The Art of Accessibility
Durham's attractions reach beyond the typical and strive to accommodate every visitor.
Posted By Ashley Strahm
Some destinations say their attractions are enthralling enough to make the earth shift beneath your feet.
Ours actually are.
A changing social landscape means that we're having thoughtful conversations around inclusivity, and Durham is no exception. We know that you're bringing your whole self, including those of your loved ones, to Durham. We're here to make sure you discover it all.
Earth Moves. Really.
Earth Moves is a tactile, audio-visual stimulatory exhibit at the renowned Museum of Life + Science, and it's leading the way in family-friendly experiences for every body.
Nestled along an outdoor path past red wolves, farm animals, and sculptural installations lies the newest addition to the museum, years in the making. Engineers studied child development with local experts and took feedback from museum attendees of all ages and sizes before and during construction. "It's the perfect overlap between the arts and sciences, and is a tribute to intentionality," said Roy Griffiths, Earth Moves engineer. "Call it proof of concept. We couldn't do our work well without community."
Sensory-friendly events. Cool down kits. Wheelchair accessible waterfalls and caves. Organizers thought of everything a child would need as they navigate this geological wonderland. A water feature runs throughout the area, with paint brushes, buckets, and trays for sorting, sifting, and building rock-based works of art. It's an oasis of discovery for every body.
Further accommodations can be made for visitors upon request. Visit Earth Moves and the Museum of Life + Science.
Durham Bulls Athletic Park is now a sensory inclusive venue.
The crack of the bat. The lights at night. Baseball games are places to take it all in. But what happens when it's all a bit too much?
The Durham Bulls are an iconic fixture in our community, and their commitment to ensuring all attendees have equal access to their experiences is a home run. Guess what they’ve done now? Our Bulls partnered with KultureCity to make Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) “sensory inclusive.” This new feature makes the ballpark experience more welcoming and positive for guests and fans with sensory issues.
To become certified, the DBAP staff was trained by medical professionals on how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. A number of sensory bags, equipped with noise-reducing headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and a weighted lap pad are available for check-out at the Lowes Foods Guest Services for guests who feel overwhelmed by the environment. The DBAP also has several ‘Quiet Areas’ posted throughout the ballpark and an exit/re-entry policy for fans who need to find their own quiet space.
In addition, the Bulls have several helpful resources available online to help better prepare for a visit to the ballpark. These include a ballpark map showing the quiet areas, a social story, and a Sensory Guide for what to expect during a visit to the DBAP, prepared with the help of Emerge Pediatric Therapy. Learn more here.
Performing arts for everyone
The folks behind the largest stage between D.C. and Atlanta want everyone to see the show; an accessible atmosphere is what DPAC is after. You've purchased your tickets, you've arrived downtown ... and there's a ton that's been thought of before the curtain is drawn.
From sign language performances, devices to assist with hearing aid users, audio described and captioned performances, and accessible parking and seating, DPAC has it all, even down to the snacks and beverages. Countertops are at a height that is comfortable for everyone; braille menus are also available. There's even a courtesy shuttle that takes you to the venue from the parking lot nearby.
Getting around is easier in Durham, too; accessibility is a consideration throughout our transportation network. Many other forms of accessibility are front of mind for us as well, from our multilingual Discover Durham employees, collateral with Spanish versions, and translations available for parks and recreation resources.
Want to get to the top of our nationally acclaimed mid-century modern hotel rooftop to take in the skyline? Want to explore Durham's food truck rodeos or city center? Those are accessible opportunities held year round. Multiple buildings, attractions, and venues are accessible via elevator, and our partners are absolutely willing to accommodate specific requests.
What's more, at DPAC, an online lottery, student seating, and reduce Durham resident ticket pricing make most Broadway shows accessible to a wider demographic. The Museum of Life + Science also hosts community days throughout the year to offer free admission to residents.
Join us in Durham.