Accessible State Parks

In this blog, I am going to be talking about the accessibility in two state parks that I have been to. The first state park is Niagara Falls State Park in New York. The second state park is the Statue of Liberty also in New York. I went to these two state parks in July of 2017, just a month after I graduated from high school. I went with my dad, younger brother and family from Puerto Rico.

First, let’s talk about the accessibility in Niagara Falls, in Niagara County, New York. All state parks in New York are committed to be accessible for all types of visitors. Recently, Niagara Falls State Park went under construction for major improvements. These include new ADA-compliant routes, picnic tables, overlooks and accessible parking. Wheelchairs are allowed in the state park and they can be used on the Niagara Scenic Trolley. These trolleys do offer a lift. All sorts of wheelchairs can get wet on various attractions. Service dogs are also welcome in the state park.

There are six attractions that are wheelchair accessible, including the Maid of the Mist, the Observation Tower, Niagara Adventure Theater, Niagara Scenic Trolley, Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, the Niagara Falls Visitor Center and Top of the Falls Restaurant. Although, there is one attraction that offers limited access, called is Cave of the Winds. They respect the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. I didn’t get to go to all the attractions, but I did get to go to Maid of the Mist. There’s a ferry that goes nearby the falls. The ferry is also wheelchair accessible.

The Statue of Liberty National Monument, at Liberty Island in New York City, is another state park that is committed to be accessible for all types of visitors. To get to the statue, you take a ferry to get there. Although, you don’t go straight to Liberty Island once you get on the ferry. There are two types of tickets that have great offers for wheelchair users. The first ticket is called the Standard Reserve Ticket. This type of ticket is great for wheelchair users and it offers round trip ferry transportation. It also provides access to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island grounds.

The second ticket is called the Pedestal Reserve Ticket. This is another type of ticket that is also great for wheelchair users. Not only it offers the round-trip transportation and access both island grounds, but it also offers access to the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and the museum inside. Liberty Island has a land mass of roughly fifteen acres. The walkways are accessible for wheelchairs and they are paved all around the island. Inside the Statue of Liberty, there is an elevator at the base of the statue, although the elevator only goes up to the pedestal.

About Zoe Hernandez: Zoe lives in Meriden, Connecticut. A Quantum® brand ambassador, Zoe attends Abilities Expos and speaks with people about her disability. She is currently enrolled in college and hopes to work in a community one day with people who are just like her. Click here to learn more about Zoe.