Traveling is a fulfilling and enriching experience, but it can be challenging, especially when using a wheelchair in unfamiliar places. By making travel more accessible, individuals with disabilities and their caregivers can enjoy a better quality of life by exploring new places, cultures, and experiences. Caregivers who assist in this process need to consider various factors to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing.
Some key considerations for caregivers when traveling with wheelchair-bound individuals includes accessibility, transportation and personal care. Many attractions in Singapore have taken steps to make their exhibits and displays more accessible to all visitors, including those with disabilities. Here are attractions with thoughtfully designed premises and amenities catered for those who require mobility access.
1. Bird Paradise
Nestled amidst the vibrant urban landscape of Singapore, Bird Paradise is a new avian sanctuary located at Mandai. It spans 17 hectares and is home to 3,500 birds from 400 species, of which 24 per cent of the species are threatened. The largest bird park in Asia is not only rich in the diversity of avian inhabitants but also for its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity.
Inclusive Suspension Bridges and Viewing Platforms
Bird Paradise is a place where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty and splendor of avian life. A key feature enhancing this connection is the walk-through aviaries. What sets the avian sanctuary apart is the meticulous consideration given to inclusivity. The suspension bridges and viewing platforms are strategically located and thoughtfully designed to ensure they are accessible to everyone, offering expansive views for everyone to enjoy.
Innovative Porous Railings and Bird Feeder
The railing along the elevated walkway is designed to be porous which allows children and visitors on wheelchairs to view the birds from a lower angle. Bird feeders are located on the railing to enable close encounters with animals, providing wheelchair-bound individuals an exhilarating experience.
In addition to notable attraction, there is also an state-of-the-art penguin habitat and a 2,000-seat amphitheater hosting animal programs, outdoor play areas ensure an enriching adventure for all visitors.
Free Shuttle Service from Entrance Plaza to Central Plaza
Visitors in the park can conveniently attend an avian show or reach the F&B areas using a complimentary in-park shuttle that connects the Entrance Plaza to the Central Plaza. The shuttle is also equipped with clamps to secure guests in wheelchairs, and there is also a dedicated waiting area with seats reserved for guests with special needs.
Complimentary Wheelchair Rental
Bird Paradise offers wheelchair rental services on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors can either rent a wheelchair online or visit the reception counter located at the park entrance. For more information. Visit Bird Paradise for more information.
2. Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay, located in Singapore, is a popular attraction with many interesting spots that appeal to visitors from all over the world. The iconic Supertree Grove, with its towering tree-like structures covered in lush vegetation and illuminated by colorful lights, is a striking architectural feature that captivates visitors and its diverse Gardens features a variety of themed gardens, each with its own unique character and flora.
Smooth Wheelchair Friendly Walkways
Most of the attractions within Gardens by the Bay are wheelchair accessible, including the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest Dome, which feature smooth and wheelchair-friendly walkways. The gardens are also equipped with special ramps, lifts and barrier-free routes incorporated in its design.
While the paths are smooth, traveling around the entire park can be challenging for individuals with mobility issues, as most attractions are quite far apart. Fortunately, there is a wheelchair-accessible shuttle service that operates between Bayfront MRT and the Conservatories.
Wheelchair Rental Service
Wheelchair rental service is available at a small fee of $2 per day. Simply visit the Gift Shop, The Canopy Ticketing Counter and Floral Fantasy Ticketing Counter at Arrival to rent a wheelchair. Wheelchairs must be returned before 9.00pm.
Free Admission for Persons with Disabilities and 50% for Caregivers
Gardens by the Bay offers free admission to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories for the disadvantaged and persons with disabilities.
Singaporeans who holds the following cards:
- Developmental Disability Registry (DDR) identity card; → Public Assistance (PA)/ Special Grant Card under MSF’s ComCare Long Term Assistance Scheme (also known as Public Assistance or PA Scheme); or → Public Transport Concession (PTC) card for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) under the PTC Scheme for PWDs
- Social Service Agencies (SSAs) that provide direct social services to beneficiaries – for visits organised for beneficiaries
- Caregivers/minders accompanying beneficiaries are not eligible for free admission but can enjoy a 50% discount on tickets
For more information, visit ncss.gov.sg.
3. Singapore ArtScience Museum
The Singapore ArtScience Museum, is an iconic cultural landmark which seamlessly fuses the worlds of art and science in a captivating way. Located at Marina Bay Sands, the architectural marvel is also known for its lotus flower-inspired design, which not only makes it an architectural wonder but also captures the essence of creativity and knowledge.
Wheelchair Accessibility of the Museum
ArtScience Museum in Singapore is known for being wheelchair-friendly and accessible to individuals with mobility challenges. All levels are accessible by lift and all walk-through spaces in the galleries are at least 1.2m in width with automated doors.
Designed with wheelchair access in mind, the museum has ramps and wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, making it easy for visitors to move around the exhibition spaces. Wheelchair-friendly washrooms are also located on every floor.
The museum is also equipped with elevators that provide access to different levels of the building, ensuring that all visitors, including those in wheelchairs, can explore the exhibitions on various floors.
Service Dogs and Wheelchairs for Loan
Manual wheelchairs are available upon request free-of-charge at Level 1, Visitor Experience Information Counter. Guide dogs are also welcome to accompany persons with disabilities.
Enjoy A Concession Rate
When visiting the museum, people with disabilities (PWDs) and one accompanying caregiver can purchase concession tickets when visiting the Museum.
4. Punggol Regional Library
Located in the heart of Punggol Town, the Punggol Regional Library is a five-storey library curated for persons with disabilities.
Designed with inclusivity in mind, the new facility incorporates numerous accessible features to serve the needs of people with disabilities.
A unique feature that makes the library more friendly for wheelchair-bound individuals is the “Borrow-n-Go” passageway. It employs Ultra-High Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, allowing users to borrow books without the need to place them on a table-top, as is traditional with borrowing kiosks.
Another distinctive feature is the Calm Pods, which aim to provide a private and safe space for individuals with disabilities when needed.
Individualised Orientation Sessions
Additional services, such as updated wheelchair-friendly routes to each public library and personalised orientation sessions, are also available.
5. National Gallery Singapore
The National Gallery Singapore is a prominent art museum located in the heart of Singapore. Housed in two national monuments, City Hall and former Supreme Court, the museum reflects Singapore's unique heritage and geographical location.
All Galleries and Facilities are Wheelchair Accessible
Manual and motorised wheelchair users are welcome at the Gallery, and all galleries and facilities within it are wheelchair accessible. However, there are no charging points available for motorised wheelchairs within the Gallery.
Assistance Dogs are Welcome
The gallery warmly welcomes all types of assistance dogs and their handlers. Visitors with assistance dogs can simply drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org two days in advance for assistance with planning their visit.
Many amenities in the gallery are wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair-bound individuals can access both lift lobbies, A and B, which have a width clearance of 1.09m, accommodating most wheelchairs and mobility aids. Accessible restrooms with automated doors, operated by button pressing, are available on all levels of the City Hall Wing, except for level 6.
Loan a Wheelchair
Wheelchairs are available for loan at the Visitor Services Counters located at Coleman Street Entrance, Padang Entrance and Level B1. They are free-of-charge on a first come, first served basis.
Admission is free for visitors with disabilities and one accompanying caregiver. Approach the staff at Visitor Services Counters on Level 1 for your tickets.
The Bottom Line
Accessibility isn't merely a checkbox; it serves as a catalyst for positive change. It creates a more inclusive society and fosters a world where diversity is celebrated, ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities. This commitment builds a society where individuals with disabilities, along with their caregivers, are provided equal opportunities to live life to the fullest.