Adults and children of all abilities can have fun in Massachusetts this summer. In addition to having a number of special needs events scheduled, Massachusetts also has accessible spray pools, beaches and parks with ramps, wheelchairs that navigate sand and/or can float in the water, and much more. Check out this list of fun summer special needs events and and resources that are accessible and include everyone!
1. Massachusetts Accessible Pools & Spray Decks. All of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) swimming pools have outdoor chair lifts to provide access to the water. Several pools also have ramps into the water or offer zero-depth entry. Select pools and spray decks also have beach wheelchairs for use. Contact the pool or spray deck to reserve a beach wheelchair or for information about other site factors affecting accessibility. For a list of locations along with accessibility and contact details, visit the DCR Massparks Accessible Pools Page.
2. Adaptive Kayaking in Holyoke. Sports accessible and adaptive kayaking for special needs with the Center for Human Development (CHD) in western Massachusetts. This program is for kids and adults of all ability levels. Tandem and single kayaks available. Life jackets are provided. There is a steep paved hill to get to the water. Assistance will be available to those that need help in their personal wheelchair (or just need an arm to hold onto). Registration is required, please click here for more information.
3. Try Out Sled Hockey in Springfield. WHEN: June 11, 2022. Come try out a sled with CHDs All In program and the Springfield Thunderbirds Sled Hockey team. This event is for anyone ages 4 and up who would like to try out the sport and learn more about the Springfield Thunderbirds Sled Hockey program. Anyone with a disability that would prevent them from participating in “stand-up hockey” is a candidate for sled hockey. ALL ability levels welcome. Special accommodations may be arranged ahead of time. For more information, please click here.
4. Morningstar Access to the Boston Children’s Museum. This program offers children with special and medical needs the opportunity to enjoy the Boston Children’s Museum in an uncrowded environment, with few other visitors and less concern about infections and large crowds. To accommodate different needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now two different versions of Morningstar, masks on and masks off. Please select the one that works best for your family. Registration is required, please click here for more information.
5. Sensory-Friendly Movies. Movie theaters are offering sensory friendly film showings in various cities and towns across Massachusetts this summer. Sensory Friendly films provides a family friendly and accepting environment to all special kids. The auditoriums have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members may dance, walk, shout or sing. Check with individual theaters for specific times. The summer lineup includes Lightyear, Jurassic World Dominion, Paws of Fury, The Minions 2, and DC League of Super-Pets. Click here for more information about special needs events at movie theaters this summer.
6. Sensory-Friendly Open Barnyard in Hingham. This program offers a dedicated hour for families with disabilities, providing a reduced number of guests and quieter sensory friendly environment. Any family that would benefit from a limited capacity visit is welcome. During the Weir River Farm Sensory-Friendly Open Barnyard series, meet ponies, llamas, and potbellied pigs. Interact with goats, sheep, chickens. and black and white belted Galloway cattle. During this program, the barnyard is closed to the general public and headcount is limited. Pre-registration is required. Children 2 and under are free. For more information, please click here.
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