Have wheels, will travel
We’ve all been reading lately that it’s good for kids to be bored on occasion, that boredom is the “elixir of creativity and passion”. That does not take away from the fact that every kid – and their parents – need to have a change of scenery and get out and about to experience other fun things. So as summer break eases into the “dog days of summer”, where in Tallahassee do you go when it’s time to take a break from book reading, coloring, Legos, or screen time? And where can you go and be confident your child who has mobility challenges or is in a wheelchair will have an enriching experience that puts a smile on their face?
Parks & Recreation
We’re fortunate in Tallahassee to have wonderful, accessible parks and playgrounds. There are many specialized play sites and programs for persons with disabilities, including, swimming, and adapted gymnastics (requires parent participation and is offered for the elementary age child with special needs). The Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, & Neighborhood Affairs Department (PRNA) encourages an environment of social inclusion of people with diverse backgrounds and various skill levels. Children can be registered for general recreation classes held by the PRNA. For guidance or suggestions on appropriate classes call the PRNA at 850-891-3866 for information to help identify programs to best meet your child’s needs.
There are two playgrounds in Tom Brown Park. The larger blue playground is completely accessible, with a separate area for young children, including baby swings. The playground has adapted swings, misting station, tire swing, slides, tunnels, an interactive video game, and more. Also, there are covered picnic tables and accessible restrooms.
Nearby Tallahassee is the Felburn Foundation Boundless Playground, located at the Wakulla Station Trailhead of the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail (1358 Old Woodville Road). It has a poured-in-place rubber surface, ramps on the playsets, elevated sand table and activity panels, and swings and bouncers with high back support. While you’re in this area, you could even do some bird watching at the St. Marks Visitor Center on Lighthouse Road!
Sports without limitations
Miracle Field is located at the James Messer Sports Complex. Many community partners came together to build it, and it has a rubberized surface field that allows accessibility for people of all abilities to play a variety of sports without limitations. Accessible dugouts, restrooms, and parking are all available.
Hiking the trails
Museum of Florida History
The Museum of Florida History is located in the R. A. Gray Building at 500 S. Bronough Street, and is accessible. There are exhibits and artifacts depicting our state’s vibrant history, including a mastodon skeleton and gold and silver from Spanish shipwrecks. There’s a giant armadillo mannequin from the Pleistocene era, and also various artifacts from the changing gallery, as well as visiting exhibits on display.
Cars and more
Just about every kid has a fascination with cars, but the Tallahassee Automobile Museum, located at 6800 Mahan Drive, has even more than that…lots more, and all accessible! In addition to a very large collection of cars, there are Batmobiles! Collections of dolls, toys, boats, pianos, motorcycles, and way too much to list here are a delight to the eye!
The Florida Capitol
The centerpiece of our city is, without a doubt, Florida’s capitol building, with the stately Florida Historic Capitol (now a museum) that sits in front with its notable striped awnings. Undoubtedly, your kids have ridden past and seen the outside, but don’t miss an opportunity to let them see for themselves the inside of their state Capitol! The Historic Capitol Museum has special access available from the northwest entrance on the courtyard side and with elevators to each floor. The 22 story Capitol is open to the public on weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is closed on weekends and holidays. The grand finale of this trip is taking the elevator to the 22nd floor, which is surrounded by windows looking out on all sides. Children will be in awe, looking out to spy landmarks they know. And if it’s a clear day, they might even see the St. Marks lighthouse!
So, here’s hoping the rest of the summer takes you to some fun places to explore and play! Remember – have wheels, will travel!