Around 216,000 people in the Kansas City area are diagnosed with some type of disability, including many people over the age of 65. While Kansas City, like many cities, isn’t yet completely compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act in all areas, progress continues to be made to make the city more inclusive. And, fortunately, families with children looking for a fun day out have no shortage of accessible destinations to choose from.
Kansas City Zoo
Home to over 1,300 amazing animals, Kansas City Zoo offers families a fun and educational day out. It’s fully wheelchair accessible with wheelchairs, strollers, and electric scooters available to rent on a first come, first served basis. The Zoo also offers the Sensory Friendly KC Zoo app which allows families with children with disabilities to plan their day out at the zoo in advance to avoid overwhelming sights and sounds. With this app, you can preview the various exhibits, including the Variety KC Exploration Play area. The first of its kind in the country, this play area is specially designed for children with disabilities or special needs. It’s an all-inclusive playground constructed on even, mulch-free ground — and therefore completely wheelchair-accessible.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City’s most popular museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art houses art from almost every contingent and culture. It’s wheelchair accessible and kid-friendly with visits from half an hour to two hours at a time recommended for children to get the most out of them. Whether you go for an art workshop, tour, or regular family visit, guides are on-hand to tailor the experience to the needs of neurodiverse school age children. In the mornings, low sensory sessions are also held. Low sensory mornings offer a quiet and low-stimulating environment, allowing children of all ages with sensory sensitivities to participate in interactive games or art activities, view the art galleries, or relax in the low-sensory break room. Children with cerebral palsy, in particular, may have sensory problems, CPFN, the Cerebral Palsy Family Network, explains. Hypersensitivity, in particular, involves heightened senses and consequential avoidance of crowds and loud noises. It’s therefore important families with children with cerebral palsy or sensory problems take advantage of available support to help their children participate in and enjoy everyday interactions and activities.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Featuring a proscenium theater and concert hall, the Kauffman Center is home to some of the very best performing art companies. Every year, a number of sensory- and child-friendly shows and events are held, such as the Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The Kauffman Center also offers Serenity Rooms: welcoming, quiet spaces offering a retreat or privacy from the performance or crowds. Designed for relaxation, the rooms feature dimmable lights and sensory items like playable art sculptures.
Kansas City offers families a number of fun, educational, and child-friendly days out. Kansas City Zoo, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Kauffman Center are some of the best accessible destinations.