Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is a very wheelchair accessible city with many family-friendly options for exploring, both indoors and out. The following operates as a guide to help anyone plan a trip to OKC, especially wheelchair users looking for accessible things to do and ways to get around the city.
Things to Do
Oklahoma City Zoo
The Oklahoma City Zoo is wide open with a unique layout, highlighting different types of animals from the kid’s zoo near the front of the property to island life, a cat forest, Oklahoma trails, an Asia sanctuary and even a Dino Safari. There are a range of activities from the standard zoo pathways to extra VIP events for feeding animals and learning more about the highlighted animal.
The zoo offers wheelchairs, strollers and electric convenience vehicles available for rental on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors with service dogs should check in at Guest Services upon arrival to discuss restrictions. Wheelchair users may also want to stop at Guest Services to ask for a wheelchair friendly map to have a guide for accessible bathrooms and pathways.
National Cowboy Museum
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has a large collection of Western art and artifacts that are on display to highlight the story and history of the American West. Between the range of art, the onsite tours and the host of events throughout the year, this is a great place to learn more about the history of the area and expand your knowledge of what it means to be a cowboy.
The museum is wheelchair accessible. On site, there are wheelchairs and strollers available to borrow during your stay at no charge, but they are in limited supply and available on a first-come, first-served basis. The events are also wheelchair accessible but may be slightly limited depending on the nature of the event.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Another ADA-accessible outdoor destination, the Myriad Botanical Gardens offer 15-acres to explore Oklahoma’s native plant life. Although the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is closed for renovations through the fall of 2022, both spaces are ADA accessible. The outdoor grounds are open daily with free admission for all guests. The Myriad Gardens also offers sensory-friendly family events throughout the year.
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Oklahoma City has also seen tragedy, with the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. The grounds of this tragedy have been preserved and are now the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. On the property you will find the outdoor symbolic memorial with a field of empty chairs to remember those lost, a reflecting pool, rescuer’s orchard, a survivor’s tree and children’s area. The outdoor space is open every day, 24 hours a day, and has a powerful light display after sunset. The indoor space is the museum where you can learn the stories of those lost, the survivors and those that responded in the aftermath.
The Memorial is completely wheelchair accessible, both outdoors as well as inside the museum itself. There are wheelchair accessible entrances on three sides of the grounds, giving visitors the opportunity to access each component on a paved path. The museum is wheelchair accessible from the entrance to each level, and wheelchairs are available to rent on site if needed.
Bricktown Water Taxi
If you’re planning to explore downtown Oklahoma City, you will have to stop in historic Bricktown, home of the Bricktown Canal. This is a great place to explore the city through pedestrian pathways, but the Bricktown Water Taxi is a nice way to get a new view of the city while learning about the history of Bricktown. The water taxi provides a narrated tour while traveling the 40 minutes around the canal.
The water taxi is wheelchair accessible, there is a portable wheelchair ramp for access to and from the dock, as well as two wheelchair locations on board complete with tie down straps to keep everyone safe. The canal is also wheelchair accessible with a mix of elevators and ramps, depending on which portion of the canal you’re exploring. Visitors will have access to the water’s edge, the dock and the water taxi itself where it picks up and drops off passengers.
Science Museum Oklahoma
For some indoor fun, consider visiting Science Museum Oklahoma. This is a family friendly space that showcases some unique educational environments from aviation and space to weather, light and curiosity. There is a science live space as well as a planetarium, giving everyone a space to explore and connect with a range of science topics. In addition to the exhibits, both permanent and visiting, there is a small cafe for snacks, a lunchroom and picnic area for outside food and an outdoor garden space with picnic benches.
The museum is wheelchair accessible throughout. Wheelchairs are available to reserve for free at a first-come, first-served basis and can be reserved ahead of time with an online form. There are sensory kits available to rent for free that include earmuffs, a timer, fidget toy, gloves, sunglasses and a sensory focused map and story. You can find an adult changing station on the second floor that is marked on the maps provided with admission. There are wheelchair accessible facilities on site and most, if not all, of the exhibits are accessible to all visitors.
First Americans Museum
Oklahoma City’s newest attraction, First Americans Museum (FAM) offers an ADA-accessible experience of the history and culture of 39 distinct tribal nations. Accessible parking is available, as well as restrooms and elevators on each floor. Free wheelchairs and motorized scooters are available on a first-come, first-served basis and service animals are welcome. FAM also provides free admission for ASL interpreters or other accessibility professionals providing services when accompanying clients. Portions of the galleries include bright lights and audio, so be sure to ask museum staff if you wish to avoid these spaces.
Noted as “a park for everyone,” Scissortail Park is a 70-acre urban park in downtown Oklahoma City designed with accessibility in mind. The park is ADA-accessible throughout, including its pathways, water fountains and exercise stations, with directional signage in Braille. The 3.7-acre lake offers ADA-accessible paddle boat rentals, and an accessible playground features inclusive equipment for children of all abilities to enjoy. Guests who have limited mobility can take a free tour of the park on a Silver Flyer golf cart by making an online reservation online. Tours are 20 minutes and can accommodate up to four guests each Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
How to Get Around
For those traveling by car, ADA parking spaces are available in all OKC public parking garages. Downtown metered parking is free for those with valid disability parking placards.
For a public transportation option, try Oklahoma City Embark, a public transit that includes buses, ferries and streetcar service. The Embark system is made up of wheelchair accessible vehicles, all of which have a wheelchair lift and features to accommodate everyone. This is a good option for those traveling a lot within the city, as you’ll be able to get on and off at various stops within the city itself. Wheelchair users can also qualify for a reduced fare card, which requires an application in advance. The typical rate for a single ride is around $1.00, so this option can also be a more affordable option compared to a rideshare or taxi service.
Depending on how often you’ll need transportation, Medride is available to provide wheelchair accessible transportation for wheelchair users along with ambulatory persons. While this isn’t a typical taxi service, it’s a service that provides rides to people for health appointments as well as recreational appointments. This would be an appropriate ride for a day trip, say to the zoo or the science center, somewhere you’ll be for the majority of the day, and Medride can drop you off and pick you up along with your party if you’re traveling with just a couple of people.
OKC is a very accessible destination for exploring museums and local tourist hotspots. Between the accessible things to do and transportation, along with the accessibility of local downtown hotels, any wheelchair user can feel comfortable and excited to plan a trip to visit Oklahoma City.