Lions & Tigers & Bears…Oh My!

Home from ‘the City’ safe and sound. I was really no help with sign reading. None at all! However, I was able to program the phone’s GPS and help in areas I did know. I was also able to read site maps with my reader. [Lin/Linda: ‘the City’ is New York City.]

At The Met Cloisters I could use my telescopic glasses to look at the art ‘close up’. Beautiful tapestries, paintings and carvings.

I talked to one of the guards about whether they would be more handicapped accessible any time soon. The Cloisters is built on multiple levels and my companion for this jaunt has hip and heart problems. As far as vision is concerned, the descriptions were still on printed signs.

Many museums are going to QR signs. QR stands for quick response. They are the little ‘barcode’ squares you can scan with an app on your iPad or iPhone and get amazing amounts of information, even videos! Since you don’t have to actually stick you nose against a sign – your iPad will tell you the information – the system is much more low vision friendly.

Museums using the QR system include the Smithsonian and the National Museum in London. There are also a number of more local museums using the system. You can get the QR reader app from the Apple app store. I was going to try mine yesterday but The Cloisters is not fitted with the system. [Lin/Linda: there is a QR Code Reader for Android from Google Play.]

Since the rain was coming down in buckets – so much for that forecast!- we opted for the Bronx Zoo rather than the gardens. Unfortunately the zoo does not yet have the QR system either. However, for you who also have mobility issues, the zoo is very handicapped accessible and allows scooters and wheelchairs.

I saw the lions and tigers and bears, oh my! We also saw the gorillas who were incredible. With the more humane construction of zoos, I several times could not locate a creature in the foliage. Telescopic lenses helped some with that, but not a lot.

Bottom line on this? We had a successful day in the city. People were incredibly kind and friendly and we struck up conversations with maybe a dozen people. The museum and zoo have ways to go to become more accommodating for us with disabilities but all together it was not too bad. Since my companion had to do all the driving, I paid for gas and lunch.

Would I go back? Yes. Probably not The Cloisters because that was my second trip there and it has sort of ‘been done’ for me. We only got through about half of the zoo. I did not see the snow leopard or get my camel ride! Those things can happen another time. The Botanical Gardens could be that day, too. Some day it is sunny and pleasant.

What have been your experiences with different venues as a low vision person ? Any praise or pans for a place? Any suggestions for a traveler? Let us know!

written June 18th, 2017

Next: Reading Modern Retina

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