With Minnesota being known as the “Land of 10,000 lakes,” you may assume that it isn’t the most wheelchair-friendly state. After all, wheelchairs and water tend not to mix very well. However, Minnesota has a ton of wheelchair-accessible attractions. Here are some of my favorites....
Westwood Hills Nature Center St. Louis Park
Westwood Hills has a wonderful interpretive center and more than two miles of paved, boardwalk and crushed concrete trails surrounding Westwood Lake. I could easily roll on all of the trail terrains with my wheelchair.
After spending a nice day outdoors, be sure to visit the nearby REM5 Virtual Reality Lab for some accessible VR adventures. It’s not every day that you can go scuba diving as a wheelchair user, so this virtual reality experience is not to be missed!
Science Museum of Minnesota Saint Paul
Accessibility is fantastic at this highly interactive museum, where exhibits on space travel, dinosaurs and more are spacious and accommodating. You also can see interesting shows in the Science Live Theater or watch a film on a giant screen in the Omnitheater. Personal care attendants get free admission when visiting with a client, and there’s a family restroom on level four.
Carlos Creek Winery Alexandria
If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, Carlos Creek Winery is one of the state’s most scenic places to spend time, and it is completely wheelchair accessible. In addition to wine tastings (the blueberry is my favorite!), it has delicious food, and you may even enjoy some live music during your visit.
Next door at 22 Northmen Brewing Company, you’ll find a wide variety of beer and STOKE Wood-Fired Pizza, which I’d highly recommend. It was seriously some of the most delicious pizza I’ve ever eaten.
Where to Stay
After rolling around Minnesota’s attractions all day, you’ll need an accessible hotel, where you can rest and refuel for the next day of exploration. There are many hotels in Minnesota with accessible facilities. I stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Alexandria and the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown St. Paul. Both had roll-in showers, grab bars and enough space for me to maneuver easily around the rooms.
These are only a few of Minnesota’s many accessible offerings. Now the only question is, Where do you want to roll in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes?”
After being diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at two, Cory’s thirst for adventure never ceased. He has visited all seven continents sharing his accessible — and not so accessible —adventures. A four-time Webby Award winner, he has written for publications including Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic and Lonely Planet. You can follow Cory’s travel adventures at Curb Free with Cory Lee.
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