Entrance of Fort Taber Park in New Bedford My Aunt Nancy, mom, Tony, Jowanna and I headed to Fort Taber Park in New Bedford because a friend told us it has a great fishing pier and I love to fish. We thought we might have luck catching a fish in New Bedford because it is known for its fishing industry and even nicknamed The Whaling City because it was once one of the most important whaling ports in the world. It was the first time we visited Fort Taber Park and we were all quite impressed with the wheelchair accessibility of this beautiful water-front park.
Fort Taber Park is a 47-acre park owned by the City of New Bedford and operated by the Mayor’s office; the park is New Bedford’s newest and largest park and it offers something for everyone; the park features important historical landmarks, such as the historical Fort Taber which dates back to the American Revolution; it was also once used as a military reservation; and is important to New Bedford’s history.
Fort Taber Park has a lot to offer everyone: a small museum about the history of Fort Taber and Fort Rodman; spectacular water views; an accessible fishing pier that extends out into Buzzard’s Bay; a playground for children; a concession stand that is open in the summer; plenty of wide paved walkways to wheel your chair along; a small beach; and picnic areas with grills.
Tabor Park is FREE for all to visit. Upon entering we were amazed at the beautiful and well maintained landscaping, walkways and water views. There are plenty of accessible parking spaces in all areas of the park. We parked our van in one of many handicap parking spaces in front of the Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Historical Association Museum. Before unpacking our fishing gear we toured the museum.
A wide accessible cement ramp leads to the main entry door of the museum. Once at the entrance a very kind volunteer opened the door and welcomed us. Inside we saw many displays of military militia that had all been donated to the museum; flags; historical photos; paintings; and much more!
The kind volunteer showed us a replica of Fort Taber and told us all about the important part the City of New Bedford had in the history of our country dating back to the American Revolution and Civil War.
After leaving the museum, a huge military tank across the way caught our attention. Located in front of this tank is a plaque that states “Honoring forgotten heroes”. All areas of the park are easy to access because the paved sidewalks are wide and easy to wheel along; we didn’t encounter any hilly terrain.
Next we saw a children’s playground which is partially wheelchair accessible for children with disabilities.
One side of the children’s playground has only mulch as terrain which is difficult to wheel on. The other side of the playground has mulch and some rubberized matting prevents a child from injuring themselves if they fall. We didn’t see any wheelchair accessible play equipment. The most wheelchair accessible playground for children I’ve seen is the Mission Hill Playground in Boston. It is a Boundless Playground which is a blend of play-safe surfacing and accessible play equipment where children of all abilities can play together in a fun and safe environment.
Located in front of the playground is a pavillion with a snack bar, picnic tables and restroom that is only open during the summer. The snack bar’s countertop is of a good wheelchair accessible height; the restrooms located here have a wheelchair accessible symbol on the door so we assume they are ADA compliant and the picnic tables appeared to be somewhat accessible because your chair can fit at the end.
Off in the rear of the park overlooking Buzzard’s Bay is the historical Fort Taber. The fort is not open to the public because we were told it was never maintained like the fort we saw on Georges Island and Castle Island in South Boston. We also saw artists sketching water colors of the spectacular views.
From here we strolled along the sidewalk to an area located in front of a small beach. The beach has roll on access if you have a beach wheelchair. Located in front of the beach is a building with public restrooms. The Men and Women’s restroom is spacious, wheelchair accessible and fully ADA compliant.
Located in front of the restroom is one outdoor accessible shower and bubbler. Set off to the side are picnic tables and grills. The picnic tables are accessible for I could fit my chair at the end of the table. What impressed me the most is one of the binoculars to view the water is of a wheelchair accessible height and I could see the view of the water and fishing vessels passing by.
Now it was time to go fishing. We got our fishing pole and gear and headed to the fishing pier which is called Merchant Mariner Memorial Walkway. This fishing pier is awesome!! It is long and extends into Buzzards Bay. The walkway is wide; railings are set on all the sides; benches to rest on are set along the way; it is well lit at night for tall lampposts are set along the side. We headed all the way to the end of the pier where others were having luck catching fish such as bluefish and stripers.
We all enjoyed the beautiful water view from the fishing pier; we saw fishing vessels passing by, a lighthouse and the shores of New Bedford beaches. We also met some fellow fisherman who were kind and helpful and told us some tips on fishing.
After fishing we headed back home and will definitely return to this beautiful wheelchair accessible park.
I give Fort Taber Park in New Bedford FIVE STARS for wheelchair accessibility. The City of New Bedford has done a wonderful job making this beautiful park fully accessible to all! I highly recommend they place some wheelchair accessible play equipment in the children’s playground. The kind and knowledgeable volunteers of the Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Historical Association Museum deserve FIVE STARS for devoting their time informing visitors of the important role the City of New Bedford played in American History!