The dating scene can be quite a wild ride, especially if you are a disabled individual. Meeting a new potential love interest is always exciting. Although finding fun, accessible places to have a great date can be wheelly challenging. It is already nerve-racking to find out if the person will accept certain limitations. Going somewhere that showcases the negativity of the disabled life can increase the stress of the date.
I hated it when a guy took me to a place that is not wheelchair friendly. I once had a guy asking to meet a bar that had nothing but steps. The guy was like, “Oh yeah…I forgot… sorry.” I didn’t foresee a second date after that. The key is to keep the date light, active, and fun for both individuals. Plan something that highlights both of your interests and personalities.
To prevent any unnecessary stress, consider these fun wheelchair accessible date ideas:
1. Movie or IMAX Theatres
Are you or your date is a big movie buff? Going on a classic movie date is always fun. All theatres have accessible seating with at least one spot for a companion. If you want something more thrilling, seeing an IMAX 3D movie can really take you out of your element and put you both in a place where disability no longer matters.
Many people don’t think this is the best choice for a first date, because it prevents people from communicating much, but many movie theatres now have full cocktail bars and dinner areas. Grab a couple of drinks before the movie and break the ice.
2. Concerts and Music Festivals
Get lost in the rhythm of good vibing music with your date. Music festivals and live concerts bring out the inner rockstar in people, and it’s fun to experience that with somebody new. Some concerts cost zero dollars, while others cost a colossal sum. It just depends on the artist or band. Most music festivals can be costly too.
However, the experience is worth the money. If you go to small venues with general admission, you get an awesome spot right by the stage. If you are lucky enough, you might get to meet the band or artist. My husband and I once got to high-five some band members of Imagine Dragons. It was an unforgettable date.
3. Street Fair or Amusement Park
Release the nerves by having simple fun at a local street fair or amusement park. Dates should not be so serious. Playing silly carnival games and getting yummy treats is as romantic as going to a candlelight dinner. It is actually more imitated because physical touch happens whenever your date helps your transfer onto rides. Plus, street fairs and amusement parks are inexpensive.
4. Sporting Events
If you and your date connect on the love of sports, going to a stadium and gymnasium to cheer on your favorite team or athlete can make for an exciting date. Nothing feels more thrilling than being surrounded by the energy of the game–the fans, players, and music. Most stadiums and gymnasiums have exceptional, accessible seating… I recommend taking tickets at the earliest time as possible to avoid being put in the nosebleed section.
For example, my husband and I love the LSU Tigers. We have been fortunate enough to get seats down by the field on the Northside right where the players run out. We have had issues with the area being taken already, though. So we get tickets months in advance if it’s an SEC game.
Knockdown your date like a bowling pin by showing your competitive side. While there are not many sports, every wheelchair user can do, and one of the few we can all get into is bowling. All you need to do is ask for the bowling assist ramp before you start.
If you are a quadriplegic, you can use a mouth stick to push the ball down the ramp. You might want to call ahead of time if your local alley has the ramps because some alleys might have none or broken ones.
6. Casino Outing
If you are a gambler of love and like to go against the odds, plan a fun night at a casino. Going in together on a bet at a table such as Blackjack or Poker can be a fun way to see if you work together as a team.. Even if you are not a big spender, you can still get a sensory experience of casino night by spending a few dollars on the slots.
7. Museum or Art Gallery
Do any of you have a creative heart or an appreciation for history? Visiting some kind of local museum, gallery, or temporary exhibit is simple but imitated. Being surrounded by such creativity and history can set off romantic vibes. Since museums and art galleries are public buildings funded by the government, their accessibility standards are much higher than most public businesses. Some galleries are even free.
8. Zoo or Aquarium
Wanna show your date your wild side? Like art galleries and museums, zoos and aquariums are held to a higher standard of accessibility. Even though zoos and aquariums are more family/kid places, they can still be great first-date places. You won’t run out of topics to talk about because cool creatures will be everywhere, and you can try out your corny animal jokes.
9. Stroll and Picnic in the Park
A stroll and a picnic in a public park are perfect If you want to do something romantic but don’t want to go all out. All you would need is a few snacks and refreshments. If there are no accessible picnic tables at the park or if you don’t have a personal tray, then I suggest that you bring a foldable table and chairs. One pleasurable thing about having a table is that you won’t have to worry too much about getting grass or dirt on your cute outfit.
10. Winery Tour
If you and your date have eager palettes for fine wine and cheeses, a winery tour can satisfy that. You will get to taste different samples of tasty wine as you enjoy the beautiful tour through the vineyard. It will be memorable and romantic. Make sure it has not rained before you go because the pasture might be too muddy.
Keep in mind that these are only a few ideas. There are many more great ones containing specific interests. Disabilities truly don’t prevent dates from being special. You just have to adapt to the restrictions of your environment.