Long Island, New York is full of American history, so what historical attractions are wheelchair accessible? Here’s what you can’t miss:
1) Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center – If you’re looking for a lovely way to spend an afternoon, the aquarium is the perfect place for a little adventure. You can admire beautiful sea creatures, see live sea lion shows, spend time with butterflies, and take a river tour by heading down to the dock and boarding an accessible boat. Feeling particularly brave? Then why not schedule a shark dive? Also, don’t forget to check the website while planning your visit to get an idea of the daily event schedule. Of course, there’s a café if you’re hungry, and accessible restrooms are available. With so much to do, especially on days where the weather is nice, you won’t want to miss out on visiting here.
Location: 431 E Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901
2) Go to a Beach – Long Island is famous as a hot spot for beachgoers. While sand is obviously an issue for wheelchairs, most beaches have specific wheelchairs that you can borrow that are meant to go through tough terrain. For example, at one of the most well-known beaches, Robert Moses, all you have to do is go up to the main office and ask to borrow their beach wheelchair. At this particular beach, someone will need to return the chair to the office after you’ve been transported to a spot on the sand and bring it back to get you when you’re ready to leave. Also, there are accessible restroom facilities located in the bathhouses. Because there are so many beaches on Long Island, I recommend calling ahead to verify that the beach you’re going to has an available beach wheelchair and accessible restrooms.
Location: Robert Moses Beach, 600 Robert Moses State Parkway, Babylon, NY 11702
3) Town of Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center Animal Preserve – From May to September, you can take a roll through the animal preserve and you’ll see everything from cows to peacocks while enjoying the fresh (and yes, slightly animal-scented) air. The preserve is right next to a park with terrain that is relatively easy to navigate with a wheelchair, so why not pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day outside?
Location: 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville, NY 11742
4) Catch a Concert at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater – This outdoor venue hosts concerts featuring big name celebrities from May to early September. There are accessible seats near the stage, as well as seats further back in the stadium. Wherever you sit, you’ll have a good view of the action, and if you need to take a restroom break, there are accessible stalls.
Location: 1000 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, NY 11793
5) Town Villages – In several towns across Long Island, you can find villages full of unique shops, delicious restaurants, all types of bars, and plenty of places for great local entertainment. Especially in the evenings, the atmospheres are lively and filled with an energetic vibe. Unfortunately, each town village has some places that have a step or two to enter because the buildings are older, but on the whole, I’ve found most villages that I’ve been are relatively accessible and well paved. There are three villages in particular that I can highly recommend because I frequent them, but definitely keep your options open for other towns when planning.
- Babylon Village: You can often find me spending evenings or weekend afternoons here, because it’s nice to wander around and there are lots of wonderful restaurants. Take in the scenery at Argyle Lake Park, and then roam further into the village where you can get the most delicious Mexican food at a hidden gem called Swell Taco. For dessert, head on over to the Babylon Bean, a small coffeehouse with a relaxing air that often features local musicians. Both Swell Taco and Babylon Bean can be a bit cramped, but it’s certainly possible for wheelchair users to get inside both. Bathrooms are available, but they’re not the most spacious.
Locations: Swell Taco, 135 Deer Park Ave, Babylon, NY 11702
Babylon Bean Coffee House, 17 Fire Island Ave, Babylon, NY 11702
- Patchogue Village: Also a lovely place to spend some time, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this up and coming village. For a little fun with your food, I suggest dinner at That Meetball Place, a restaurant where you can choose different types of meatballs and how you’d like them to be served. An accessible restroom is available. After dinner, you can see a play at the Patchogue Theatre.
Locations: That Meetball Place, 54 W Main St. Patchogue, NY
Patchogue Theatre, 71 E Main St, Patchogue, NY 11772.
- Huntington Village: By far one of the nicest villages on Long Island, there are so many options for things to do here. There is a fantastic concert venue called The Paramount that features a range of musical artists, lots of whom are big names, as well as comedy performances. The actual concert area is accessible via elevator, and wheelchair users can sit in a roped off area up front. An accessible restroom is available at the venue.
Location: The Paramount, 370 New York Ave. Huntington, NY 11743
6) Local Theater Performances – Long Island is full of amazing places to see Broadway-quality theater. There are three major venues associated with universities that have a year-round line-up, including the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (AUPAC), Staller Center for The Arts at Stonybrook University, and Tilles Center for The Performing Arts at LIU Post. All of the venues have wheelchair accessible seating and restrooms available. In addition, there are numerous independent local theaters where I have seen some incredible shows. I recommend Merrick Theatre and Center for the Arts and CM Performing Arts Center, both easily accessible.
Locations: AUPAC, 1 South Ave, Garden City, NY 11530
Staller Center, 100 Nicholls Rd., Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY 11794
Tilles Center, 720 Northern Blvd, Greenvale, NY 11548
Merrick Theatre, 2222 Hewlett Ave, Merrick, NY 11566
CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, NY 11769
7) Tanger Outlets – If you love shopping as much as I do, the outlet centers make a great afternoon activity. There are two centers one in Riverhead and one in Deer Park. While both are accessible, I’ve found my overall experience to be much nicer at the Deer Park Tanger Outlets. The whole shopping center is painted in lovely pastel colors and there are fountains and some beautiful greenery. You can shop, go to the movie theater, and have a meal all in one place. There is plenty of accessible parking and accessible restrooms are available. What could be better?
Locations: Riverhead – 200 Tanger Mall Dr, Riverhead, NY 11901
Deer Park – 152 The Arches Cir, Deer Park, NY 11729
8) Go to a Long Island Ducks Baseball Game – If you enjoy sports and want the experience of a baseball game without spending a ton of money for Major League tickets, going to a Long Island Ducks game is a perfect outing. There is lots of accessible parking available, and there is plenty of accessible seating in the stadium. All of the eateries are accessible, and restrooms are available as well. Sometimes, you can even enjoy a fireworks show after the game. And, don’t forget to buy a Quacker, a duckbill shaped noisemaker to cheer on the team.
Location: 3 Court House Dr, Central Islip, NY 11722
9) Cradle of Aviation Museum – Whether you’re an aerospace novice or enthusiast, there are some interesting things to see at this museum. You can check out the exhibits, see space-themed features in the Dome Theater, and attend special events. It’s fully wheelchair accessible, and you can even borrow a wheelchair free of charge to use while navigating the museum.
Location: Charles Lindbergh Blvd, Garden City, NY 11530
10) Riverhead Raceway – It’s all about the thrill at this raceway. You can catch all kinds of races, monster trucks, and awesome demolition derbies. All but one bathroom is accessible, and there is accessible seating as well.
Location: 1797 Old Country Rd, Riverhead, NY 11901
11) Nassau County Museum of Art – For unique exhibits and beautiful displays, this fully wheelchair accessible art museum is a great place to visit. There’s also a huge outdoor sculpture park with breathtaking pieces that can’t be missed. There is an accessible restroom on the first floor, and you have the option to borrow a wheelchair to navigate the museum.
Location: One Museum Drive, Roslyn Harbor, New York 11576
12) Long Island Children’s Museum – If you want keep your kids entertained in a fully accessible place, be sure to visit this children’s museum. When I was younger, my parents brought me here for a full day of exciting entertainment. There are lots of fun and interactive exhibits that even parents can enjoy. Accessible restrooms are available.
Location: 11 Davis Ave, Garden City, NY 11530
13) Nassau Coliseum – Perhaps the most well known venue on Long Island, Nassau Coliseum features huge concerts with major celebrities, and it is the home of the New York Islanders hockey team. While plenty of accessible parking is available, I do recommend arriving early to get the best spots. There are several wheelchair accessible seating locations, and the website provides a detailed guide of accessible eateries and restrooms.
Location: 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, NY 11553
14) Eisenhower Park – This park is the perfect place for a beautiful afternoon outdoors. A particularly exciting feature of the park is a fully wheelchair accessible playground, developed by an organization called Let All The Children Play. There is also a wheelchair accessible minigolf course. Throughout the park, you’ll find several accessible restroom facilities.
Location: 1899 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY 11554
15) Vanderbilt Planetarium – Exciting space-themed shows and lectures can be seen at this accessible planetarium. My personal favorite is the Rock ‘n’ Light shows, featuring beautiful lighted images accompanying music from bands such as The Beatles. Keep in mind that there is a rooftop observatory, which is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, but you can enjoy the main events inside the planetarium. An accessible restroom is available.
Location: 180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport, NY 11721