Touring accessible luminariumSep 25 05:21
House parties, games, rides at fairs, let's face it, a lot of "fun" things aren't the most wheelchair friendly. So you can imagine how I felt when the most amazing inflatable maze, a "luminarium," created in England and touring world and was at my state's state fair, turned out to be completely wheelchair accessible.
The company behind luminariums is called Architects of Air. Since the 1990s, they've been creating these large inflatable structures from their Nottingham warehouse, and they’re intended for both artistic and mentally-soothing purposes. The luminarium that was at the Minnesota State fair last month was called Mirazozo, and the design was inspired by Islamic religious architecture.
This particular luminarium has about five or six different rooms, all which are lighted in different colors, and the rooms are connected by tubular pathways, making you feel like you're in some psychedelic space structure. Each room has breathtaking ceilings that are vaulted, and there are little nooks in each room where visitors can have a seat to soak up the visual lushness. The point of it all? To calm the soul, to leave refreshed.
What's cool about the company behind these is that when they debuted their first one, it was only intended for people with learning disabilities (read their accessibility history). Their original goal was to provide therapy. But since it was so beautiful, everybody wanted to see them, including ABs. It costs about $5.00 to go through one, and they let you stay inside as long as possible. All wheelchair-users wheels must be swept with a broom before going in.
The luminarium that I saw, Mirazozo, is coming back to the United States and will be in Conway, Arkansas this weekend, and the weekend of October 12-14 it'll be in El Paso, Texas. So if you’re in those areas, definitely try to check it out. For me personally, being able to roll to through the vinyl structure in all it's lighted glory and in perfect accessibility, has been one of my favorite post injury recreation-moments to date.
To learn more about Architects of Air, including other luminariums they’ve made and when one will be coming to a city near you, visit their touring schedule here.
Visit their official site: Architects of Air
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.