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Mt. Cuba conserves and stewards more than 1,000 acres including meadows, forests, streams and riparian corridors.

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Mt Cuba Center
Back to News Updates – May 21, 2024

Updates

The Seeds of Accessibility, Now in Bloom!

By Bob Parrett

Guided by our founders’ intent, Mt. Cuba Center aspires to be a space where everyone has an opportunity to contribute, share, learn, and grow together. We want all who are curious to engage and explore our physical and virtual environments free from barriers, to become inspired by the beauty of native plants and learn about their ecological value. Transitioning from the historic private estate of Pamela and Lammot du Pont Copeland to a public garden presented a myriad of accessibility challenges. As an organization, Mt. Cuba has endeavored to remediate these barriers through community engagement, partnerships, education, strategic planning, and innovative garden design. While improving the accessibility of the Copeland House and gardens is an ongoing process, we are excited to share a few of the new enhancements for the 2024 season.

 

The New ADA-Accessible South Garden
The completed South Garden renovation culminates a multi-year project to increase the accessibility of the gardens. Collaborating with partners, our horticulture team designed an innovative solution to remove steps from this space by raising the entire garden eighteen inches. Explore the now ADA-accessible South Garden to see how native plants can be used in stunning formal settings and be sure to visit throughout the seasons to watch this new perennial garden mature over time. Stay tuned for more background and details on this exciting project, including how we made the big transformation while preserving Marian Coffin’s historic design.

When paired with our previous garden enhancements, the South Garden renovation establishes an ADA-accessible path from the guest parking lot through the beautiful naturalistic Woodland Glade, where guests can go on to explore and experience the formal gardens, Trial Garden, and the tree-filled naturalistic Woods Path.

Accessible Tour Options (Coming Summer 2024)
Tours bring Mt. Cuba’s mission of inspiring an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants to life and are a great way to experience the gardens. Our new Accessible Welcome Walks provide an introductory experience that is perfect for those who wish to learn more about our garden’s history, native plants, and conservation tips you can apply at home, while having easy access to the beautiful pathways and gardens. The tour prioritizes flat, paved paths, and seating areas along the route are available upon request with at least 7 days’ notice. Assisted listening wireless audio headsets are now available for tour usage on a first come, first served basis. We recommend that you call ahead to check the compatibility of our headsets with existing medical devices to ensure a seamless experience.

Sensory Bags & Mobility Devices
Mt. Cuba now has free adult and child sensory bags available on a first come, first served basis at the Ticketing Office. These clear backpacks contain noise-cancelling headphones and a wide assortment of fidget items. We also have a cane, a rollator walker, a wheelchair, and walking sticks available to use for the day without reservations. Inquire at the Ticketing Office when you arrive.

Girl sitting on the ground taking items out of a bag

Mt. Cuba is committed to continuing our progress to improve the accessibility of our gardens, education classes, and programs. We want everyone to have the opportunity to connect with nature here in the gardens. We appreciate any suggestions or feedback from our community, which can be sent to Bob Parrett, Guest Operations Manger at rparrett@mtcubacenter.org.

For additional information about accessibility at Mt. Cuba, please visit our website, email us at information@mtcubacenter.org, or call us at 302.239.4244. We hope to see you this Spring!