All-Abilities Adventures: Accessible Recreation In and Around Lowell

By Laura Granato, Principal at Aventine Hill, LLC April 9, 2024

Lowell, Massachusetts, boasts a vibrant tapestry of history, culture, and outdoor spaces. But what if you have accessibility concerns? This city and its surrounding areas offer a plethora of inclusive recreation opportunities that cater to individuals of all abilities.

Museums and Entertainment for All Senses:

  • Discovery Museum (Acton): Embrace discovery at the Discovery Museum with autism- friendly evenings and sensory-friendly afternoons. These specially designed programs provide a calming and welcoming environment for individuals with sensory sensitivities.
  • Chuck E. Cheese (Lowell): Let loose and have some family fun at Chuck E. Cheese. This iconic entertainment center offers accessible play areas and a more relaxed atmosphere during designated sensory-sensitive hours.
  • Altitude Trampoline Park (Billerica): Experience the thrill of bouncing at Altitude Trampoline Park. They offer designated times for individuals with sensory processing
    difficulties, ensuring a safe and enjoyable jumping experience.
  • AMC Sensory Friendly Films (Burlington): Catch the latest blockbuster or a heartwarming classic at AMC Theatres during their sensory-friendly film screenings. These showings feature reduced lighting, lower sound volume, and a relaxed environment for a more comfortable movie experience.
  • The Tsongas Center (Lowell): Staff has been trained to support guests with sensory sensitivities and offer special sensory kits with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, and more (available upon request). You can explore these features and get ready for your visit with the handy KultureCity App, which includes a social story on theTsongas Center.

Exploring the Great Outdoors:

  • The Lowell Riverwalk (Lowell): Lace up your walking shoes or grab your bike and hit the Lowell Riverwalk. This paved, lighted walkway offers stunning riverside views and ample space for walking, biking, fishing, or simply enjoying a picnic outdoors.
  • Lowell National Historical Park (Lowell): Immerse yourself in Lowell's rich industrial heritage at the Lowell National Historical Park. Accessible parking is available, and the Visitor Center provides resources to plan your visit. Explore the park's various sites, including the Boott Cotton Mills Museum and the Mogan Cultural Center, all offering accessible features.
  • Lowell Heritage State Park (Lowell): This sprawling park boasts stunning views of the Merrimack River. The boat launch, some paved trails, and the Visitor Center are all accessible. Pack a picnic lunch, enjoy the scenery, or cast a line into the river (fishing permits are required).
  • Drumlin Farm (Lincoln): Nestled just outside of Lowell, Drumlin Farm provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and learn about agriculture. The farm offers accessible pathways and events specifically designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Indoor and Outdoor Play Opportunities:

  • Hovey Park (Lowell): Let the little ones loose at Hovey Park's fully accessible playground. The playground boasts a gentle slope, a bridge for wheelchair access, and
     a specially designed swing for added comfort.
  • Ronan McElligott Memorial Playground (Westford): This inclusive playground located at Edwards Beach offers boundless fun for children of all abilities. Accessible pathways and surfaces ensure everyone can enjoy the play structures, swings with back and neck support, and interactive sensory features.
  • We Rock the Spectrum Westford Gym (Westford): This gym caters specifically to individuals with sensory processing needs. Here, children can engage in various activities designed to promote motor skills, social interaction, and sensory exploration in a safe and supportive environment.

Planning Your Accessible Adventure:

  • When planning your outing, consider contacting the venue or location beforehand to inquire about specific accessibility features and services.
  • Research parking options and accessibility routes to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
  • Pack any necessary equipment or assistive devices you may need.

By following these tips and exploring the options listed above, you can embark on a fun-filled and accessible adventure in Lowell and beyond. Remember, recreation is for everyone, and these inclusive spaces offer opportunities for individuals of all abilities to explore, learn, and have a blast!

Laura Granato is Principal at Aventine Hill, LLC, a special needs concierge firm based in Westford, MA. Find out more about how Aventine Hill makes life easier for families with special needs at

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