Monday, 22 February 2016

Family days out

I love days out, especially when it's for a family occasion, but sometimes it can be tricky finding things that everyone can enjoy together. Yesterday, we went to the Dome in Doncaster for my niece's birthday treats. We had a great day out together, and the family photos got posted on Facebook. I thought, here though, I'd review the different activities from a wheelchair perspective.

Parking and getting in

There's a blue badge parking area, which is always helpful but I don't think it has been resurfaced since the place was built. There is a ramp up to the main entrance, which is in reasonable condition and isn't too steep. I was able to propel myself up by myself. The main entrance has two automatic doors but one was faulty. I expected it to open inwards as I went towards it. It didn't open, so I gave it a push with my foot but then it started opening towards me, faster than I could reverse which was a bit alarming. Anyway no harm done and I got in.

The entrance hall

We've been to the Dome before so I knew that the queue would be really long. I started queuing early and was third in line to the till. The cordoned off lanes were quite narrow though and when I got to the till, nobody could get past me, which is always a bit awkward.

Pricing is good. Carers go free, which is a good policy.

Swimming at the Dome

To get to the swimming pool and changing area, you have to go downstairs. There is a lift but it has the look of a machine that has been unattended in a humid room for over a decade. It's quite rusty and doesn't look very safe. It didn't make grinding noises though. The changing areas are unisex and they say they have an accessible changing facility but really it's just a disabled toilet with a bench in it. I used it to get changed but definitely needed help getting my stuff to the lockers. It would be helpful to have a bigger accessible changing room with lockers in the room.

The swimming pool was quite busy but I enjoyed swimming and playing with the kids. The best bit at the Dome is the outdoor pool. It goes round in a whirlpool and the water feels hot compared to the cold winter air. I didn't go on any of the slides, as they are all up steps and probably wouldn't be very good for my back.

The shower area was a bit of a nightmare. I managed with help but didn't feel very clean afterwards. I had to wait to get back into the 'accessible' changing room, by which time my legs had seriously run out of standing capacity and I was freezing cold!

Ice skating

I used to love ice skating! I've only attempted it a couple of times since my injury and that was in Finland on an empty ice rink. Andy held my hands and skated backwards and pulled me around. It wasn't pretty but it was great fun.

At the Dome, they have penguins and snowmen for little children to hold onto if they can't skate. It would be really great, if they had something similar for disabled adults - something like a weighted zimmer frame. I would love to be able to skate again. It was fun watching everyone else though.

Frankie and Benny's 

They were pretty good. Level access, plenty of room to get my chair round. The only negative was the door situation to get into the toilets. Two doors opened into each other and there wasn't any room for a wheelchair between them. I wonder why nobody ever thinks about that.

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