Accessibility at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures

Park Accessibility

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is committed to excellence in customer service and treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We believe in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in a timely manner, and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The following information is meant to assist individuals with disabilities to access the year round facilities and activities we provide here at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures.

Feedback

We appreciate all feedback on accessibility issues and policies at our park, please feel free to contact us so that we may better assist you.
Telephone: (705) 444-8230
Email: info@sceniccaves.com

Documentation

We would be happy to provide you with documentation relating to our customer service standards and park accessibility. All documents or information contained in the document, will be provided in a format that takes into account the persons disability. Alternative formats are free of charge. Documents can be requested by phone, email, or by directly speaking to any of our staff. You can also contact us to request our multi-Year Accessibility Plan and AODA policies.

Parking

Designated Accessible parking spaces are available and located in the main parking lot in front of the main building gift shop. Please note that a parking permit must be present on the dash of the vehicle with the expiration date showing. The accessibility spots will be monitored and work on a first come first serve basis.

Assistive Devices

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our facilities. Exceptions may occur in situations where we determine the device may pose a risk to the health and safety of a person with a disability, or to the health and safety of others. Staff will be trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities. Staff will not handle any assistive equipment without having received permission from the owner/user.

Wheelchair Accessible Washrooms

There is one permanent wheelchair accessible washroom on the property and it is located at our Eco cabin. A second accessible washroom will be located next to our adventure playground for the summer season. Please ask any of our staff for direction or assistance to get to either of our accessible washrooms.

Service Animals

We’re delighted to welcome trained service dogs here at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. All service dogs with the exception of banned breeds (pit bulls) are allowed to be on the grounds that are open to the public, as long as the animal is not otherwise excluded by law. Scenic Caves Nature Adventures ensures all staff will be properly trained on how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service dog.

Eco Adventure Tour, consisting of tree top walking and zip lines cannot accommodate any kind of service animals. As a result the Eco Tour will not be accessible to a person who requires a service animal at all times.

The customer is responsible for the service dog and must collect all stools while on the grounds. The Service dog may not be left with any staff with the exception of management. We must have the service dog signed in to be on the property as staff are trained to have animals removed from the park in accordance with our park policy. You will be required to provide one of the following:

  • A letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal
  • A valid identification card signed by the Attorney General of Canada
  • A certificate of training from a recognized guide dog or service animal training school

Any issues where the dog shows aggression to staff or other customers will require the removal of the animal from our facilities. Should an employee experience an allergy, fear or trepidation of the service animal other reasonable arrangements to provide service shall be explored with the employee.

Notice of Temporary Disruption

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used or accessed by people with disabilities. Please recognize that in some circumstances such as situation or unplanned disruptions, advance notice will not be possible. In such a case notice will be provided as soon as possible. This clearly posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available. For any planned disruptions Scenic Caves Nature Adventures will post a conspicuous notice on public entrances, service counters, and on our website if necessary.

Support Persons

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter the grounds and one support person will not be charged an admission fee for the basic park admission. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his/her support person while on the premises.

The three hour guided tour provided by our Eco Adventure team also accepts support persons. There are a limited amount of spots on each guided tour so be sure to let us know if you require the assistance of a support person. A support person will not be charged a fee to access the Eco adventure tour.

Communication

We will communicate with guests who have a disability in a way that takes into account their disability. All staff will be trained on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.

Visitor Guide Books

Visitor guide books at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures are provided in english text with a font of ten point. The detailed nature of the guide restricts the size we can offer. As an alternative we can provide a PDF print version of the document with a font of eighteen point. Our guide maps are also available in 5 alternative languages: French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Dutch.

Priority Placement – Lines

Persons with a disability who may require assistance to ride our tractor/wagon down to the suspension bridge can wait at the loading area on or next to the benches. The Tractor/wagon runs on a 20 minute rotation and the front wagon can accommodate a stored wheelchair. Persons in wheelchairs will need to be able to get on the wagon with limited* assistance from the tractor driver. The driver has been trained to assist persons with disabilities onto the wagon. Customers will be asked to wait to load the front of the wagon until the person with a disability has been loaded.

Persons with disabilities who wish to ride Rocky the train shall make their way to the train station, waiting in the loading area, or on the bench directly behind the station. The train driver will ensure that a wagon is saved for a person with a disability to access. Depending on the disability, some restrictions for riding the train may apply.

+ Download Accessibility Policy (pdf format)

For further general information regarding accessibility:

+ View AccessON (Government of Ontario)
+ View AODA Act (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities)

 

If you have any questions regarding any of our policies in the Park Accessibility Policy please contact:
Phone: (705) 444-8230
Email: info@sceniccaves.com

Accessibility-Chart-(May-2016)

 + Click here to download the chart

*All activities above can be affected by mother nature as we are an outdoor activity location.

**Wheelchair refers to a traditional non-motorized chair. We welcome motorized scooters to explore the main entrance area.

***Runs on a limited operating schedule

– Spring & Fall -> Weekends only

– Summer        -> Daily, including holidays, (weather permitting)

Both the tractor and train will stop in the event of a thunderstorm or heavy rain. They may resume if the weather clears.

**** For limited mobility and those in a wheel chair, sit skis will be permitted access, although, we do not have one to provide.

+ Download Accessible Activities Chart (pdf format)

Descriptions of Activities

Caves/Caverns Trails and Nature Trails

The self-guided tour follows wooded nature trails upwards along the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment and down 70 ft. into the depths of caves/caverns/crevasses which were carved millions of years ago by glacial ice. There are 18 geological features including spectacular lookouts to explore, as well as reading about the First Nation’s Petun Tribe which inhabited the region over a century ago.

The terrain is a natural biosphere: uneven along the rugged dirt forest trails and rocky/often slippery throughout the caves with boulders to climb and crevasses to squeeze through. The elevation increases approximately 3 dozen steps as you hike up the escarpment. Another near 80 steps required to venture to the bottom of the caverns.

Also, there is a looped nature trail which joins the Suspension Bridge Trail, which descends/ascends into the valley.  The Creekside Trail and “O Natural Trail are approximately 1 km long, extremely rugged and narrow, with steep inclines.

Due to the nature of this activity, there are restrictions with accommodating guests with mobility limitations.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • Sufficient physical dexterity is required to navigate uneven ground.
  • Trails require hiking up and down steep, narrow metal stairs (not all have handrails) in the caves and wide wooden/gravel/wooden ties flights of stairs through the nature trails.
  • Guests must have balance, coordination and be able to walk securely on their own.
  • Have sufficient vision to safely maneuver (flat light environment in the caves).
  • Not recommended for guests with medical conditions.
  • Support person may be required to assist.

Suspension Bridge

Southern Ontario’s longest man-made suspension footbridge is 420 ft. long, is lined by a wire fence with handrail, and is wide enough for two people to walk side by side as they cross over it.  An iconic location for viewing 10,000 sq. km. of Georgian Bay, the bridge is situated 25 meters above the valley floor. The bridge is very flexible and will move with the wind and your weight as you cross it.

The walk to the Suspension Footbridge takes approximately 10-25 minutes from the main gate, depending on which trail you choose. The wooded nature trail follows uneven dirt/woodchip ground and steep staircases made of railway ties filled with stone chips.

Depending on the season and operating schedule, the country tractor/wagon ride from the main entrance to the bridge is an alternative to hiking to the Suspension Bridge.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • Hiking uneven dirt trails and ascending/descending unusually wide staircases without handrails is required.
  • To access the trail/wagon ride, guests must step up 2 steps at a height of roughly 1 foot each to the wagon. There is space at the front to transport a non-powered wheelchair.
  • Not recommended for guests with medical conditions (heart, vertigo, etc.).
  • Support person may be required to assist lifting/stepping up to wagon.
  • Have sufficient vision to safely maneuver.
  • 2 steps to access the bridge, one being a large placed rock, the other a wooden railroad tie.

Tractor/Wagon Ride

A farm tractor pulls a wagon equipped with four benches on a 10 minute ride between the main gate and the suspension bridge on a 20 minute rotation. The operating schedule changes with the season and time of day and runs weather permitting (it does not operate during thunderstorms). During the spring and fall, the tractor ride is available only on weekends and holidays. In the summer, it runs 7 days per week.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • To access the trail/wagon ride, guests must step up 2 steps at a height of roughly 1 foot each to the wagon. There is no lift. There is space at the front to transport one non-powered wheelchair.
  • Support person may be required to assist lifting/stepping up to the wagon.
  • Visually impaired may require assistance to step up to the wagon ride.

Trout Pond

Steps away from the main gate is a natural pond with a dozen wooden Muskoka deck chairs around it.  It’s a sunny location featuring 3 fountains throughout the pond.  The pond is stocked with rainbow and speckled brook trout. Fishing is not permitted, however if you would like to feed the fish there is a dispenser nearby.  It is a welcoming area to relax and serves as a comfortable meeting point for families to join up.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • The narrow path to the edge of the pond, there is uneven grass terrain. There is no fencing around the pond.
  • A wheelchair may be rolled to the pond with the assistance of a strong support person.
  • Recommend the wheelchair can lock breaks on when near the pond
  • Have sufficient vision to safely maneuver to the pond.

Mini Golf

An 18 hole miniature golf course is a short walk (on wood decking poured cement) from the main gate.  Manicured grass surrounds the course.  There are a variety of challenges and obstacles suitable for all ages.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • The varying terrain is not suitable for wheelchairs.
  • There are shaded areas a short distance away from the mini golf course where guests may observe the game.
  • Sufficient physical dexterity is required to play the course.
  • Have sufficient vision to safely play the course.

Gemstone Mining

The man made water tower is located beside the main gate, accessed by walking on patio stones/grass. The water runs through various drops and turns of a wooden sluiceway which stands about waist level. Using a panning tray with a screen bottom, you sift through the mining rough to discover gemstone treasures.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • The pathway next to gemstone mining is paved, but on an incline.
  • Guests must be tall enough to reach the wooden sluiceway.
  • Have sufficient vision to use the panning tray.
  • Sufficient physical dexterity to sift sand and gemstones in the tray

Youth Adventure Playground

Professionally built and inspected playground equipment offers a junior (ages 2 – 5) and senior (ages 5 – 12) sized activities.  The metal equipment is built on a woodchips, edged with wooden landscape pieces; grass surrounds the playground area.  Activities include: rock climbing wall, climbers, traditional swings, slides, ride-ons, gigantic geometric climbing rope structure, mini Suspension Bridge, tight rope walk and Gyro Spinner. There are benches and picnic tables within the playground area where guests rest while supervising.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • The playground is steps from the main gate along a wide crushed stone path.
  • Sufficient physical dexterity is required to navigate the equipment.
  • Have sufficient vision to safely use the equipment.
  • Unless a person in a wheelchair can stand, there is no accessible equipment.

Rocky the Train

Rocky is a miniature electric train – an authentic 19th century replica locomotive complete with bells and steam whistle.  It departs from the Big Rock Railway Station and runs on a paved pathway loop. The train is comprised of a locomotive, coal car, three wagons, and a caboose, with seating for young and old alike – boarding it requires stepping a foot up into each compartment. This mini-express train ride which lasts about 10 minutes. During the spring and fall, Rocky operates on weekends and holidays. During the summer, it runs seven days per week.  Rocky does not operate under severe rain/weather conditions.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • The Big Rock Railway Station is next to our playground, steps inside the park gates.
  • Ability to maneuver body through small door to the small bench inside an enclosed space.

Eco Adventure Tour

The 3-hour long professionally guided adventure features treetop canopy walking and zip cable gliding.  The tour involves:  hiking through a nature trail to the suspension bridge, a tractor-wagon ride to the first of 18 ascending treetop points, walking 600 meters across 10” wide airborne wooden board walkways strung between a web of platform decks, a 300 ft. zipline through forest (45 ft. vertical drop / 14 meters), descent into the caves/caverns, finishing with a 1000 ft. zipline across escarpment (150 ft. vertical drop/ 100 meters).

Due to the nature of this activity, there are restrictions with accommodating guests with mobility and vision limitations.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • Stand and balance independently on a swaying 10” wide plank that has rope guide rails attached
  • Sufficient upper body strength and physical dexterity to clip/unclip around each tree and manoeuver to zip lines. Guests are attached to cables at all times.
  • Sufficient vision to safely and independently move along the treetop canopy walkways
  • Understand and demonstrate knowledge of safety rules required to participate on the walk and ziplines
  • Height, weight and age restrictions apply
  • Waivers must be understood and signed.
  • Safety harnesses, ropes, carabiners and hard hats are worn.
  • Not recommended for guests with medical conditions (heart, vertigo, etc.)

Thunderbird Twin Zip Line

The Thunderbird features two independent  parallel zip lines which begin at the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment and plunge a half mile down the valley. The dynamically controllable trolleys allow riders to control their own zip line speed by raising or lowering the wooden dowel bar. The ride may last from 45 seconds to a couple of minutes, at speeds of up to 70 km/hour.

Thunderbird Twin Zip Line is located in the interior of the park. To access it, guests hike above the caves trails up to the top of the escarpment. The experience begins with a ground-school mini-training session located on crushed stone.  Guests walk up a 50 foot high circular metal staircase tower to the departure point. Guests are responsible for breaking at the man-made landing pad below. Staff assist in properly attaching and removing the harness equipment.

Due to the nature of this activity, there are restrictions with accommodating guests with mobility and vision limitations.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • Understand and demonstrate a knowledge of safety rules required to operate the zip line.
  • Have sufficient body strength and physical dexterity to operate the braking mechanism.
  • Have sufficient vision to safely brake at the end.
  • Height, weight and age restrictions apply.
  • Waivers must be understood and signed.
  • Safety harness, back pack for equipment and hard hat are worn.

Cross-Country Skiing

There are 27 km. of professionally groomed and track set ski trails for classic or skate skiing. The trails wind through a 200 year old forest of 100 ft. tall deciduous trees, set high atop the escarpment.  The trails are well marked and rated by level of difficulty.  The terrain offers challenging uphills and exhilarating downhill runs.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • Ability to wear nordic equipment and poles.
  • Sufficient physical dexterity is required: use hands and arms for poles, legs for skis
  • Have sufficient vision or be guided by an experienced guide/personal support worker

Snowshoeing

There are 10 km. of dedicated snowshoe trails winding through a mature forest.  One of the trails crosses over the iconic 420 ft. Suspension Footbridge.  There are three well marked trails rated by level of difficulty: 1 km. of easy trails, 6 km. of moderate trails and an expert trail which extends beyond. The terrain is uneven and paths narrow.

Accessibility Requirements:

  • Ability to walk in personal boots, clipped into a snowshoe.
  • Sufficient physical dexterity is required to navigate the trails.
  • Have sufficient vision or be guided by an experienced guide/personal support worker.