I WAS planning on another unit study post but
WOW – there is something new to talk about!
Patapsco state park has several areas we like to visit, the closest being the Hilton area.
At Patapsco Hilton there are only a few trails and a little one the kids had enjoyed was closed for some time. A sign marked that the trail was under construction, and a new “sensory friendly” trail would open soon.
Today we went to check it out.
I have to admit to being skeptical that such a thing was possible, or even needed. Well I was wrong. To be honest I never considered that our park trails aren’t generally accessible to those with disabilities, because while half of us are autistic, walking trails is something we can do freely. I was wrong to dismiss it so quickly or not bother considering because its not a problem I face. I was wrong to pre-judge something I knew nothing about.
Picture is of a sign that reads in English and Braille:
“All Sensory Trail
Welcome to the All Sensory Trail at the Hilton Area of Patapsco Valley State Park! Accessible for people of all abilities, this train provides an experience in Nature, where all of one’s senses can play. It is followed by trail information and then reads:
“Design and Construction Assistance provided by Maryland Conservation core and Maryland Conservation Job Core, in partnership with Maryland School for the Blind.” It was funded in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation.
I don’t know how people of other abilities are liking it, but it was a wonderland to us.
This trail is beaten flat with rocks removed. I believe as long as it isn’t muddy, it will be wheel chair accessible. People aren’t supposed to be on unpaved trails after a rain anyway.
A cord stretches along the trail as a guide. It is bumpy and my son with classic autism liked running his hand along it.
There are wind chimes on posts before new things to touch or experience which includes several plaques like this one:
We had to try them all the chimes out, they are wonderful to the ear.
Other activities incorporated into the trail were drums, and xylophone,
a brightly colored bird area and the sensory garden of touch and smell.
The only problem is that isn’t longer, and that there isn’t something like this at every park.
Wow Patapsco, I’m impressed.