Indianapolis Museums Offer Extra Help for People with Special Needs

It’s summer time. And, we all need to take a break from our daily routines, whether it’s a weeklong family vacation or even just a day-long staycation. Deciding where to go can be a challenge for caregivers, as they want to assure a positive experience for their loved ones and minimize complications. Thankfully, Indianapolis has a several museums, parks and attractions that make it a little easier for people with disabilities.

According to the website, WheelchairTravel.org, Indianapolis gets a perfect score for its attractions, hotels and even downtown public transit access for those in wheelchairs. John Morris, a 27-year-old triple amputee has flown more than a half million miles and is among the world’s most traveled wheelchair users. He began writing about his travel experiences after recovering from a serious motor vehicle accident in 2012, which left him confined to a wheelchair.  Here are some of his highlights from his trip to Indianapolis. We’ve also added some notes, too.

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

While the museum is not 100 percent accessible to wheelchairs, most of the exhibits and attractions can be accessed, including the carousel. Museum staff will do everything possible to help accommodate you or your child. 

The museum also offers complimentary admission tickets to a licensed care provider for visitors requiring medical assistance to visit. Assisted listening devices are available for the Lilly Theater. If your child has ASD or sensory issues, the museum can help prepare ahead of time for some of the sights and sounds. To help, download sensory stories and download or pick up a sensory map at the concierge desk.

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The museum’s collection of Contemporary Native Art is hailed as one of the best in the world. The museum’s broad-based collection allows it to achieve its mission to understand the development of the Western and Native American cultures from a variety of angles. The Eiteljorg is fully accessible to visitors in wheelchairs.

Indiana State Museum

Located along the Central Canal in White River State Park, the museum catalogues the history of the state from prehistoric times to present day. The building and exhibits are fully accessible to wheelchairs. 

Assistive Listening Devices and T-Coil devices are available for programs in the Frank and Judy O’Bannon Great Hall with a 48-hour notice. Assistive Listening Devices and T-Coil devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis for programs in the Dean and Barbara White Auditorium.

Indianapolis Central Canal and White River State Park

The three-mile canal walk that runs through White River State Park is wheelchair accessible, with numerous access ramps on either side of the canal. There are several elevators that provide access to and from the street level. The canal is crossed by many bridges for pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Access to the canal is also available by passing through and using the elevators in the Eiteljorg and Indiana Museums and the Indiana History Center.

Indianapolis Zoo

All the grounds of the 64-acre zoo are wheelchair accessible, and there is wheelchair seating in the Dolphin Pavilion.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Also located in White River State Park, the building and exhibits are wheelchair accessible. Most of the interactive exhibits, including a basketball court and quarterback football toss game, are wheelchair friendly, and depend on the participant’s own ability to handle the ball.

If you want to read more about Morris’ wheelchair travels, go to www.WheelchairTravel.org.


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