SA missions park adds features for visually, hearing impaired

Project added to assist special needs visitors

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Missions National Historic Park has added a project to make the park more accessible for the hearing and visually impaired. 

Large-print brochures are available to visitors with low vision to more easily read information. Exhibits are also available to touch, giving blind visitors an opportunity to literally feel their way through the park system.

"I didn't know that the river had so many turns, so many curves," said Jose Martinez, who is blind, as his fingers worked their way along the exhibit. "I'm glad to see that the missions are expanding and really focusing and wanting to include the blind."

Lee Wilder, senior interpretive specialist, said that the thinking behind the program is simple.

"All of our parks are attempting to be inclusive with the population that generally don't come to the parks because they don't feel welcome," Wilder said.

Park Ranger Danny Cantu, who is visually impaired, was instrumental in developing the program.

"Now people can imagine it in their minds what they're actually touching, seeing or listening to," Cantu said. "It has been a big drive of mine."

The project was funded by entrance fees collected at parks through the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service.

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