Fort Henry: Our first stop on our tourist sightseeing adventures was to visit Fort Henry. To be honest I was a little skeptical on how much Shawn would be able to see, as this is a historic site. Fort Henry was built from 1832 to 1837 replace the original fort from around the War of 1812. The fort sits atop a hill with an incredible view of the St. Lawrence and downtown Kingston. The majority of the accessible parking spots are located just outside the discovery center with a paved pathway leading to the fort. There is also a single accessible spot closer the fort entrance if you wanted to skip the discovery center. The paved path leading up to the fort has a beautiful view of the city and the water.
Once inside the fort there is a timetable available for various activities you can see throughout the day. There is cannon firing and rifle firing and a kids program that our son just loved taking part in. The lower fort starts off with some prisoner cells that are accessible but a little tight to move around for a power chair user. Next up is an area where you enter on one end and it takes you through the inside of the fort where you see office quarters on display, as they would be back then. This area is full accessible and each doorway has ample space to get through. Each room around the fort needs to be accessed via the counterscarp galleries or the officer cookhouse and follow around. The individual rooms are not accessible if you try to enter through the courtyard since there is small step. You basically can tour this whole area and come out on the other side and be able to visit each area very easily without any obstacles. They have done a great job retrofitting doors with ramps to make the fort very inclusive. The only area that is not accessible is the upper fort because it is stairs only. The fort does offer guided tours but we decided to tour on our own.
There are various accessible washrooms throughout the lower fort and near the entrance and they are some of the best accessible washrooms I have seen. Large stalls and countertops are high enough for a wheelchair user to roll right under.
We ended our day at the Battery Bistro for a delicious lunch with a fantastic view of the water. Overall a great day with the family and I would definitely recommend for a trip without any worries for a wheelchair user.
Penitentiary museum, which is directly across from the now closed Kingston Penitentiary. The museum is not large so it can easily be done in an hour and is very fascinating to walk through and see the history related to the nearby prisons. The museum was once the home of a prison warden and the second floor of the museum is not accessible. However, most of the instereting artifacts are found on the main floor and they have installed a virtual computer that anyone not able to get upstairs can do a walk through on the computer and see exactly what everyone sees on the second floor. This museum was pretty interesting for the whole family.
Prince Edward County Wineries: About an hour away and we decided to take the 401 highway there and then take the Glenora Ferry back. Glenora ferry is a short ride but we had always wanted to do it and it was a nice end to our day trip. One thing to note about the Glenora ferry or any ferry for that matter is to advise the staff that you have a wheelchair user in the vehicle for emergency evacuation. Our van is a rear loader so the staff that was directing vehicles made sure that the car coming in behind us was not right to our bumper so we could get the ramp down and Shawn out in case of emergency. Our first stop on our winery tours was Huff Estates Winery. This winery was accessible with a paved path to the door and there was an automatic door opener to get in. They did have dedicated accessible parking and I did not check the washrooms at this stop so I am not able to comment on its accessibility. The tasting counter is too high and there was no lower counters for a wheelchair user. Next stop was Keint He winery and this winery did not have a dedicated accessible parking spot or an automatic door opener at the front entrance. The tasting counter was too high and there were lower counters for wheelchair users. The washroom was accessible with grab bars and it was a single washroom for an attendant to assist if needed. At this stop we snacked and had some charcuterie and wine on the accessible patio overlooking the lake. Our last stop and was Sandbanks winery. There was a designated accessible parking spot and the wheelchair entrance is around the side with signs showing you where to go. There was no automatic door openers on this entrance and the single washroom did not have grab bars. This winery also did have tasting counters that were too high and no lower counters for wheelchair users. The atmoshphere was overall very family friendly with a picnic style charcuterie, children colouring table and they offered freezies for children which is a bonus for those of us that travel with our young children. Overall another great day and I would definitely recommend visiting the wineries in this area. There are many wineries to visit and I chose these 3 based on visiting the tourism page for this wine country and it lists which ones are wheelchair accessible.
1000 Island Boat Cruise. We decided to take a lunch cruise on the Island Star as it seemed to be the most accessible based on the cruise line website. When we bought our tickets I mentioned we would have a wheelchair user in our party to make sure we were close to the entrance and not having to try and navigate through a bunch of tables and chairs. Getting on the boat was very easy as they have a ramp leading right into the dining area. The Island Star is a large domed style boat with a small outdoor patio that is upstairs so not accessible. Our table was right by the window and the whole area is window so there was no concern that Shawn would miss any of the scenery. The lunch cruise was fun and the entertainer was enjoyable as well. They do say on the website that the washrooms are accessible but they are definitely not meaning accessible to a power chair user. The washroom was too small for Shawn to get into and be able to use at all. The wheelchair washroom is larger than the standard one but not large enough for a power chair user in my opinion. Now getting off the boat was a bit tougher than getting on. There is a small lip between the boat and the ramp and took a couple of us to give Shawn a push to make it up past the lip. No a huge deal if you are travelling with others to help but something to be aware of. Overall a great time and would definitely do it again!
Skywood Eco Adventure: Recently we heard about a zipline park that had an accessible zipline for those with mobility impairments. St Lawrence Parks Commission opened Skywood Eco Adventure in the summer of 2016. It consists of multiple self-led courses ranging from beginner to advanced as well as discovery courses geared towards those with physical and mental impairments. The discovery zipline is the accessible zipline and it sits about 10 feet off the ground.
Upon arriving at Skywood we were met by the instructors and led to the area of the zipline. Once you check-in you won’t have to park in the standard lot but are led down a gravel road to the accessible parking, which is closer to the courses. The accessible parking is also right where the large accessible bathroom is located. Once we parked, we were led down a gravel path. I imagine if it had been raining a lot that path would get a bit muddy but for us it was fine and we had no issues. Once we reached the course, Shawn was harnessed up and away he went. You do have to be able to transfer from your wheelchair to a stationary chair for them to harness you up. They may be able to harness up from the wheelchair. Usually he is quite anxious doing something like this but he loved it and was allowed to zipline as many times as he wanted. It was a lot of fun and would definitely recommend!
Shorelines Casino. Not all casinos have wheelchair users in mind but Shorelines did not disappoint. There was accessible parking, accessible slot machine and lowered tables for wheelchair users. There is accessible bathrooms and companion bathrooms.
***This website is a tool to help people with physical disabilities learn all that Kingston and area has to offer. Accessible Kingston and the businesses listed on this website assume no responsibility for errors or omissions on this website, nor for any inconvenience caused by the information listed. Please always call ahead first to ensure your needs are met. ***S