In order to create inclusive community park experiences, considerations must include the needs of the whole environment and the whole community. Use this comprehensive park checklist to thoughtfully create a welcoming atmosphere and outdoor play and recreation destinations that are more usable, by more people, to the greatest extent possible.
- More than the minimum required accessible parking spaces that include van spaces with wider access aisles and appropriate signage.
- Parking areas conveniently located to create an accessible route to the park entrance(s).
- Firm and stable surface materials along accessible connecting routes (concrete, asphalt, or boardwalk preferred).
- Railings and edge protection on routes with running slopes greater than 5% or where there is a drop off.
- Unitary, fall attenuating safety surfacing, such as poured-in-place rubber provides the most consistent surface for accessibility in play and recreation environments.
- Various surface materials textures or colors to provide cues to help visually organize the environment so that it is easier to navigate and understand.
- Robust assortment of activities that thoughtfully meet the physical, social-emotional, communication, sensory, and cognitive needs of all people, including those with disabilities.
- Go beyond the minimum ADA Standards for Accessible Play Areas to meet the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design®, the only evidence-based design best practices for inclusive play environments. Visit playcore.com/inclusion to request the design guidebook.
- Selection of playground equipment that has intentionally been designed to provide additional gross motor and fine motor supports for more active, independent play.
- Accessible routes to, around, and on the play equipment, using unitary safety surfacing and accessible ramps.
- Accessible visual signage that identifies accessible routes and facilities within the site
Picture symbols to identify equipment with raised images, words, Braille, etc.
- Bilingual options on signage, QR codes with videos, or options to download in different languages.
- Detailed website information about the park and inclusive features.
Tactile 3D site models where possible.
- Various surface material textures or colors to provide behavioral cues and help visually organize the environment so that it is easier to navigate and understand.
6. Site Amenities
- a. Accessible Toilet and Bathing Facilities:
- Accessible sink(s) with touchless operation.
- Paper towel/hand drying features within accessible reach ranges.
- Family/Unisex restroom with at least one adult size changing table.
- Signage with Braille characters and raised pictorial symbols at toilet room doors.
- b. Picnic Tables:
- Tables positioned on an accessible route and protected from weather by using shade or shelters where possible.
- Wheelchair spaces integrated into picnic tables which allow space for multiple individuals that use mobility devices to comfortably gather at the same table and offer choices of where to sit.
- c. Benches/Sitting Areas:
- Adjacent accessible wheelchair spaces/areas near benches with a firm and stable surface.
- Shade trees or shade structures surrounding seating areas to increase comfort.
- Back and armrests on benches when possible.
- Benches with charging ports for personal electronic devices and mobility devices.
- d. Shade and Shelters:
- A combination of integrated shade (manufactured) and natural shade (tree canopy) offers relief from elements and increased comfort.
- Shade shelters and pavilions on an accessible route and provide a firm and stable surface throughout.
- e. Drinking Fountains and Water Bottle Filling Stations:
- A wheelchair accessible and a standing height drinking fountain provided at each location.
- Stations to include accessible features such as switch/bar or automatic touchless sensors.
- f. Universal Fields:
- Each area of sport activity is connected with at least one accessible route.
- Unitary surfacing on fields that permit wheelchair access and play.
- Wheelchair accessible dugouts with a wheelchair space adjacent to team benches.
- g. Customer Service Areas:
- Wheelchair accessible sales and service counters no higher than 36 inches.
- Accessible point of sale systems.
- Condiment stations within accessible reach ranges.
- Menus in large print, pictures, and Braille.
- h. Bleachers/Spectator Seating:
- Wheelchair spaces integrated within each spectator seating area.
- Circulation paths are behind the designated wheelchair spaces to avoid obstructing the view.
- i. Aquatic Play Environments:
- Aquatic access wheelchairs of varied sizes for adult and child visitors are available to use.
- Changing/bathing facilities include an accessible changing bench.
- Showers provide a handheld shower device and a shower bench for transfer in each accessible shower.
- j. Dog Parks & Pet Amenities:
- Pet waste, water stations, and gate latches are positioned at an accessible approach, reach heights, and operation for individuals using mobility devices.
- Accessible route and surface to and throughout the environment.
- k. Adult Outdoor Fitness Parks:
- Universally designed equipment that provides individuals using mobility devices the opportunity to engage in aerobic and muscle strengthening activities alongside others.
- Accessible routes of travel to and around the equipment and include safety surfacing when appropriate.
- Signage with simple graphics and verbiage for instruction or QR codes to provide video instruction.
- l. Musical Instruments:
- Musical elements installed on an accessible route with a hard surface, and at an appropriate height so that individuals of various sizes and individuals using wheelchairs can comfortably approach and reach the activity.
- Adapted mallets to promote independence and usability for individuals that need additional fine motor support.
- m. Communication:
- Opportunities for visitors to communicate through pictures and/or symbols that are easy to recognize, paired with the written word, and are organized using color-coding to represent different parts of speech.
- Communication Boards installed on an accessible route with a hard surface, at an appropriate height so that individuals of various sizes and individuals using wheelchairs can comfortably approach and point to or gaze at picture symbols.
- Printed communication boards for download or available to check out for visitors and/or their caregivers to use in preparation for and during their visit.
Special Events & Programming:
- Activities located on accessible routes and with accessible surfacing.
- Accessible portable toilet facilities and parking at temporary events.
- Sign language or bilingual interpretation at special events.
- Special events designed and marketed to include people of all abilities to play and interact with each other in meaningful play and interaction.
- Adaptive equipment such as all-terrain wheelchairs, adaptive swing harnesses, adaptive switches for play panels that offer switch capability, and adaptive sports equipment available for visitors to check out or to use during programs/events.
- ‘Sensory Kits’ that include noise cancelling headphones, fidget toys, communication boards or picture symbols, or other adaptive tools available for visitors to reserve/check out.