Phoenix attractions accommodate disabled - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Phoenix attractions accommodate disabled

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Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009 3:03 pm | Updated: 1:01 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Traveling in Arizona is about our ability to access the natural theme park we call home. If you or someone you know is challenged by the ability to navigate the beauty of Arizona due to physical limitations, then here are some great activities in our own backyard.

Phoenix has been recognized nationally for its excellent service and accessibility and for programs that facilitate the involvement of people with disabilities. Phoenix Parks and Recreation has a great program called Daring Adventures for people who push chairs, use canes or need accessible travel paths while exploring Arizona.

The program is designed to get everyone up and out and doing something recreational. The Challenge is a four-part recreational walk at four parks in Phoenix that feature accessible trails: South Mountain, Rio Salado, North Mountain and Papago. Contact Loren Worthington at loren85022@gmail.com with questions about the parks.

Another great activity is the Desert Botanical Garden located on the borders of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe next to the Phoenix Zoo and Papago Park, one mile north of Metro light-rail station 19.

The Desert Botanical Garden is a great place to get wheelchair exercise as well. The paths twist and wind for about a mile. And there is a number of good inclines for cardio fun. A few laps will have anybody catching their breath; wheeling or walking this is a great way to get exercise.

For those interested in the desert, you will find cactuses and other plants indigenous to deserts and arid regions spread throughout the park. It is definitely not just plants from the Sonoran Desert. So even to locals, there are plenty of reasons to visit. Probably the best reason to come to Desert Botanical Garden is that it is a relaxing, convenient place to explore the desert. There is plenty of shade, water and concession stands for food and drink. The garden hosts small musical concerts, weddings, and art-related festivals.

As for accessibility, Desert Botanical Garden gets high ratings. There are paved paths and dirt paths. All of the concessions and restrooms are convenient as well. If you are a photographer in a wheelchair constantly wishing you could get at ground level for close-up pictures, this is a great place for you. In a place such as this you are looking at planters that are about 24 inches high with a retaining wall beside the path for great shots. Now you can shoot from "ground level."

Desert Botanical Garden stays open past dark to allow you to experience sunsets and how the desert changes when darkness arrives.

Find the monthly newspaper AZ Tourist News at participating Village Inn, IHOP and JB’s restaurants as well as your local Chamber of Commerce and convention and visitors bureaus.

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