Denver is a fun and fascinating city to spend time in for you and your child alike, but if your child uses a wheelchair, you might be concerned about how accessible it will be. Fortunately, Denver is very wheelchair-friendly, and there are many fun activities you and your child can do while spending time in the Mile High City. Whether you live here and are looking for information to plan your next outing, or you live in Westminster or one of the other surrounding cities and want to spend a day in Denver, here is our comprehensive guide to wheelchair accessibility in the biggest city in Colorado.
If you’re spending the day going around the city, chances are, you aren’t going to want to spend the entire time navigating traffic and parking. Fortunately, the Denver public transportation system is entirely accessible.
RTD Light Rail
The Light Rail is completely wheelchair accessible at every station. With six lines and 46 stops, taking the train around town is a great option for you and your child, depending on where you’re going — check out the Light Rail map to plan your route.
The Light Rail is accessed by climbing steps, but there is a high platform that wheelchair users can access via ramp. The first train car has a fold-out ramp that bridges the gap between the train and the station so wheelchair users can safely board. Wait at the top of the platform while you wait for the train. There are spaces on every train reserved for wheelchair users.
There are also 127 bus routes in and around Denver that operate at different times — view the bus schedule to plan your trip. Every city bus is accessible, including either a ramp or a lift and lowered floors. There are spaces for wheelchairs with straps to keep them in place.
Cost for both the Light Rail and city buses are dependent on how far you travel. The public transportation system is broken into four zones. Traveling across one to two zones is $2.25, three zones is $4.00, and four zones is $5.00. You can purchase day passes as well according to the zones you will be traveling in; they are $6.75 for up to two zones, $11.50 for three zones, and $14.00 for four zones.
There are also a small number of wheelchair taxis in the Mile High City. These accessible taxis have a lowered floor and can be entered through the side or rear. They offer ramp, roll-in and out ability, and include wheelchair securement straps. You can call for an ADA compliant taxi, but due to their limited numbers, it may be a long wait. The cost of wheelchair taxis is the same as typical taxis:
- Flag drop & first 1/9 mile: $2.50
- Per additional mile: $2.25
- Waiting time (per minute): $0.375
- Per additional person: $1.00
Sidewalks and Streets
Denver is the perfect city to explore, whether on foot or on wheel. The sidewalks are especially well cared for in the central business district, where the state capitol building lies. It’s common for the more residential areas to have more obstacles to smooth wheelchair use such as cracks and potholes, but tourist areas are more likely to be well-paved.
Most intersections feature curb cuts. There may be a few curbs that aren’t accessible in certain areas, but this isn’t the norm. Denver as a city is relatively flat with little change in elevation, so you shouldn’t have to worry about hills making it difficult to get around.
It can be difficult in winter months to navigate around in a wheelchair. Though the city does work to clear away snow and ice, it may be in your best interest to rely on public transportation more than walking around in winter weather.
Fortunately, there is a bevy of interesting sights and activities you can check out in Denver that are completely wheelchair accessible. Whether you are looking for free activities or you don’t mind spending a bit of money for some fun, below we have listed some of the top wheelchair-accessible activities in Denver.
Located in the downtown district, Larimer Square is a series of blocks that feature historical sights of the capital of Colorado. As the original epicenter of the city, it features the first bank, post office, bookstore, and theatre in Denver. Today, Larimer Square is populated with a wide variety of shops and restaurants you and your family can enjoy and are completely ADA compliant. Visit the Larimer Square website for a full list of businesses.
State Capitol Building
The Colorado State Capitol Building is a historical sight to see. Comparable in design to the U.S. Capitol Building, it was constructed in the 1890s and features a gold-plated dome that references the impact of the Gold Rush on Colorado’s history. The Capitol Building hosts the Colorado State Assemble and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. You can tour the Capitol for free Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the tours are all wheelchair accessible, with the exclusion of the dome. The dome can only be accessed by stairs.
Denver Botanic Gardens
This 23-acre park offers a cornucopia of fun, including a conservatory, themed gardens, an amphitheater, and the first Xeriscape demonstration garden. The Denver Botanic Gardens have been open for more than 70 years and offers 42 garden exhibits. The majority of these exhibits are wheelchair accessible, though some require assistance from the staff. The Botanic Gardens cost $12.50 for adults and $9 for children; children under 2 get in for free.
Denver Art Museum
One of the most extensive art museums in the Western U.S., the Denver Art Museum offers a three-building art collection that spans centuries and continents. From photography to contemporary art, to architecture to textiles to indigenous art, there is an abundance of art to see. Entrance costs $28 for non-member adults and $5 for children; children under 5 get in for free.
The Denver Zoo was founded in 1896 and extends for 80 acres. This is the first zoo to host animals in realistic habitats rather than cages, and it is home to more than 4,125 animals and 613 species. The majority of the zoo is wheelchair accessible, though there are some exhibits that can only really be seen via steps. In addition, there are some steep areas of the zoo that could be difficult for manual wheelchair users. Admission costs $17 for adults and $12 for children under 12.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
The Museum of Nature and Science is located in City Park and boasts 500,000 square feet. With rotating exhibits, the Museum of Nature and Science requires regular visits to keep up. You and your child can learn about everything from space science to geology to prehistoric beasts, and it is entirely ADA compliant. It even includes an IMAX theatre! Tickets are $16.95 for non-member adults and $11.95 for children.
This is only a drop in the bucket of activities you can enjoy with your child in Denver. At Evergreen Home Healthcare, we offer pediatric home healthcare in Denver and the surrounding areas. If you need in-home care for your child, we would be more than happy to help. Contact us today to get started.