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Accessibility at the Museums & The Zoo

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Museums, Aquariums and Zoo

N.C. Museum of Art

One of the South's premier art museums with major holdings in European paintings, Egyptian funerary art, sculpture and vase painting from ancient Greece and Rome, American art, Judaic art and international contemporary art.

 

Physical Disabilities:

  • Free ADA-compliant parking is available.
  • Curb cuts are located at all entrances to the Museum.
  • Motorized and regular wheelchairs of standard size as well as rollators are available free of charge and may be checked out at the Information Desk in West or East Building.
  • Elevators are available to all floors of East Building. West Building is a single story.
  • Accessible restrooms are available in West Building and on the top three levels of East Building.
  • Family restrooms are available in the Education Lobby of East Building. Please ask a guard for assistance to access the family restrooms in West Building.
  • Museum entrances have automatic doors.
  • Service animals are welcome.
  • Although the Museum Park includes some paved trails, wheelchairs are not recommended because of steep grades in the natural landscape.

Hearing Loss:

  • Assistive listening devices are available from audiovisual staff in the SECU Auditorium and available for docent-guided tours at the Information Desk in West Building.
  • School and public docent-led tours including American Sign Language (ASL) are available upon request with at least four weeks’ notice. Contact Jen Coon(919) 664-6820.
  • A written transcript of the Cell Phone Tour is available at the Information Desk in West Building.
  • The SECU Auditorium features a Hearing Loss loop to provide improved accessibility for visitors with telecoils.

Vision Loss:

  • Braille is on all museum directional signs and elevators.
  • Large-print label text is available at the entrance to special exhibitions.
  • Audio description is provided for select outdoor films by Arts Access Inc.
  • Docent-led tactile tours are available for visitors with vision loss. Please request these tours at least four weeks in advance. Contact Beth Shaw McGuire(919) 664-6778.
  • Large-print labels for selected works in the permanent collection are available at West Building Information Desk.

 

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA)

A museum that focused on exhibiting the work of contemporary artists from across the South, nation and world.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Two marked accessible parking spaces in front of the original front door and more in the main parking lot.
  • Museum is wheelchair-accessible
  • Smooth stone and brick paths at least 4 feet wide with slopes and areas of rest. The interior has marble floors with a gently sloped ramp connecting the old house to the modern building. Leather benches provide areas of rest.
  • The entrance is level. Doorbell for visitors who cannot open the door.
  • One accessible family restroom. Sink faucets have timed release push-button handles.

Hearing Loss:

 

  • An assistive listening system is available.
     
    Vision Loss:
     

Restroom signs have Braille.
 

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences - Raleigh

North Carolina's most-visited museum and the largest natural sciences museum in South, exploring our natural world through interactive exhibits, educational films, and hands-on learning areas. 
 
Physical Disabilities:
 

  • Marked accessible parking is available on streets and in designated lots.
  • Wheelchairs are available from the front desk.
  • Elevators are available in both the main building and the Nature Research Center.
  • Accessible restrooms are located on each floor.
  • Ramps are available to enter both the main building and the Nature Research Center and both entrances have touch-activated doors.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • The NC NatSci Museum app for Apple devices provides a multimedia guide of all museum exhibits as well as a navigable map that allow visitors with vision loss or blindness, those who are hard of hearing or deaf, those with learning disabilities, as well as the general public, an enhanced museum visit. Museum Guide iOS app on iTunes
  • Apple iPod touch devices are available to borrow from the Museum Store to use the NC NatSci app for those that do not have their own device. 
  • Assistive Listening Devices are available for visitors with hearing loss attending live presentations in the WRAL 3D Theater and events in the Environmental Conference Center.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • The NC NatSci Museum app for Apple devices provides a multimedia guide of all museum exhibits as well as a navigable map that allow visitors with vision loss or blindness, those who are hard of hearing or deaf, those with learning disabilities, as well as the general public, an enhanced museum visit. Museum Guide iOS app on iTunes
  • Guided and tactile tours are available for small groups of visitors with disabilities in downtown Raleigh facilities. Pre-registration required.
  • A Tactile Kit for visitors with vision loss can be reserved by visitors prior to their visit by contacting the Accessibility & Inclusion Coordinator.
  • Bluetooth iBeacon technology is available for independent wayfinding and navigation of the Nature Research Center for visitors with vision loss or blindness. Download Blindsquare's full version, or a free Museum-only version (Blindsquare Event).

 

 

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences - Whiteville

The southeast regional branch of North Carolina's most-visited museum featuring an investigative lab, PlaySpace and discovery forest.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Two accessible parking spaces.
  • The museum entrance has a ramp for wheelchair access.
  • Accessible restrooms are available.
  • Wheelchairs are available.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • Some touch-screen displays have captions.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • Specimens in the Naturalist Center and discovery boxes in the Discovery Forest provide a tactile experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N.C. Museum of History

North Carolina's flagship history museum with exhibits covering 14,000 years of history under one roof with a focus on the state’s military history, decorative arts and culture. 

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Accessible parking is available in the surface parking lot located in the block east of the museum (enter at booths off Jones Street or Edenton Street. Metered street parking available. Parking is free on weekends.
  • Ramp access is available on the Edenton St. side of the museum, providing access to the museum’s main entrance. A second accessible entrance from Jones St. provides access to classroom/restaurant level and elevators to the museum lobby.
  • Elevators are available on all levels.
  • Ramp access entrances have touch-activated doors.
  • Courtesy wheelchairs are available at the information desk.
  • Accessible restrooms are located on the lobby floor and restaurant/classroom level.
  • Wheelchair-accessible spaces are located at the rear of the Daniels Auditorium.
  • Service animals are welcome.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • The museum provides assisted listening devices for programs in Daniels Auditorium. Ask the AV technician in the booth.
  • Most videos in exhibits have a button to press to display captions. Sign language interpreters are available with two weeks’ notice.

Vision Loss:

  • Large-print brochures are available.
  • The signs next to the statues outside the museum and the restroom signs have Braille.

 

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

A regional history museum that tells the story of thousands of shipwrecks that dot the North Carolina coast.

 

Physical Disabilities:

  • Five accessible parking spaces.
  • The museum entrance has a ramp for wheelchair access.
  • Accessible restrooms are available.
  • Wheelchairs are available for visitors.

 

Hearing Loss:

  • The museum has text boards and written text for some videos.
    Vision Loss:
  • Interior doors have Braille signage.

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Beaufort

The official repository of artifacts recovered from Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge and home to exhibits highlighting North Carolina's coastal culture.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • One accessible parking space.
  • The museum entrance has a ramp for wheelchair access.
  • Accessible restrooms are available.
  • Wheelchairs are available for visitors.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • All exhibits have text panels or labels that provide information.
  • The museum will provide a sign language interpreter with advance notice.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • 3-D Touch Me exhibits.
  • Braille exhibit guides are available.
  • Large-print text on exhibit signs.

 

 

North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

A regional history museum that tells the story of the Cape Fear region's people and their relationship to the water, including a special focus on pirates of the Lower Cape Fear and blockade runners.

 

Physical Disabilities:

  • Marked accessible parking spaces.
  • The museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
  • One accessible restroom.

 

Museum of the Cape Fear

A museum that interprets the history of southeastern North Carolina; the 1897 Poe House, which illuminates turn-of-the-century upper middle class life; and Arsenal Park, where the Civil War-era Fayetteville Arsenal once stood.

 

Physical Disabilities:

  • One marked accessible parking space.
  • Brick and concrete sidewalks at least 4 feet wide with areas of rest. The terrain at Asenal Park contains small slopes.
  • Both the museum and Poe House entrances are wheelchair-accessible.
  • One accessible restroom for each gender.
  • The museum has an elevator.
  • Touch boxes and interactive exhibits are wheelchair-accessible.
  • Visitors unable to access the second floor of the Poe House are given a pictorial book with a brief description of what visitors see and hear on the tour.

Hearing Loss:

  • Videos shown in the museum have captions.

Vision Loss:

  • Music audio is provided in some galleries.
  • Touch items can be found throughout the museum.

 

Museum of the Albemarle
A regional museum capturing the history of northeastern North Carolina and showcasing American Indians, watermen, farmers, craftsmen and other communities.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Marked accessible parking spaces available
  • Concrete paths at least 4 feet wide with curb cuts.
  • Carpeted floors inside the museum.
  • Museum entrance has a ramp.
  • Six accessible restrooms.
  • The museum has an elevator.
  • The museum is wheelchair-accessible.

 

Additional:

 

  • Nursing room is available upon request.

 

Mountain Gateway Museum

A regional museum that encourages the preservation and understanding of the culture of the state’s mountain region.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • One marked accessible parking space.
  • Three concrete paths at least 4 feet wide with slopes and areas of rest. The grounds between the buildings have grass with a park-like atmosphere.
  • The entrance has a ramp.
  • One accessible restroom for each gender.
  • Not all areas of the museum are accessible to visitors with mobility disabilities, but most visitors do not have great difficulty moving about in a wheelchair.

 

 

 

 

 

The North Carolina Zoo

The world's largest natural habitat zoo with exhibits focused on the animals of North America and Africa.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • 51 accessible parking spaces are available.
  • Both entrances are on a level walking surface and have accessible drop-off points for visitors who are mobility-impaired.
  • Zoo paths are asphalt and concrete at least 4 feet wide with some slopes. Signs point out areas with gentle slopes. Benches provide areas of rest.
  • Zoo-wide transportation system is available to help visitors navigate to three strategic locations inside the park to begin their walk to the habitats. Please note that habitats are not viewable from the trams or buses.
  • Rental wheelchairs are available at both park entrances. 
  • Coolers, food or beverages used for medical purposes can be checked at either entrance, tagged and brought inside the Zoo. 
  • Trained service animals are welcome.
  • Accessible restrooms are available.
  • The Carousel ride at Junction Plaza is ADA compliant and includes a swan bench seat that accommodates wheelchairs. The 4-D Theater is also ADA accessible.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • The zoo has ample directional and exhibit information signs and provides a park map upon entry.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • Restroom signs have Braille.
  • The Smart Cart has objects that provide tactile stimulation.
  • The “Why Bear Why?” book has an audio feature.

 

 

 

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
An aquarium that takes a broader look at the state's natural environment while focusing on the lower Cape Fear. Feel the smooth skin of a gliding stingray and marvel at free-flying butterflies and roar with the dinosaurs.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Nine marked accessible parking spaces. Six have a 5-foot-wide access aisle, and three do not.
  • The entrance has a ramp.
  • Three accessible restrooms for each gender.
  • The aquarium, interpretive bike path and garden decks are wheelchair-accessible.
  • Free wheelchairs are available upon request for use on site.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • Assistive listening devices providing amplified narration are available free of charge.
  • With pre-registration visitors may receive guided tours and narration for feedings and other programs. Please call 910-458- 7468 to arrange a visit.
  • Captioned films are available as well as large-print scripts of many free daily programs.

 

Vision Loss:

  • Guided tours are available free of charge. Pre-registration is required. Please call 910-458-7468 to register a group.

 

 

NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island
An aquarium exploring the waters of Outer Banks. Marvel at the largest collection of sharks in the state, touch stingrays and see sea turtle conservation work in progress.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Nine marked accessible parking spaces.
  • All entrances, exits, exhibits and restrooms are wheelchair accessible.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • A Pocket Talker and neckloop are available.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • The aquarium has two touch tanks always open to visitors.
  • If visitors with vision loss call ahead of time, the aquarium’s education staff can make carts available with items that provide a tactile experience such as beach finds, shark skin and animal furs.

 

NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

An aquarium offering visitors the opportunity to meet the thousands of aquatic animals that call all regions of North Carolina home.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Accessible parking spaces available.
  • The aquarium and the Marsh Boardwalk are wheelchair-accessible. The Bogue Sound Overlook has a wheelchair-accessible distance viewer.
  • The aquarium entrance has a ramp.
  • Five wheelchairs are available to check out at the Visitor Services desk.
  • Three accessible restrooms for each gender.

 

Hearing Loss:

 

  • A script of the Fintastic! exhibit is available at the Visitor Services desk and on the web site.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • The Fintastic! exhibit from 2010-11 features tactile fish with touch-activated audio and was designed for visitors with vision loss. One model remains on display.
  • See the website for a full list of “Touching Experiences.”

 

 

Jennette’s Pier

A world-class fishing pier off the Outer Banks that also includes interactive science exhibits, aquarium displays and a beach access.

 

Physical Disabilities:

 

  • Eight marked accessible parking spaces.
  • Beach access mats provide wheelchair access from the bathhouse to the beach.
  • The entrance has a ramp.
  • Standard wheelchairs and a beach wheelchair are available upon request.
  • Golf cart assistance from the parking lot to the pier is available upon request.
  • The pier offers two accessible fishing areas with a lowered railing for easy accessibility.
  • Eight accessible restrooms.

 

Vision Loss:

 

  • Braille signs and audio exhibits are available.
  • The pier hosts the N.C. Lions Club’s annual Visually Impaired Persons Fishing Tournament every October.