navy Pier is open all year round.
9. Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
First open in 1889, the Jane Addams Hull-House was imagined as a place to offer art and literacy education, but regularly adapted to the needs of the community to include classes like the English language, cooking, sewing, and even technical skills. Now that the house is turned museum, and the house has been adapted to its visitors. The first floor is wheelchair accessible from the rear entrance. Unfortunately the second floor is only accessible by a steep staircase.
8. LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Open daily, LEGOLAND Discovery Center is designed with kids ages three to ten in mind. The center is ADA Compliant with wheelchair access, accessible seating and an easy-access elevator. Additionally, while there are many locations across the United States, the Chicago location specifically, is working with AUTISM SPEAKS to bring sensory play to the center the first Saturday of every month, making this a place inclusive for kids of all abilities to be able to play and learn.
7. The Art Institute of Chicago
Located in one of the oldest museum buildings in the United States, The Art Institute of Chicago houses more than 300,000 works of art at any given time. The museum offers many elevators throughout the building, making it easy for just about anyone to get around. Additionally, they allow for any type of wheelchair, from manual to electric, and various other assistive devices patrons may need to get around. They also offer manual wheelchairs for use free of charge.
6. Adler Planetarium
Open daily from 9:30am to 4pm, the Adler Planetarium’s goal is to inspire the exploration and understanding of our universe. With various ticket levels and parking options, the planetarium’s main entrance is accessible only via stairs, but they offer a secondary, accessible entrance and accessible seating within the planetarium.
5. Willis Tower
Formerly the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is home to the 1,353 foot tall glass skydeck. The room offers a unique view of Chicago that is fully accessible for wheelchairs. While it may seem scary and unlikely to support the weight of a wheelchair, the glass box known as “The Ledge” is on the 103 floor and can support up to 10,000 pounds.
4. Grant Park & Millennium Park
Located in Chicago’s business district, Grant & Millennium Parks are urban parks covering more than 300 acres of the city. The park’s pathways are all accessible and staircases are accompanied by ramps. The Cloud Gate “bean” sculpture, famous in many movies and tourist photographs, is a feature amongst the various sculptures and attractions, and is accessible for people of all abilities.
3. The Chicago Theatre
Renovated many times since its grand opening in 1921, the most notable renovation of the Chicago Theatre took place in the 1980s allowing for accessible seating to theater-goers in many locations throughout the theater. This theater, often showcased in movies and on television, is one that you won’t want to miss if given the opportunity.
2. Guaranteed Rate Field
Formerly Comiskey Park, then U.S. Cellular Field, Guaranteed Rate Field is home to the Chicago White Sox. The stadium, built in 1991, offers accessible parking options, accessible and companion seating on every level, elevators and escalators, assistive listening devices, and also allows service animals. The team advertises that it prides itself on providing the best guest service to all guests of all abilities and encourages fans to reach out to their Guest Relations team if they’re ever dissatisfied.
1. Chicago Botanic Gardens
Open for more than 40 years, the Chicago Botanic Gardens are one of the Chicago area’s premier destinations for visitors. Sprawling over 385 acres of land, islands and shoreline, the Garden’s 27 gardens and four natural areas make up one of the world’s largest living museums. The Gardens offer free admission year round and are generally open for visitors between 7am and 9pm during the summer months and between 8am and 7pm during the winter months.
When it comes to accessibility, the Gardens have wheelchairs available for use free of charge, electric scooters available for rent, service animals are welcome, and accessible restrooms are located throughout the gardens. Additionally, the Buehler Enabling Garden was created with people of all abilities in mind. This garden features raised beds and container gardens, adaptive tool displays and offers gardening techniques accessible to wheelchairs and scooters.
Always More to Explore
While this list doesn’t encompass all the accessible attractions, activities and experiences the state of Illinois has to offer, these attractions highlight some of the best accessibility in and around the Chicago area.
At Rollx Vans, we’re ready to hit the open road this summer – and you can bet that Illinois is on our list of places to visit. Are you ready to add this fine state to your next set of travel plans? Contact your Rollx Vans sales representative today to discover how our vans can accommodate your next travel plans and find your next ride.