Science Museum of Minnesota accessibility

Wheelchair-Accessible Activities in Minnesota

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Science Museum of Minnesota  / Paul Vincent
Accessible Travel // Article

Wheelchair-Accessible Activities in Minnesota

By Brian Fanelli

From state parks to sports stadiums, museums to malls, here are six Minnesota destinations that make sure to meet the accessibility standards of visitors in wheelchairs.

Minneapolis skyline, Guthrie Theater

The picture-perfect skyline near Guthrie Theater / Ryan Taylor

See a Show at the Guthrie Theatre

Located along the scenic Mississippi riverfront in downtown Minneapolis, the Guthrie Theater is world renowned for its award-winning productions. But plays and musicals aren’t the only award-winning aspects of the Guthrie. The theater’s accessibility manager, Hunter Gullickson, earned a Sally Award for Arts Access by prioritizing theatergoers with disabilities, ensuring that all patrons can enjoy its shows.

Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul

Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul  / Paul Vincent

Learn Something New at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Like many of the metro area's arts and heritage museums, the Science Museum of Minnesota is located in beautiful downtown St. Paul. The museum’s vibrant, open space spans four floors of engaging exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to the human body, the Mississippi River, race, questionable medical devices and Legos.

More of a moviegoer? Grab tickets to an educational film at the Science Museum’s 90-foot, giant dome screen Omnitheater.

Wheelchairs are available for loan at the box office, and the entire museum is wheelchair accessible. There is handicap parking on all floors of the museum’s parking ramp, but take note that only one side of the doors has a ramp with a door opener.

Target Field skyline, downtown Minneapolis

The view above Target Field  / Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins

Catch a Game at Target Field

If sporting events are more up your alley, check out the Minnesota Twins’ North Loop home base, Target Field. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you may already be familiar with its central location and open rooftop, which provide spectacular views of downtown Minneapolis.

In addition to its Instagram-worthy backdrop, Target Field makes sure wheelchair users and other fans with disabilities have a picture-perfect visit by providing accessible parking, seating, listening devices, drop-off and pick-up areas, elevators, ramps, wheelchair services and storage.

Mall of America rotunda

Mall of America rotunda

Treat Yourself at Mall of America

Whether you’d like to explore the Sea Life aquarium, get lost in a mirror maze, watch a movie or shop ’til you drop on four different floors, you can do it all from your wheelchair at Mall of America.

Reaching the mall is relatively easy thanks to the step-free Blue Line light rail, which runs directly from downtown Minneapolis to Mall of America’s lower-level transit center. For a truly seamless Minnesota vacation experience, board the light rail at the airport and go straight to one of the mall’s attached hotels, Radisson Blu and JW Marriott.

Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge offers unparalleled river and skyline views for all users / Dan Anderson courtesy Meet Minneapolis

Don't Miss the Mississippi

In a region defined by water, the Mississippi River stands out among the pack of Twin Cities’ aquatic destinations. Weaving its way through the Twin Cities, America’s most written-about river is a must-see during your visit. From the Big Rivers Trailhead in Mendota Heights, explore a scenic, 4.5-mile section of nearly flat paved trail that overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.

For a more urban view of the Mississippi, head to either downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul. You’ll find the best river views in downtown Minneapolis on the iconic, bike and pedestrian-only Stone Arch Bridge, and from the Sam Morgan Trail in downtown St. Paul, both of which are paved. 

Fishing off the dock at William O'Brien State Park

Fishing off the dock at William O'Brien State Park / MN DNR

Take a State Park Tour

Many of Minnesota's state parks offer accessible campsites, lodging and trails. Thirteen now have electric track chairs, too — a free, all-terrain alternative for tackling designated trails. Some of which are not suitable for regular wheelchairs. Check out the DNR's site for more details about what's available during a particular time of year. 

At Hill Annex Mine State Park in northeast Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, wheelchair-accessible mining tours bring you on a historic trip through time on a bus tour that traces the route miners took to reach their workplace in an open pit mine. The 90-minute tour runs on Fridays and Saturdays between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

Family on wheelchair-accessible trail at Blue Mounds State Park

Explore the wheelchair-accessible trails at Minnesota State Parks / Minnesota DNR

Looking for wildlife on your outdoor adventure? Get up close and personal with some of Minnesota’s only remaining native prairie and bison on a new tour at Blue Mounds State Park. Located near Luvurne in southwest Minnesota, the Prairie and Bison Tours last 90 minutes, with one wheelchair-accessible tour every Friday-Sunday between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

Elsewhere in southern Minnesota, Mystery Cave State Park outside the charming town of Preston offers wheelchair-accessible tours of its scenic underground landscape. The tour takes place along a 3/4-mile paved corridor that showcases many dramatically lit cave formations and pristine, underground lakes. Daily tours are available between Memorial and Labor Day Weekends, plus additional weekend tours running through October.

For more information about wheelchair accessible travel in Minnesota, check out a guide from Curb Free founder Cory Lee.

Brian Fanelli

Brian Fanelli is a Minneapolis-based writer. You can reliably find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore or biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails.