10 of the best local activities and most inclusive places for people with disabilities and their families

Beavercreek resident Matthew Dorn visits the farm animals on a visit to Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs.
Beavercreek resident Matthew Dorn visits the farm animals on a visit to Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our lives, it’s important to keep in mind loved ones with physical or developmental disabilities who are facing heightened isolation, and to find ways to keep them connected and active.

Megan Goettemoeller, provider connections coordinator with Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said while a large number of people with disabilities already felt isolated to some degree before the pandemic, the cancellation of many day programs and other social events made things worse. For some parents and caretakers, striving to keep individuals living with physical or developmental disabilities safe but still engaged can take a lonely toll.

“Their day programs were forced to stop providing services, their bowling and baseball leagues and other social events were cancelled, their favorite restaurants were closed, and maybe their place of employment had to shut down or lay them off,” Goettemoeller said. “Imagine if every single thing in your day-to-day schedule completely changed or went away,”

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Social media and texting, or calling, via cell phones has been a modern way that many people have stayed connected to others throughout the pandemic — often while not thinking very much about the convenience. However, Goettemoeller pointed out that many people in the disability community are not on social media, and many don’t have their own cell phone.

“The shutdown affected everyone in some way. However, when everything you know changes, and you aren’t fully able to understand why, it can be so challenging and confusing,” Goettemoeller said. “This is why it is important to pay attention to your family member or friend with disabilities.”

If able, asking how they are feeling and discussing any anxieties or stresses they are feeling can go a long way.

“It is also important for people with disabilities to get out of the house if they can, get fresh air, be as active as physically possible, utilize technology to stay connected with friends & loved ones, and above all, do these things as safely as possible,” Goettemoeller said.

Here are recommendations from Goettemoeller for 10 of the best places and activities for families to check out:

☀️Owen’s Place

The park is a universally accessible recreation area in Beavercreek that includes an accessible tree house. Owen’s Place also hosts baseball and kickball for adults and youth with mental and physical disabilities, Goettemoeller said. For more information, contact Gussie Jones at dsj4290805@aol.com or Trish Gustafson at trishgustafson@yahoo.com.

More information: owensplace.org

☀️The Miracle League of Greater Dayton

MLGD is a baseball program in Springboro for children and adults with disabilities. Games are held on the “Miracle Field,” which, according to its website, “is an all-weather field free of obstacles so players with wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or mobility issues can play unencumbered.”

More information: miracleleaguedayton.org

☀️Young’s Jersey Dairy

Young’s is a favorite among those served by the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Goettemoeller said. Young’s is flat and has several paved paths. One of its mini-golf courses is completely wheelchair-accessible, which is rare. There is no charge for parking or admission.

More information: youngsdairy.com

☀️Five Rivers Metroparks

Five Rivers has several regional paved trails that are accessible, including Creekside Trail, Great-Little Trail, Great Miami River Trail, Iron Horse Trail, Mad River Trail, Stillwater River Trail and Wolf Creek Trail.

More information: www.metroparks.org

☀️Decoy Art Center

The Decoy Art Center has always been a local go-to, Goettemoeller said. “We have partnered with them to offer classes such as drawing, painting, clay, etc. They are wonderful people and they all go above and beyond for their customers. They just moved from a brick-and-mortar building to being a mobile art center. They now offer classes in park settings. All the information about this is on their website.”

More information: www.decoy-art.com/

☀️Air Force Museum

Many adult day programs utilize the Air Force Museum because of its accessibility and the options available for people with physical, vision, or hearing impairments.

More information: www.nationalmuseum.af.mil

☀️Beaver Vu Bowl

The bowling alley in Beavercreek is completely accessible. They are also the location for Greater Dayton Special Olympics bowling.

More information: www.daytonbowling.com

☀️Regal Cinemas Fairfield Commons

Movie theaters in general are accessible and have seating reserved for those who use wheelchairs. However, Regal Cinemas Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek allows attendees who require paid personal-care attendants or providers to be accompanied by them at no additional cost, Goettemoeller said. The manager will need to see proof of services being provided, such as ISP, in order to approve the no-charge admission, she said.

☀️Magic Castle

Magic Castle on Wilmington Pike has accessible options for fun activities indoors and outdoors, including arcade games, miniature golf, batting cages, and other options.

More information: themagic-castle.com

☀️Scene 75

The Vandalia entertainment center is accessible and fun, and it also hosts a Special Needs Day two times a year, on the first Thursday in May and in October, during which people with disabilities can experience Scene 75 free of charge, Goettemoeller said. Each person with disabilities gets a $10 arcade game card, one free spin-zone ride, and free nine holes of black-light mini-golf. Siblings can also participate for a discounted price.

More information: www.scene75.com

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