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Six Springtime Staycation Ideas
By: Barbara & Jim Twardowski

Getting away from the daily grind doesn’t require a long-distance trip. Ease back into travel with a springtime staycation and explore attractions close to home. Even a single night away can be rejuvenating. Here are six popular destinations to spark your imagination. 

Annual Houston Car Art Parade | Electric Ladyland - Regan High School

Photo by Aveedibya Dey on Unsplash

Learn how Chicago rose from the ashes of the Great Fire of 1871 to become the birthplace of the skyscraper and home of modern American architecture as you pass by the city’s soaring structures on a river cruise. The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) provides trained docent volunteers who describe the histories of more than 50 buildings as you glide along the Chicago River. 

The seasonally-open (April 1, 2022) Chicago’s First Lady offers two wheelchair accessible ships with accessible restrooms. Scooters and electric wheelchairs cannot be accommodated aboard the ship, but may be safely left on the dock. For those who have assistance and can transfer, a manual wheelchair may be borrowed based on availability. Guests who can not climb stairs are seated in the open air bow deck or inside the climate controlled salon with large windows. For detailed information regarding accessibility, visit www.cruisechicago.com

Continue the architecture lessons with a combo ticket to see the CAC.   The CAC is wheelchair accessible and has a large family bathroom.

Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash

Approximately 35 miles south of downtown Dallas, you’ll find the small town of Ennis, Texas— the official Bluebonnet City of the state. Tens of thousands of visitors make the trek to the area every spring to see the state flower blooming along some 40 miles of driving trails. From the comfort of your own vehicle, you can see this wonderful wildflower show April 1-30. The Ennis Garden Club drives the trails each week and posts the status of the blooms. Depending upon the weather and terrain, the locations of the best bluebonnet sightings vary each year. 

For a nostalgic evening out, watch a movie at the Galaxy Drive-in Theatre just three miles up the road from Ennis.

Denver is an outdoor city and the springtime is a great season to explore the dynamic Downtown. The 16th Street Mall, with some 250 shops, has a free and wheelchair accessible  shuttle running from one end to the other of the mile-long pedestrian promenade. The mall boasts 200 trees and 50,000 flowers. Hop off and on the shuttle and walk a few blocks to see some cool attractions. 

The renovated 1914 Beaux-Arts Denver Union Station contains ten chef-owned restaurants and bars, boutiques, and the historic Crawford Hotel with 65-foot ceilings and dazzling chandeliers. 

The Denver Art Museum’s new galleries contain a large selection of American and European artwork. The wheelchair accessible museum offers a range of services and programs for people who have disabilities. Manual wheelchairs may be borrowed on a first come, first served basis. Portable stools are found throughout the museum and may be used for seating in the galleries. 

Denver brews more beer than any other city in the U.S. Several brewpubs, tap rooms, and breweries are located downtown. Spend an afternoon on a patio enjoying a unique brew.

The 35th annual Houston Art Car Parade | Photo by Emily Jaschke

The 35th annual Houston Art Car Parade is April 9, 2022. Grab a spot and watch one of the zaniest displays of artistic imagination pass by. Previous entries have transformed vehicles into a colorful peacock, a hippy dinosaur, a cute bunny, and a giant taco. The route opens to the public at 11 am and the parade rolls at 2 pm. Events, activities, and amenities are scattered throughout the route. Everyone has the ability to create art and 250 vehicles proudly cruise through the metro area. This beloved parade attracts 200,000-300,000 spectators. The mobile masterpieces are created by students, families, youth groups, and organizations. 

Dale Chihuly, Sol del Citrón, 2014, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, installed 2021 © 2021 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved. | Photo by Nathaniel Willson

The unique plant life of the Southwest comes alive at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Located in Papago Park amid beautiful red rock formations and the Phoenix Zoo, the Garden contains 50,000 plants on 140 acres. Five themed trails take you past towering cactus, colorful desert wildflowers, and enchanting succulents. 

Chihuly in the Desert runs until June 19, 2022. Eleven large-scale Dale Chihuly pieces of art will be nestled along the trails and an indoor display at Dorrance Hall. Watch thousands of butterflies take flight at a special exhibit through May 8, 2022. If you visit on a Friday, buy tickets for Music in the Garden showcasing local musicians through May 27, 2022. 

The garden is fully accessible to wheelchair users and scooters are available to rent.

Photo by Elizabeth Villalta on Unsplash

A public park, the High Line is a 1.45 mile-long elevated former rail structure that’s wheelchair accessible via elevators. Check the status of the elevators online prior to visiting. Free public tours are available year round on a first come, first served basis. Some 15 different garden zones change with the seasons and public art is displayed along the High Line. Sit awhile and enjoy the views of Manhattan’s far west side. The popular park is an ideal spot for a selfie. To further enjoy the High Line, download the park’s app.

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