What child hasn’t dreamed about climbing up high in the trees, laying under the stars and creating his or her own fort within the branches of nature? Now more than ever, this dream is becoming reality for kids of all abilities, not just those who have the physical strength to climb the branches into their very own treehouse.
Thanks to popular shows like Treehouse Master, wheelchair accessible treehouses are making kids’ and adults’ dreams come true. Treehouses of today are not the treehouses of yesterday. Treehouses are popping up all over the country with all the amenities and more that you would find in luxury homes, not makeshift forts outdoors.
The Treehouse Master himself, Pete Nelson, and his team recently aired an episode on Animal Planet in which they built a luxury “magic” treehouse for a family complete with a long wheelchair ramp to ensure that all family members and any visitors from their community would be able to visit the magical getaway. This particular treehouse comes complete with a 20 foot high deck and outdoor seating areas, giving people who use wheelchairs a never-before-seen treetop view that they otherwise may never have been able to experience first-hand themselves.
You can read more about the Treehouse Master’s wheelchair accessible treehouse here: http://www.cleveland.com/tv-blog/index.ssf/2014/01/treehouse_masters_makes_two_northeast_ohio_stops_for_episode.html
More and more companies are popping up also offering treehouses accessible by the disabled community, like The Treehouse Guys. The Treehouse Guys recently changed their name (formerly known as Forever Young Treehouses) and are giving a new take on the traditional treehouse, incorporating a universally accessible wheelchair ramp design. The Treehouse Guys are a great example of creating barrier free access to structures, giving anyone who would like, a first-hand experience in nature. In 2011, they even earned the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Barrier Free America Award.
To learn more about the Treehouse guys and see examples of some of their designs, visit www.treehouses.org.
Camps, resorts, and outdoor adventure parks have been jumping on the treehouse trend, and have started recognizing the importance of creating an oasis in the trees that allows ALL participants access. Pine Tree Camps is just one example of a kid-friendly camp that has incorporated a wheelchair friendly treehouse into its facilities. In fact, it is home to Maine’s only fully accessible treehouse. Pine Tree Camps is committed to making sure that no child is left out of the outdoor activities they offer, including creating full access to all of the camps elements, even if that means part of their facility is built up high in the treetops.
Check out the great things Pine Tree Camps offers for kids of all abilities here: www.pinetreeabilities.org.
Are you someone with a disability who has visited a wheelchair accessible treehouse? If you could custom design your own treehouse, what elements would you incorporate? Share your thoughts in the comments!