Making memories with a summer vacation


Living with someone with special needs can be a challenge when you are trying to figure out a “family get-a-way”.  I recently came across a listing of the 7 best ADA theme parks in the US for the entire family.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the top ranked theme park on the list was right in our back yard; Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, in Santa Claus Indiana! 


Making the list:


1.Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, IN:

The Theme Park has a downloadable Accessibility Guide on their website to help you select the rides for your family. Furthermore, there is no smoking in the park for everyone’s safety and comfort. At the front gate you can obtain a Holiday World Ride Boarding Pass so you don’t have to stand in the long line.  


2.Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, TX:

This is the world’s first theme park to be built entirely accessible for children with special needs. If your child is in a wheelchair you can easily navigate the entire park and find plenty of fun adventures for the whole family. The park has free admission for all visitors with special needs.


3.Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA:

This is a wonderful theme park for younger children. If your child loves Big Bird, Bert or Ernie then why not take them to Sesame Place this summer? The theme park also offers a downloadable accessible guide to help you plan your day at the park.  


4.Cedar Fair Parks:

The Cedar Fair Entertainment Company operates 11 parks from Cedar Point in Ohio to Carowinds in North Carolina. All 11 parks offer special boarding passes for guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder or mobility needs. However, not all rides are suitable for everyone.


5.Six Flags:

There are 18 different amusement and water parks across North America for your summertime pleasure. All the parks offer Equal Access Passes that give you an alternative entrance access with your special boarding time. However, not all rides are suited for all children. Please check their website before deciding on one of these parks this summer.


6.Legoland in Carlsbad, CA:

If your child loves Lego blocks and building with them then they will love Legoland. Most attractions at the park are accessible for disabled guests; however, there are restrictions on a few of the rides. The park offers a universal access guide and special accommodations for guests with audio or visual needs.


7.Disney World and Disney Land:

The two theme parks located in California and Florida are world-famous for their special attractions and guest accommodations. Your child will have the adventure of a lifetime at Disney Land or Disney World this summer. 


So if your child wants to see Holiday World or even LegoLand, it is now possible to fulfill their dreams. Treat your family this summer to one of the greatest theme parks around the U.S.  Summer is about spending time with friends and family and making memories.  What better way to do than by setting out on the open road and heading to a theme park…where all of the family can enjoy the adventure!



What is a Disability?

The definition of a developmental disability includes, but is not limited to: an intellectual disability, autism, cerebral palsy, a severe head injury that occurred before the age of 22, or a severe seizure disorder.


Under federal law, "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:


  • attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments
  • manifests before the individual attains age 22
  • is likely to continue indefinitely
  • results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • self care
    • receptive and expressive language
    • learning
    • reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.
    • economic self-sufficiency; and
    • capacity for independent living
    • self-direction
    • mobility


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