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Accessible Connecticut

Accessible Connecticut: A Guide to Recreation for Children with Disabilities and Their Families

Nora Ellen Groce
Lawrence C. Kaplan
Josiah David Kaplan
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Accessible Connecticut
    Book Description:

    This user-friendly guide helps parents of children with disabilities plan family outings in Connecticut that are stimulating and fun. Intended for youngsters who use wheelchairs or who have visual, hearing, or mental impairments, it presents places throughout the state that are easily accessible and reasonably priced and that require little or no prior planning.The entries are arranged by type of activity. They include places to see animals (zoos, aquariums, hatcheries, farms); children's museums; museums of nature, history, science, fine arts, and special interest; places of historic interest; playgrounds; nature centers and walks; theaters and performing arts; and weekend excursions for the family. Each place or activity lists location, directions, phone numbers, web information, hours, admission fees, brief descriptions, and assessment of accessibility by type of disability. The guide is an invaluable resource, helping children with disabilities (or, for that matter, parents with disabilities) share with their families the experiences and playtime activities that are part of all happy childhood memories.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13077-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xiv)

    Our title isAccessible Connecticut: A Guide to Recreation for Children with Disabilities and Their Families, but the emphasis in this book is on children, not on disability. This guide is intended as a source of information for parents of children who have a disability, with the goal of helping them plan outings in Connecticut that are fun and often educational, too. This is not a medical publication. As we have worked on disability advocacy issues over the years, we have been struck by the fact that all too many children with a disability are “mainstreamed” only during school hours...

  4. Animals
    (pp. 1-15)

    27 North Road, Cromwell

    Directions: From Route 9 North, take Exit 19. At the end of the ramp, turn left on to Route 372 West (toward the shopping center) and continue straight about 1 mile. Immediately before Webster Bank, turn right onto Coles Road. Turn left onto North Road Extension. The house is on the left (look for the sign).

    From Route 9 South, take Exit 19. Turn right at the end of the ramp onto Route 372 East, and then follow the directions above.

    Phone: 860–635–3924

    Hours: May 1 through Labor Day, Monday through Saturday,...

  5. Children’s Museums
    (pp. 16-26)

    409 Main Street, Niantic

    Directions: From I-95 North, take Exit 73 and turn left onto Route 161. Go 3 miles and turn right onto Main Street (Route 156) in Niantic.

    From I-95 South, take Exit 74 and turn right onto Route 161. Then follow the directions above.

    Phone: 860–691–1111


    Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 9:30 A.M.–4:30 P.M. Friday, 9:30 A.M.–8:00 P.M. Sunday, 12:00 P.M.–4:00 P.M. Open Mondays in summer and during school holidays. Closed on major

    Admission: Adults and children over 2, $4.00. Children under 2, free.

    Description: This museum features dozens...

  6. Museums of Nature, History, and Science
    (pp. 27-54)

    820 Main Street, Bridgeport

    Directions: From I-95 North, take Exit 27 (Lafayette Boulevard). Continue straight from the exit ramp through 5 stoplights, turning left on Main Street after the fifth light. The museum is on the right, immediately past the first stoplight on Main Street.

    From I-95 South, take Exit 27 and turn right, following the sign for Lafayette Boulevard. Continue onto Lafayette and turn right at State Street. At the intersection with Main Street, turn right. The museum is 2 blocks down on the left.

    Phone: 203–331–9881

    Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M.–4:30 P.M....

  7. Museums of Fine Arts
    (pp. 55-63)

    56 Lexington Street, New Britain

    Directions: From I-84 East or West, take Exit 35 (Route 72). From Route 72, take Exit 8 to Columbus Boulevard and follow the signs to the museum.

    Phone: 860–229–0257

    Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 12:00 P.M.–5:00 P.M. Saturday, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Sunday, 12:00 P.M.–5:00 P.M. Closed on major holidays.

    Admission: Adults, $4.00. Senior citizens, $3.00. Students, $2.00. Children under 12, free.

    Description: This museum features a large collection of American works of fine art and has a number of changing exhibits and programs throughout the year.

    Wheelchair users: Parking...

  8. Special Interest Museums
    (pp. 64-72)

    Windsor Locks

    Directions: From I-91 North or South, take the Exit 40 ramp, which merges into Route 20, and follow Route 20 to Route 75. Turn right onto Route 75, go up 6 stoplights, and turn left into the airport. Take the first right, and go 3 miles. The museum is well marked; look for the signs.

    Phone: 860–623–3305

    Hours: Daily, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

    Admission: Adults, $6.75. Senior citizens, $6.00. Children 6–11, $3.50. Children under 5, free.

    Description: This is one of the few large aviation museums in...

  9. Places of Historic Interest
    (pp. 73-101)

    Long Wharf, New Haven

    Directions: From I-95 North or South, take Exit 46 to Long Wharf Drive. Long Wharf Drive parallels the interstate along New Haven harbor. The entrance to theAmistadlot is immediately beyond the New Haven visitor’s information booth. If the ship is in port, you will clearly see the tall masts.

    Phone: 203–499–3894

    Hours: Monday through Friday, 12:00 P.M.–5:00 P.M. Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Note: the ship regularly sails to other ports both within Connecticut and beyond. Call or check theAmistad’s Web site before heading to the...

  10. Playgrounds
    (pp. 102-108)

    Throughout Connecticut, playgrounds in communities are increasingly being either planned specifically with disabled children in mind or designed to be universally accessible. In either case, children with disabilities benefit.

    The Connecticut-based nonprofit organization Boundless Playgrounds deserves special note. Dedicated to fostering the development of accessible playgrounds throughout the nation, Boundless Playground’s home base is Bloomfield. Connecticut has already benefited greatly by its local presence. Jonathan’s Dream, the Family Center, Acorn, and Andy’s Place are all projected affiliated with Boundless Playgrounds. To contact Boundless Playgrounds, write to One Regency Drive, Bloom-field, CT 06002–2310, call 860–243–8315, or visit its...

  11. Nature Centers and Walks
    (pp. 109-133)

    Falls Village

    Phone: 860–657–4743 (Connecticut Appalachian Mountain Club)

    Hours: Year-round, 24 hours a day.

    Admission: Free

    Directions: Go north on Route 7 toward Falls Village. Immediately after Route 7 crosses the Housatonic River, turn left onto Warren Turnpike. Follow Warren Turnpike about 1½ miles to its intersection with Water Street. Turn left onto Water Street. A parking lot for the Appalachian Trail is immediately on the left.

    Description: This mile-long section of the Appalachian Trail is being redesigned to be handicapped accessible. It is the only section along the entire 2,160-mile national footpath between Georgia and Maine being...

  12. Spectator Sports
    (pp. 134-138)

    In recent years, Connecticut has become home to 5 minor league teams. All the teams play in accessible stadiums (although some of the older stadiums are less fully accessible than the newer ones), and all charge modest prices for tickets. (Many seats are $2.00 to $9.00, with reduced rates for children.) Most of the teams play 70 or more games a year, April through September, including night games.

    Harbor Stadium, 500 Main Street, Bridgeport

    Phone: 203–345–4800

    Directions: From I-95 North or South, take Exit 27 and follow the signs to Harbor Stadium.

    Description: This team is...

  13. Family Sports
    (pp. 139-147)

    Dozens of local spots around the state are available for many of the following activities. Featured here are places with unique or specifically designed features for individuals with disabilities.

    275 Valley Service Road, North Haven

    Directions: From I-91 North, take Exit 11 and turn left at the end of the ramp. After this, take the first right onto Valley Service Road.

    From I-91 South, take Exit 12. Turn left at end of the ramp onto Route 5. Take the first right onto Route 22 and then the next right onto Valley Service Road.

    From the Merritt Parkway southbound, take Exit...

  14. Fishing
    (pp. 148-158)

    The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection offers a brochure, “Connecticut Angler’s Guide,” with good information, updated annually, on fishing in and around the state. For a copy of this brochure, write to: Department of Environmental Protection, State Office Building, 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106, or call 860–424–3474. A free copy of the brochure in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format can be downloaded at the DEP’s Web site: Web site also allows blind and visually impaired users to download the file in Access. Adobe format. Fishing licenses are required for anyone who is 16 years of age...

  15. Camping and Hiking in State Parks and Forests
    (pp. 159-195)

    A free brochure with information on all the state parks is available from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Wheelchair accessible sites are clearly marked. Much of the information we provide here is taken from this guide, but many park staff members we spoke to also noted that they are actively improving accessibility with more ramps, more paved picnic areas, additional accessible toilets, and other amenities. For this reason, we advise parents to write for a copy of the most recent edition of the brochure or visit the state’s Web site for upto-date information about the increasing accessibility of the...

  16. Amusement Parks
    (pp. 196-203)

    822 Lake Avenue, Bristol

    Directions: From I-84 East or West, take Exit 31. Go north on Route 229 and follow the signs to the park.

    Phone: 860–583–3300

    Hours: Memorial Day to early September, weekdays 11:00 A.M.–8:00 P.M.; weekends 11:00 A.M.–10:00 P.M.

    Admission: General admission, $7.95. All-day ride pass: Adults, $25.95. Juniors under 52 inches tall and senior citizens 60 and up, $17.95. Children under 3, free. Parking, $5.00.

    Description: One of the oldest of America’s family amusement parks (1846), this recently renovated park features 30 rides, a classic roller coaster and carousel, and new...

  17. Rides
    (pp. 204-216)

    Union Square Dock, Bridgeport

    Directions: From I-95 North or South, take Exit 27 and follow the signs for the ferry at the foot of State Street.

    Phone: 1–888–443–3779

    Hours: Regular schedule of sailings daily from early morning to evening. Schedule changes by season. Call or visit the Web site for specific times.

    Admission: Round-trip “Mariner’s Delight”: Adults, $16.25. Senior citizens 60 and up, $12.50. Children 6–11, $7.50. Children under 6, free. Fares vary by season and time of day. Taking a car over and back is much more expensive and is not necessary unless...

  18. Theaters and the Performing Arts
    (pp. 217-221)

    Wheelchair users: Most theaters around the state are now wheelchair accessible. Many newer theaters, including all new movie theaters, have no steps at all and usually have accessible bathrooms as well. If you have not checked out your local movie house or theater (or have not done so for some time), it is worth a call.

    The Connecticut Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired publishes a monthly newsletter, available free to anyone on request, that lists a number of upcoming events around the state, including theater and dance performances, lectures, and other events. To request CDH INFO, write to:...

  19. Family Weekends Away
    (pp. 222-227)

    301 Great Neck Road, Waterford

    Directions: From I-95 North or South, take Exit 75 (Waterford) and follow the signs to Harkness Memorial State Park.

    Phone: 860–443–7818

    Hours: Year-round, 8:00 A.M. to sunset.

    Admission: Overnight guests at Camp Harkness Family Weekend Program, free. Parking fee per car, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Monday through Friday, in-state plates, $4.00, out-of-state plates, $5.00. Weekends and holidays, in-state plates, $5.00, out-of-state plates, $8.00.

    Note: There are two ways to enjoy Harkness Memorial State Park. One is to come for the day to use the park and the beach. The other...

  20. Accessible Places in and Around Your Community
    (pp. 228-235)

    Fire stations are frequently very good about letting children have a look at their engines when all is quiet in the station. (Even when the station doors are not open, children can often see the big engines by peering through the windows.) Because fire engines are kept in garages at street level, they are easily accessible for children in wheelchairs. A walk to the local fire station might be a good short adventure for your children. (When possible, call ahead to make sure the engines are in.)

    A public library card is free to all residents of the community. Not...

  21. Recommended Publications and Additional Resources
    (pp. 236-238)
  22. Making Your Own Inquiries
    (pp. 239-242)
  23. Subject Index
    (pp. 243-248)
  24. Disability Index
    (pp. 249-258)
  25. Location Index
    (pp. 259-264)
  26. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-265)