Ideas for inclusive summer holidays

Looking for inspiration for fun things to do with your family over the summer holidays? If you or one of your family members has a disability, there are options galore to explore.

Here are our top picks for a fun-filled summer.

Hit the beach

A trip to the beach is a wonderful way to welcome summer. In recent years, there’s been more progress made to make beaches accessible to people with disability. The Accessible Beaches website is a great place to start.

You can also contact your local surf club to see if they have a beach wheelchair available. These wheelchairs are easier to roll over the sand. Better still, they can be wheeled into the water, perfect on a hot day.

Some beaches also provide matting to make it easier for wheelchairs to get down to the water.

And remember to slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide! The last thing you want after a day at the beach is a nasty sunburn.

Visit the zoo

Going to the zoo is a wonderful day out for the family, and the meandering pathways from exhibit to exhibit generally provide easy access for people who use wheelchairs. If you’re not sure about a zoo’s accessibility, check their website or give them a call.

If you have autism, the big crowds, noises, sights, and smells at the zoo during peak times may feel a little overwhelming. Contact your nearest zoo to find out when it’s likely to be a little quieter. Then, make sure you plan ahead with a sensory kit at the ready, plus a strategy in case of sensory overload. And don’t forget to map out a route through the zoo so you tick off on all your favourite animals.

A day in the park

A picnic is a simple but wonderful summer activity, particularly if you’re next to a playground for the kids to enjoy.

Find a park or playground that caters for children of all abilities. In Victoria, the Mornington Peninsula Shire has been working hard to make its playgrounds more accessible – and Scope has been a proud partner on this journey. Our Access and Inclusion Services team, from our Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre, helped them create playground communication boards that display symbols and Auslan alphabet signs. The symbols on these boards help you communicate with friends or family members who may be non-verbal or have communication difficulties.

You can find these communication board at the Civic Reserve in Mornington, Pelican Park in Hastings and the Rosebud Foreshore Playground (or, you can download them to use at home).

Some of our other favourite accessible playgrounds include Hays Paddock in Kew East or Bundoora Park Play Space in Bundoora. In Sydney, Deerbush Park Playground in Fairfield has amazing facilities, including a Liberty swing, a wheelchair-accessible carousel, and a ground-level trampoline. Google ‘accessible parks near me’ to see what comes up.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not head out into the bush? Many national parks around Australia have wheelchair accessible trails – there’s nothing better than getting out amongst nature to hear the birds sing.

Cool off in a museum

When it’s too hot to be outside, why not consider a trip to town to visit a museum or art gallery? Melbourne Museum has dedicated sensory days, quiet spaces, and resources for children with autism – including a sensory friendly museum map to help you plan a happy day of discovery.

Or, if you’ve done the museum and are looking for other ways to cool off, how about the movies? Many major movie chains provide services for people with visual, auditory or mobility impairments – so everyone can enjoy the latest blockbuster.

Enjoy your holidays!

Whatever you get up to these summer holidays, we hope you and your family have fun making memories.