30+ Fully Accessible Maryland Places For Kids To Have Fun
Does your kid have limited mobility or sensory needs? If so, check out these great options for Fully Accessible Maryland Places for kids to have fun!
Getting out of the house with kids is always a challenge. However, if you are a parent with kids who have limited mobility or sensory needs, challenging doesn’t even begin to describe it.
You want to have fun with your kids and you want your kids to have fun. But there is hardly any information on the internet about where you can go with your kids that is fully accessible or has facilities that meet your needs.
This guide is heavily researched and includes over 30 ideas for fun places for kids in Maryland that claim to be fully accessible and/or offer special sensory friendly programs.
I hope you find this guide useful and that you love all of these fully accessible Maryland places for kids to have fun!
And check out our more comprehensive guide to Fun Things to Do in Maryland with kids too!
Accessible Playgrounds in Maryland
Angel Park Playground
The Angel Park Playground was designed by local children and artists as a way to honor ‘angel’ children. Angel Park is great for all ages and abilities. The main play castle is massive, with climbing structures, slides, and tons of small pockets that would make a game of hide-and-seek truly epic. There is a separate tot lot area (which is really fun for older kids as well), swings of all types including for kids with disabilities, and two types of ziplines (including one that is fully accessible).
- This playground is FREE and open year round from sunrise to sunset.
- There is plenty of parking next to the playground. There are port-a-potties on site but I would HIGHLY recommend you not use them (they are really really gross). The playground shares a parking lot with the Perry Hall Library, which is a MUCH better choice for potty breaks.
- Address: 9685 Honeygo Blvd, Perry Hall, MD 21128
Little Critter Playground
Little Critter Playground is one of the amazing Prince George’s County Imagination Playgrounds and it is one of our favorites. This fully accessible playground is so bright and happy and there are so many play features to love.
- This is the first universally designed, fully accessible playground in Prince George’s County and they really go all out for kids of all ages and abilities.
- For kids with mobility issues, there are two wheelchair-accessible double “SwayFun” swings, as well as wheelchair ramps, plenty of shade, and sound panels.
- Lots of swings. In addition to the swayfun swings, there are swings for big kids, toddlers, a tire swing, and other swings that accommodate kids with special needs.
- I love the sound/drum circle. The drums and other noise makers are brightly colored and there are numerous varieties of drums. If you had multiple kids playing at the same time they could really make some noise!
- There is plenty of parking right next to the playground.
- We didn’t see any potties though– no public restrooms or port a potties.
Patapsco Valley State Park Hollofield Area Playground
The playground is really fun for all ages and ability types. There are loads of climbing opportunities and a few slides. There are lower to the ground features for little kids, like a ‘hollowed out log’ they can climb though.
Around the outer perimeter of the playground kids can bang away in the sound garden, and there is a pretty cool feature that is basically a large see saw car. I believe it is officially called an Aero Glider. The Aero Glider is actually wheelchair accessible (which is probably why it is large) but kids of all ages and ability types loved loading up and riding away as willing parents pushed them up and down.
- This park is open year-round from 9AM to sunset. There is a small admission charge ranges from $2-$4 per car and $3-$5 per person depending on time of year, weekend or weekday, and in or out of state residency. U.S. active duty military or veterans are free of charge.
- There are public restroom facilities near the playground.
- Here is the website for the Patapsco Valley State Park Hollofield Area: http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/patapscohollofield.aspx
Hadley’s Park Playground in Potomac
The mission of Hadley’s Park was to create a unique playground where ALL children with and without disabilities could play together. It’s a carefully engineered, safe environment community playground that built in Montgomery County Maryland-it was the first of its kind in Maryland. The park is very accessible for children or all ages and abilities.
The Hadley’s Park Facebook page has more information.
Fairland Regional Park
Fairland Regional Park is another Prince George’s County Imagination Playground. The playground is not super themed but it is an accessible playground, which means that there are plenty of ramps and features that would appeal to kids with mobility issues or new walkers. There are plenty of swings here for big kids, toddlers, and kids with mobility issues too.
Parks and other outdoor venues
Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island is a 37 mile long island along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia. This National Park has over 37 miles of beach and is home to over 300 wild ponies. You wouldn’t think this park would be accessible, but it is.There are numerous wheelchair accessible trails in the Maryland part of the seashore:
- Life of the Marsh Trail
- Life of the Forest Trail
- Bicycle Bridge
Each of these trails are about 1/2 mile long. But the beach itself is also accessible because Assateague has rental beach wheelchairs.
Ocean City, MD
Yep, Ocean City is not just another amazing vacation destination. It is actually very accommodating to visitors with accessibility needs. Click here for all the details on Ocean City’s efforts (there are tons of details), but there are a few details:
- Beach wheelchairs. This free service is monitored by the Town’s Beach Patrol staff.
- Access to the beach for the physically challenged is provided at certain locations along the beach and is designated by a blue sign on street entrances along Coastal Highway. Some of these locations include Beach Mats as well.
ADA Playground at North Side Park at 125th St. The ADA accessible playground consists of both ground level and above ground level play elements with a bonded rubber safety surface. Park is open dawn to dusk.
- The Boardwalk is also fully accessible. So, you can indulge in all the fun of Ocean City!
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
There are two great activities that are accessible to all in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
The Visitor Center is open most days from 9am-4pm. According to their website, “In addition to being a prime viewing spot for bald eagles as they soar over the center and forage in the nearby marsh, the Center has exhibits specific to the refuge, an upstairs observation area and library, an authentic eagle’s nest, and TV monitors for watching live video from the osprey and eagle cams and the “Eagle’s Nest” bookstore and gift shop.”
Also, the Wildlife Drive takes visitors along the Blackwater River and offers excellent views of the Refuge. Visitors can drive, bike, or walk the approximately 4 mile paved road, and turnouts are available at different points to safely stop and observe the scenery.
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is a “2,285 acre island providing habitat for thousands of wintering waterfowl including the tundra swan. ” A few of the trails and the Visitor Center are wheelchair accessible. For more information see their website.
Tundra Swan Boardwalk
On the right as you cross over the bridge to Eastern Neck Island, you will find a universally-accessible boardwalk with two viewing scopes. This is a great place for viewing wintering waterfowl and for crabbing and fishing.
Tidal Marsh Overlook Trail
Located behind the Headquarters/Visitor Center, this accessible boardwalk offers visitors a chance to meander through a native meadow to a photo blind overlooking the Chester River. In early morning, look for waterfowl and other water birds starting out their day in the pond just beyond the photo blind.
Cunningham Falls State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park, in the Catoctin Mountains is divided into two separate areas. “The William Houck Area located three miles west of Thurmont on Route 77 has the lake area, falls and camping area. There is a 1/4 mile accessible boardwalk that ends at the Cunningham Falls.
Accessible fishing pier located at the William Houck Area
Accessible campsites in Deer Spring campground loop of William Houck Area
All Campground bathhouses are accessible
Accessible bathhouse in South Beach of William Houck Area
Beach wheelchair available upon request
Downs Park has paved trails on over 5 miles of trails throughout the park, from tree covered trails to water front trails. Please review the map for trail layout and details. The fishing pier is wheel chair accessible. It is open during normal park hours of 7:00 am – dusk, unless otherwise posted. The park is closed on Tuesdays.
Western Maryland Rail Trail
From their website: “The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is about 28 miles long and parallels the C&O Canal Towpath for its entire length. A paved, linear trail, it is suited to anyone seeking a pleasant, leisurely outdoor experience – walking, running, biking, and inline skating. The easy grade and paved surface make this trail ideal for families, the elderly, and persons with limited mobility. The WMRT is wheelchair accessible. Pets are permitted on the trail.”
The majority of Fort McHenry is handicap accessible, including the parking lots, Visitor and Education Center, Seawall trail, picnic area and lawns. The Star Fort is accessible from the Visitor Contact Station via a paved pathway. Entrance to the Star Fort and buildings are ADA accessible. The interior of the Star Fort is mostly accessible. Some interior exhibits are voice narrated and activated by motion detectors. The theater, restrooms and gift shop are all located in the Visitor and Education Center, and are all handicap accessible.
Lake Waterford Park, Adaptive Facility
From their website: “Lake Waterford Park and Adaptive Recreation Complex is located on the corner of Pasadena Road and Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard. This community park is 108 acres of diverse recreational and natural areas. There is a 12-acre lake where you may enjoy observing the waterfowl or doing a little shoreline fishing.” There is a “Boundless” playground nestled in the picnic area and an adaptive recreation athletic field is scheduled by permit only. The adaptive recreation baseball field includes a multipurpose field overlay, which is covered with a rubberized, wheelchair accessible surface.
Schucks Road Regional Park
This great regional park in Harford County recently added a sensory trail for all ages. The trail includes 10 interactive features including chimes, a roller table, drums, and brightly colored sensory panels.
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is awesome for visitors with accessibility needs. The pathways are not terribly hilly and they are all paved. All of the rides and attractions are also accessible. Plus you can get really close to the animals in this amazing zoo.
Bonus: You can bring your own food and drinks to the zoo, and there are plenty of seating areas.
Catoctin Wildlife Preserve
The little zoo in Thurmont, MD is totally awesome with tons of close-up animal experiences. It is also mostly great for guests with accessibility issues.
From their website, “Our main paths are hard-surfaced and wheelchair accessible. Some of the trails are hard-packed earth or gravel. All-terrain wheeled transports will be able to travel on these as well.”
Not only is this a great zoo right on the way to Ocean City. It also happens to be free and very accommodating to guests with accessibility issues.
The Salisbury Zoo’s paved pathways and ramped board walks make the Zoo very accessible. Restrooms are equipped with changing tables and are ADA compliant.
There is a special program that is really awesome too: From their website: “Thanks to a generous gift from Mary Cameron the Zoo is able to provide a limited number of devices, such as wheelchairs, to assist individuals whose disabilities might otherwise limit their opportunity to visit the Zoo.”
Therapeutic Riding Centers
There are a number of places in Maryland that offer horseback riding for guests with limited mobility or sensory needs. Here are two locations you might want to check out:
- The Therapeutic & Recreational Riding Center in Glenwood, MD
- Maryland Therapeutic Riding in Crownsville, MD
Six Flags America
From their website: “Six Flags’ Attraction Access Program is designed to accommodate guests with disabilities or certain other qualifying impairments so they may participate in the enjoyment of our Parks. Each attraction at Six Flags has been evaluated for the criteria necessary for an individual to ride safely. We strive to make sure that Six Flags is fun and accessible for everyone and lots of guests with disabilities enjoy the park every day.”
On the website Six Flags also includes a comprehensive guide to attractions for guests with limited mobility as well.
Note: There are regional amusement parks that also have robust accommodations for guests with limited mobility or sensory needs. Check out these amusement parks that are close to Maryland:
Annmarie Sculpture Garden
This fantastic sculpture garden and art center in southern MD is very friendly for guests with limited mobility. From their website: “The Murray Arts Buiding is handicap accessible, as is the paved Sculpture Walk that meanders through our woods. Please note that some of our natural footpaths and trails may not be suitable for wheelchairs or guest with mobility issues.”
Ladew Topiary Gardens
One of the most magical places in Maryland also goes out of their way to accommodate guests with mobility issues. From their website: “Ladew Topiary Gardens offers one-hour tours on our golf cart, led by trained volunteer Gardens docents, weather and ground conditions permitting. The cart can accommodate up to three passengers. These tours are a wonderful opportunity for those who may not otherwise be able to experience the full spectrum of our gardens. Tours are offered between 10 am and 3 pm from April 1 through October 31. Accessible Cart Tour is available, at no charge, once the Garden Admission has been paid in the Visitor Center/” Click here for more information on additional ways Ladew Topiary Gardens makes their lovely topiaries fully accessible.
Port Discovery has always been designed to welcome children of all ages and abilities. The museum incorporates universal design principles in all of its programs and exhibits. All exhibits and bathrooms are handicap accessible for visitors both big and small. Port Discovery is a BlindSquare enabled location, and service animals are always welcome.
In 2019 though, Port Discovery renovated, and that included some great fully accessible discovery options for kids!
Roger Carter Community Center
This is a great indoor pool in Ellicott City, MD (and no, you don’t have to be a Howard County resident to use it). For folks with limited mobility, it offers a zero slope entry pool and an ADA accessible experience with remote control chair lift and pool wheelchair.
Abingdon Library Sensory Room
The Children’s Sensory Room is a unique and calming space for children up to age 14 and of all abilities to interact with an array of multi-sensory experiences. This state-of-the-art sensory room for the community opened in October 2019. It is located within the Children’s Area of the Abingdon Branch of Harford County Public Library and is designed for children to seek, explore and relax through touch, light and sound. The Children’s Sensory Room is a low-stress, fun environment for children, along with their families, to work through their emotions, explore their senses, develop coping strategies, and improve focus. Some of the sensory experiences include:
- Relaxing to soothing sounds,
- Watching bubbles stream and rise in the bubble tubes, and
- Enjoying a variety of tactile sensations.
We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym
From their website: “We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gyms was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. This is such a fantastic concept and there are so many features for kids with accessibility needs. Some of the features include:
- Suspended equipment with swings – for balance and vestibular treatment
- Crash mats and crash pillows – for fun, motor planning, and strength
- Zip line – for stress release and joint and body relaxation
- Trampoline – for building leg and core strength
- Indoor play structure – for climbing and increasing playground skills
- Sensory-based toys – for improved auditory processing and fine motor skills
- Fine Motor and Arts and Crafts Area – for improved hand-eye coordination
AMC Sensory Friendly Films
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.
Maryland Science Center
The Maryland Science Center is fully wheelchair accessible, from the exhibits to the IMAX theater. Elevators and ramps are located throughout the building to assist those in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters to make their way around. The Science Center also has a limited number of manual wheelchairs available for use, free of charge. Click here for their accessibility guide.
The Maryland Science Center also has a number of accessibility aids that guests may borrow, including:
- Braille Guides
- Large Print Exhibit Scripts
- Weighted Lap Covers (for those needing comfort in dark or loud spaces)
- Squishy Balls (to help with anxiety and to help focus)
- Noise Reducing Ear Muffs (for those sensitive to noise)
The National Aquarium offers express entry and early entry to visitors with disabilities for a crowd-free visit. Parking is accessible, and guests may also be dropped off in the circular drive. Also, The First Saturdays & Sundays program allows all visitors with disabilities and their guests to enter 30 minutes before the Aquarium opens on the first Saturday and the first Sunday of each month, for a leisurely, crowd-free visit.
And the aquarium is committed to the needs of visitors with sensory issues as well. A private space is available for any visitors who need a quiet moment away from the crowds. The Guest Relations Room is located on Level 1 of the Pier 3 Pavilion, behind the bubble tubes. This room contains a TV and a microwave, as well as coloring supplies for children. The room is always unlocked and available for guests who need a quiet or private space; there is a sign to hang on the door when the room is in use.
The Aquarium is fully handicap accessible to guests in wheelchairs or using mobility scooters. This includes the entrances, exhibits, theaters, restrooms, and elevators. The “no stroller” rule does not apply to children or parents with disabilities. A limited number of manual wheelchairs are also available at no cost on a first-come basis.
In addition, the aquarium holds special tours for visitors who are:
- Deaf or hard of hearing
- Visually impaired
- On the autism spectrum
Service animals are also welcome and you can Click here for a comprehensive guide to what the National Aquarium offers guests with special needs.
B&O Railroad Museum Sensory Friendly Days
The B&O offers Sensory Friendly Days about 4 times a year. Click here for details and to RSVP.
This more accessible museum experience features added signage and modified lighting & sounds, as well as the presence of additional volunteers and staff to support visitors throughout their stay. Sensory kits will be stationed throughout the Museum’s campus and include feeling charts, break timers, fidgets, stress balls, and noise canceling headphones. If smaller crowds, specialized activities, less sound and light stimuli, and a designated quiet room will make it easier for you or your child to explore all that the B&O has to offer, this is the day for you!
I Can Do It Too, Inc., Rebounders Gymnastics
This is a great Gymnastics program in Timonium that has, in addition regular classes, specific classes and programs for kids with limited mobility.
A Sensory/Motor/Gymnastics program for children of all ages with any minimal to severe physical, mental, emotional, social, language, and/or sensory challenges including:
- Developmental Delay
- Attention Deficit
- Cerebral Palsy
- Visual Auditory/Speech Deficits
- Fear of Movement
From their website: “Each production within our Lerner Family Theatre Season features a Sensory-Friendly performance designed to be more accessible for those individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
Our Sensory-Friendly performances aim to provide a safe and welcoming environment where families can simply relax and be who they are. Tickets to Sensory-Friendly Performances are $12-$25 and 100% refundable up until the show begins.” These performances include low lighting in the theatre so patrons can easily move around or exit the theatre as well as limited crowds and “seating holes” to allow space between families.
Chuck E Cheeses- Sensory Friendly Sundays
Chuck E. Cheese’s is proud to support families who have children with autism and special needs. We now offer a sensory-friendly experience on the first Sunday of every month. Our trained and caring staff is there to make sure each guest has a fun filled visit. The Sensory Sensitive Sundays experience includes:
Less crowding and noise
Show and music turned off or down
Limited appearances by Chuck E.
Food and games are offered
All Abilities Night at iFLY is a unique event that makes the dream of flight a reality for those in the special needs community. This program has been custom designed for those with physical and cognitive challenges to create an environment of support and inclusion, while focusing on making what seems impossible, possible.
Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum is fully accessible to those with mobility issues. The main entrance has a wheelchair lift and all of the public areas are accessible for wheelchairs / mobility scooters. Walters Art Museum also has accessible parking and they welcome service animals.
Walters offers special tours for patrons who are blind or partially sighted. Assistive listening devices are available from the Visitor Services Desk for all auditorium programs.
Walters Art Museum also offers Sensory Morning and Sensory Evening programs for individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders four times each year. The program is offered in partnership with the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Participants will have access to hands-on activities, including art making, tactile resources, and visual supports. For those in need of a respite, a Sensory Break Area will be available as well.
Baltimore Museum of Art
The Museum and tiered Sculpture Gardens are accessible to wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Wheelchairs are available free of charge at each Checkroom, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Service animals are welcome in the Museum. Also, with a minimum of 6-weeks notice, BMA can arrange ASL interpretation for tours and tours for visitors with low vision. This is such a great option!