Credit: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
New York State is home to thousands of incredible attractions that satisfy any interest, many of which have accessibility features for visitors with disabilities. Here are six attractions that offer programs specifically designed for travelers who are blind or have low vision.
Note: due to the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, some of these programs may be temporarily unavailable and venues may be closed. Please check directly with individual attractions for updates before making plans. By Executive Order, all visitors over the age of two, and able to medically tolerate one, are required to wear a mask or face covering when social distancing is not possible at any location in New York State. Individual attractions may have additional safety measures and guest requirements.
Laugh Out Loud at the National Comedy Center (Chautauqua-Allegheny)
Everyone loves to laugh! The National Comedy Center ensures that comedy fans of all abilities get the joke thanks to features like large print versions of exhibit labels and mural text and an audio guide that reads all printed text and audio descriptions of select spaces in the museum. Additionally, museum staff are available to accompany visitors who are blind or have low vision and provide additional description and assistance with interactive screen-based exhibits. To request this service, please allow three weeks advance notice and call the museum at 716-484-2222 or email email@example.com.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (New York City)
Credit: Lee Patrick
Did you know that New York is home to the first garden in the United States designed for visitors with low vision? Created in 1955, the Alice Recknagel Ireys Fragrance Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens allows visitors to touch and smell plants that were selected for their tactile qualities and scent (all nontoxic), such as the Lanterna camera flower (pictured). A metal railing with Braille labels helps guide visitors and identifies the plants.
Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Lessons at Gore Mountain (Adirondacks)
Gore Mountain offers adaptive one-on-one ski and snowboard lessons with staff trained to coach visitors who are blind or have low vision at all ability levels, from snow bunnies to serious athletes! Reservations are required so you can be matched with the best instructor and lesson for your needs.
Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester (Finger Lakes)
The Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester features 5,000 years of art history on a 14-acre campus. Blind visitors can schedule a touch tour of select works in the collection by contacting Chelsea Anderson or call 585-276-8971. All visitors can touch the artwork in the Centennial Sculpture Park and listen to recorded poetry and stories on their personal mobile devices in the adjoining Poets Walk and Story Walk. Audio descriptions of selected works of art in the Gallery’s collection are also available on the museum’s website.
National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House (Finger Lakes)
It was at her Rochester home that legendary civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting while being female in 1872. Today, visitors can learn all about the life and times of this Women’s Rights pioneer through docent-guided tours. For visitors who have low vision, the museum has a selection of objects that can be explored through touch. Advance notice is appreciated but not required.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Long Island)
Known as the “Summer White House,” Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay on the North Shore of Long Island was the home of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, from 1885 until his death in 1919. The National Parks Service offers an eight-stop audio cell phone tour of the grounds that can be accessed by dialing 516-502-0044. Visitor information brochures are also available in braille at the Old Orchard Museum & Visitor Center.
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