Autism-Friendly Activities in


Minnesota Orchestra

Sensory-Friendly Family Concert: Courage and Triumph

Saturday, July 14. 2:00pm

From the orchestra: Join us for our first full orchestra symphonic sensory-friendly concert, an engaging and interactive experience for all ages conducted by Akiko Fujimoto and featuring guest cellist Nygel Witherspoon…

  • The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sensory-Friendly Concerts are inclusive experiences for patrons of all ages and abilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities.

  • Concerts take place in a relaxed environment where audience members are welcome to be who they are and enjoy music with family and friends.

  • 16-year-old cellist Nygel Witherspoon makes a guest appearance playing Fauré’s Elégie

  • From Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man to Stravinsky’s Firebird, Courage and Triumph is a concert you won’t want to miss. Listen to the music that will be performed on the concert (coming soon)!

  • Come early for pre-concert activities curated by community partners including the Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts and Toneworks Music Therapy!

  • Read our tip sheet for information about the concert experience.

  • The Minnesota Orchestra may photograph or film portions of this experience for promotional and archival purposes. Please note that by entering, you consent to be photographed or filmed for these uses.


We designed this concert experience with support from our Accessibility Team and are extremely grateful for the expertise of each member and the contributions they made to develop this concert.

Minnesota Orchestral Association
1111 Nicollet Mall

Minneapolis, MN 55403

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Sensory Friendly Information

From their website: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is an energetic, colorful place full of sensory stimuli, and we know this environment can be overwhelming for some guests. These are some ways of the ways that Como strives to provide a positive, welcoming experience for every visitor.



Plan out your day before you head to Como!

Visual Schedule

Sensory Map



Created in collaboration with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), this guide helps visitors reduce their anxiety about new experiences by explaining what to expect step-by-step as they explore the Zoo and Conservatory. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory Social Narrative



Join us from 9-10 a.m. during the listed dates for an inclusive experience at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Spend time exploring exhibits, and activities designed for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Use the “social narrative” and the “create your own visual schedule” to help prepare you for your Autism Friendly Early Entry day.


2018 Dates 9-10 a.m.

Sun.      Jan. 14

Sun.      Feb. 11

Sun       March 11

Sun.      April 8

Sun.      May 13

Sun.      June 10

Wed.     June 13

Sun.      July 8

Wed.     July 11

Sun.     July 22

Wed.     July 25

Sun.      Aug 5

Wed.     Aug 8

Sun.      Aug 19

Wed.     Aug 22

Sun.      Sept. 9

Sun.      Oct. 14

Sun.      Nov. 11

Sun.      Dec. 9

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

1225 Estabrook Drive

Saint Paul, MN 55103


Great Lakes Aquarium

Sensory-Friendly Experiences

Great Lakes Aquarium is an energetic, colorful place full of sensory stimuli, and we know this environment can be overwhelming for some explorers! These are some of the ways the Aquarium strives to provide a positive, welcoming experience for every visitor:



On the last Saturday of every month (October – March) we will turn down the volume on displays, dim lights, turn off waterfalls, and open early to make the Aquarium experience more sensory-friendly. Upcoming Sensory Friendly Saturdays:

  • January 27, February 24, and March 31, 2018

  • 8:30 am – 10:00 am*


If these dates and times do not work for your family or group, we are happy to suggest times of the week/day that are generally quieter. Our goal is to be accessible to all and we are happy to hear your ideas about ways we can adapt spaces and experiences to better serve you. Contact our Education Department at 218-740-2000 or

Normal admission rates apply – members always free!**

* The waterfalls and exhibit sounds will be turned on starting at 10:00 – sensory friendly guests are welcome to stay as long as they would like!

** Why is there no special rate on Sensory Friendly Days? If we offer a discounted rate on these days, the large number of early morning visitors will likely impact the quiet environment we are trying to nurture.



Created in collaboration with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), this guide helps visitors reduce their anxiety about new experiences by explaining what to expect step-by-step as they explore the Aquarium. Great Lakes Aquarium Social Narrative

* If you find the Aquarium’s social story helpful, check out other social narratives from AuSM!


We know everyone’s Aquarium experience is unique. For more information on these resources or on customizing your sensory-friendly Aquarium experience, contact our education department at or by phone at (218) 740-2000.

Great Lakes Aquarium

353 Harbor Drive
Duluth, MN 55802


Stages Theatre Company

Sensory Friendly Performance

From the theatre:


As a leader in Sensory Friendly programming, Stages Theatre Company offers a variety of options to help make theatre accessible to everyone. We provide a full schedule of Sensory Friendly performances of our main stage productions.


Sensory-friendly performances are designed for children on the autism spectrum, or others with sensory sensitivities. House lights will be on and sound levels will be lowered, and crowds are minimized for these for these judgement-free, “shush-free” performances.



  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr: Saturday, December 9 at 10:00 am

  • Frederick: Saturday, February 3 at 10:00 am

  • The Nightingale: Thursday, March 15 or Saturday, March 17 at 10:00 am

  • Whoever You Are: Thursday, May 3 or Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 am

  • Crenshaw: Saturday, May 12 at 10:00 am

  • DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr: Saturday, July 21 at 10:00 am


Tickets are not available online, and can only be purchased at by phone at (952) 979-1111, option 4, or at the Box Office. Getting ready for your visit: SENSORY FRIENDLY GUIDE TO STAGES THEATRE COMPANY Please ask for discount at the time reservation is made. To reserve call (952) 979-1111, option 4 (Tuesday– Saturday from noon to 6 pm)

Stage Theatre Company

1111 Mainstreet,

Hopkins, MN 55343


Children's Theatre Company

Sensory Friendly Programming

CTC is committed to increasing access and inclusion for our community’s children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other sensory, social, and cognitive disabilities. To provide a supportive and welcoming environment for children and families, dedicated Sensory Friendly performances include:


  • Reduction of loud or jarring sounds

  • Reductions in flashing or strobe lights

  • Modification of the house lights during the performance

  • Accommodated house rules: audience members are free to talk or move during the show

  • Extra staff and volunteer support

  • Designated “Quiet Room” and “Take a Break Space” Guidance and sensory supports (fidgets, earplugs, noise cancelling ear-muffs) available in the lobby before the show


Audience members are welcome to bring their own manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects, and extra support items to the show. Families may select their own seats, but if special assistance or a buffer seat is needed, please call 612.874.0400.


Children's Theatre Company

2400 3rd Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55404


Cheap Skate

Special Sensory Nights

To celebrate National Autism Awareness Month, this year Cheap Skate is partnering with Autism Society of Minnesota for a month long of family fun! Every Tuesday in April, we will host a Sensory Awareness Nights from 6 pm – 9 pm. What does that mean? No flashing lights, no fog, no loud music. These skating and bouncing sessions are designed for those with special needs in mind. Wheelchairs are always welcomed, as well as parents walking on the skating floor to help.


Sensory Awareness Nights don’t stop in April. Cheap Skate will host Sensory Nights every first Tuesday night of each month going forward so mark you calendars, and check our Facebook Events Page for more details.

Cheap Skate

3075 Coon Rapids Blvd.

Coon Rapids, MN 55433


National Chains That May Have Sensory-Friendly Activities in Your Area: 

Proud to Be Me

Free Dance Therapy Classes for Children with Developmental Disabilities!

This dance class is designed for elementary and middle schoolers with any intellectual, developmental, or sensory impairments! Our beginner-level dance and movement classes currently take place through Zoom and provide a fun outlet for children to let out energy and meet new people. The free class is also designed to help refine and improve things like motor skills, concentration, social/communication abilities, and general happiness.

More information on website (linked above).

Proud to Be Me


Alamo Theatre

Alamo for All

From their website: "Welcome to Alamo for All - a movie program for young families and guests with special needs.  All shows starting before 2 pm on Tuesdays follow Alamo for All rules, with more shows on the weekends.  Schedule may vary during holidays.  At sensory-friendly Alamo for All shows,

  • Lights are turned up and sound is turned down

  • All ages are welcome (including infants)

  • Talking and noise is allowed and guests can move around

  • Latecomers are admitted

  • Adaptive technology is welcome (but no other electronics, please)


Bought a ticket to an Alamo for All show by mistake?  No problem!  Contact the theater and we'll be glad to refund or exchange your ticket for another show.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym

The Gym for All Kids

From their website: "We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gyms was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. As the only kids gym that offers an inclusive philosophy we have found all children can benefit from our uniquely designed sensory equipment that is specifically designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders. However, in our experience, all children are able to benefit greatly from this equipment and by allowing children of all ability levels to play together they are able to learn a great deal from each other and become the best motivation for success on every level.

Our Gym Includes:

  • Suspended equipment with swings – for balance and vestibular treatment

  • Crash mats and crash pillows – for fun, motor planning, and strength

  • Zip line – for stress release and joint and body relaxation

  • Trampoline – for building leg and core strength

  • Indoor play structure – for climbing and increasing playground skills

  • Sensory-based toys – for improved auditory processing and fine motor skills

  • Fine Motor and Arts and Crafts Area – for improved hand-eye coordination"

​Check the link above for locations.

Autism Eats

Autism Friendly Dining

From their webpage: Providing autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining, socializing and connecting with others who share similar joys and challenges. ALL behaviors are welcomed!

Check the website above for restaurants and dates!

Cobb Theatres

Sensory Friendly Films

Sensory Friendly showings provide families with varying abilities the opportunity to enjoy a family friendly film where kids can be kids in a safe and accepting environment. The auditoriums are made comfortable by brighter lights and the sound level is turned down. The audience is encouraged to be themselves and interact with the movie, while having fun without the worry of disturbing others. Dance, sing and enjoy the show!!!

All shows will begin at 10am local time. Films, dates and program are subject to change. Tickets are available in person only the Wednesday prior to each showing.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

Marcus Theaters


A Special Showing for Families and Individuals with Special Needs. We understand that sometimes it is difficult or uncomfortable for families with special needs children to attend movies together.


Marcus Theatres Reel Movies for Reel Needs is a specially designed program to serve families with special needs such as autism or other challenges, who seldom attend movies. Reel Movies for Real Needs creates a welcoming and comfortable environment – lower sound, lights up – where families with children who need accommodations will be able to share the experience of seeing family friendly films at a theatre.

Check the link above for dates and locations.

Urban Air Adventure Park

Sensory Friendly Jump

NEW sensory friendly jump time for our special needs community only, every First Sunday of the month from 10am-12n (time/date varies per location).

No flashing lights, no whistles, low music level, and less crowded. We invite you and your families to join us! Reduced rates available (varies per location). Open to sensory-sensitive individuals, their siblings and care-givers only.

Check the link above for dates and locations.

Studio Movie Grill

Sensory Friendly Screenings

A pillar of SMG’s Outreach since 2003, our monthly Special Needs Screenings are designed for families raising children with special needs. Special Needs Screenings are shown with the lights up and the volume lowered and children are free to move around, talk, or even dance in the aisles during the movie.

The sensory friendly screenings are free for children with special needs and their siblings. Adult tickets are available at before-noon price. There are no advance ticket sales. Parental guidance is always suggested.

Special Needs Screenings are shown at 11:00am at all SMG locations except EpiCentre. SMG Downey, Monrovia and Redlands look forward to offering our special needs screening program in the near future. We are currently in process of installing new seating and will subsequently undergo remodeling to our full concept. These locations will offer special needs screenings as soon as this work has been completed. 

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

Regal Cinemas

My Way Matinee

Sensory friendly movie screenings with sounds lower, lights brighter.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

AMC Theaters

Sensory Friendly Films

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don't forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

Major Airports

Wings for Autism®/Wings for All®

Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® are airport “rehearsals” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The programs are designed to alleviate the stress that families who have a child with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities experience when flying. It provides families the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding a plane. Airport, airline, Transportation Security Administration professionals, and other personnel also have the opportunity to observe, interact, and deliver their services in a structured learning environment.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

Sky Zone

Sensory Hours

Enjoy the freedom of jumping. Sensory hours provide a quieter, toned-down jumping experience for those with special needs.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

Chuck E. Cheese

Sensory Sensitive Sundays

Chuck E. Cheese's is proud to support families who have children with autism and special needs. We now offer a sensory-friendly experience on the first Sunday of every month. Our trained and caring staff is there to make sure each guest has a fun filled visit. The Sensory Sensitive Sundays experience includes:

  • Less crowding and noise

  • Dimmed lighting

  • Show and music turned off or down

  • Limited appearances by Chuck E.

  • Food and games are offered


Check the link above for dates and locations.


All Abilities Night

All Abilities Night at iFLY is a unique event that makes the dream of flight a reality for those in the special needs community. This program has been custom designed for those with physical and cognitive challenges to create an environment of support and inclusion, while focusing on making what seems impossible, possible.​

​Check the link above for dates and locations.