Wichita is giving travelers with disabilities a reason to scratch Kansas off their list of flyover states. The city, which sits in the center of the U.S., has gone above and beyond the standard Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws to make it uniquely accessible for travelers and residents with disabilities.
A National First
One of Wichita’s greatest achievements in its accessibility endeavors is creating the first art gallery in the U.S. created by and for people with visual impairments. The Envision Arts Gallery strives to improve the quality of life for artists who are blind, visually impaired and/or disabled.
Artists of all ages and backgrounds with visual, physical, cognitive, or hearing disabilities are welcome to join the Envision Arts Gallery community, where they can showcase their creativity, experiences, and stories.
Rolling Through Wichita
Wheelchair users, rejoice. Enjoying Wichita’s booming live entertainment and brewery scene is possible with several easily accessible venues, thanks to Wichita’s “Rolling Through Wichita” initiative.
INTRUST Bank Arena is Wichita’s biggest arena. It was built in 2010, replacing the old Kansas Coliseum. The arena offers several accessible spaces with excellent views of entertainment that range from watching a Wichita Thunder Hockey game to a live country music performance.
When you’re ready for a cold drink, Wichita’s original brew pub, River City Brewing Co., offers 16 handcrafted beers on tap. Best of all, wheelchair users can easily access all parts of the brewery thanks to well-positioned elevators and ramps. If you arrive hungry, the pub specializes in local Kansas food and other cuisines to make almost all palates happy.
From a Resident
Hunter Vance is a wheelchair user and Wichita resident who encourages people to explore his city. He says, “Visiting a new city for someone in a wheelchair can bring the same excitement as it does for everyone else to try new food, see new scenery, meet new people and have new adventures to talk about for years to come.”
Vance recognizes many wheelchair users are concerned about the accessibility of unfamiliar cities, a worry that most of the public doesn’t have. “One thing a lot of people don’t have to think about is the accessibility of a city, and that can be extremely overwhelming. I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to worry about! Why? Because I’ve been living in Wichita, Kansas, for years on my wheels, and I’ve been to many places.”
Opening Arms to People With Autism
The city of Wichita understands that planning activities and vacations for people on the autism spectrum can be challenging, so they created a resource with autism-friendly opportunities.
While city officials recognize that autism is a spectrum and every person has individual needs, some recommended activities include the O.J. Watson Park, where there’s little to no wait time to play mini golf and take a paddle boat or train ride.
The Botanica Wichita is another excellent, kid and autism-friendly activity to do during the weekdays when crowds are fewer. Open-air options are abundant there, with a butterfly house and children’s garden and troll hill being some visitor favorites.
Plan That Trip
The city of Wichita helps remove some of the time-consuming aspects of organizing a trip for a person with disabilities. Whether you have a visual impairment, you’re a wheelchair user, or you’re on the autism spectrum, you can expect to encounter many accessible facilities in beautiful Wichita.