SEA WORLD – ACCESSIBLE GOLD COAST
We’ve made lovely family memories at Sea World on the Gold Coast over multiple visits. AJ even celebrated her second birthday there. Over the years the attraction has evolved but maintained the elements that encourage us to visit again and again.
On our recent trip to the Gold Coast we thought we’d pop in and see what’s new. As the kids get older it’s hard to know their reaction when they revisit an attraction but Sea World was a hit with both, particularly BJ.
Sea World has a wonderful range of animal exhibits including the polar bears, rays, dolphins, seals and the large aquarium. We find the exhibits provide easy viewing for BJ from his wheelchair. Large floor to ceiling windows, low fences and unique under water viewing platforms mean BJ doesn’t miss out on anything.
Ramps lead to and from viewing areas at Polar Bear Shores and the Aquarium. The polar bears are my favourite attraction at Sea World and if it weren’t for other family members being keen to move on I’d stand there all day marveling at them.
We arrived at Sea World right on opening and hot-footed it straight to the polar bear enclosure. As is often the case at zoos and animal parks, the morning is the best time to see the animals at their most active. Mum and bub were out in the morning sun and we were the only ones watching them. In typical fashion the youngster was keen for a swim but Mum was not. I could relate to her as she paced and did a dance on the spot putting off the inevitable. She was clearly hoping not to go swimming on this particular morning but with her youngster in the pool she caved and did the responsible parent thing and got in.
She playfully jumped on her bub as she did so. It’s wonderful to have the option of watching the polar bears at play with accessible viewing above and below the water.
Accessible seating is available in the front row of the seal show and staff will guide you on arrival at the theatre. We chose to sit in the front row of the seal show because BJ finds it easier to concentrate if he’s close to the action.
Staff happily opened a gate which was wheelchair accessible to allow BJ to sit up front. This area is in full sun which was fine for us in winter but in summer I suggest following the path to the regular stadium entry and sitting in the wheelchair allocated seating.
On our latest visit I was thrilled to see Sea World has taken access to a new level with a newly installed (new since our last visit) hoist to allow easier access to the dolphin encounter for guests with a disability. We found the trainers who do this experience to be excellent and the dolphin has been hand-picked for their suitability to work with children with special needs and people with a disability.
The special needs dolphin experience is available for a maximum of four people including 1 carer/companion who is free to assist the person with a disability and two other friends or family members can participate.
When you arrive at Sea World make your way to the Guest Services office. The staff there will discuss your needs and advise the most suitable rides. When BJ was little we could manage all the rides in Nickelodeon Land but obviously he’s outgrown those.
Castaway Bay is home to Battle Boats, an interactive water play ride which has a wheelchair accessible boat.
Guests may stay in their wheelchairs for this ride but I suggest wearing a poncho or covering the wheelchair with plastic or you’ll be sitting on a wet chair for the rest of the day.
Read the full article here - https://havewheelchairwilltravel.net/sea-world-accessible-gold-coast/
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A great article covering some concerning topics, particularly that as part of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, all Australian governments made a commitment to "a unified, national approach to improving the lives of people with disability".
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Great to see the team actively taking part in the Melbourne Disability Expo at Melbourne Exhibition Centre and meeting so many people to discuss designing solutions to enable their mobility.