As always, because we belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a full participant in the life of Lancaster, we are happy to offer FREE tickets to members of the autism community, and that can be arranged with a simple e-mail to me at
Certainly, anyone who can afford to pay ( - prices vary - ) is more than welcome to purchase tickets to any or all of these events. They can do so at ARTSMU.COM or by phoning 717-871-7600.
Please look at this amazing line-up of shows below. There is something for everyone and for all ages!
PENNSYLVANIA BALLET II – FAIRY RHYMES
Sunday, February 15, 2020 / 1:00 p.m.
Steinman Hall / Ware Center
Join the Three Little Kittens as they search for their lost mittens. Their journey leads them to beautiful palaces, deep into forests, and over hill and dale. They meet Nursery Rhyme characters like Jack and Jill and the Old Lady in the Show, as well as Fairy Tale personalities such as Cinderella, Snow White, and even Peter Pan. They’ll find their mittens, but even better, they’ll find wonderful new friends along the way in this fun and child-friendly ballet.
ASL INTERPRETATION / SENSORY-FRIENDLY / WHEELCHAIR SEATING
THE SNOWY DAY & OTHER STORIES
Saturday, March 21, 2020 / 1:00 p.m.
Steinman Hall / Ware Center
Childsplay, Inc.’s production of The Snowy Day celebrates the magic and boundless possibilities of the first snowfall! Follow Peter and his friends as they romp and play, starting snowball fights and making snow angels in this imaginative musical play about childhood joys and the challenges of growing up. Using innovative shadow puppetry, Jack Keat’s treasured characters come to life in this delightful adaptation of his stories Whistle For Willie, Goggles!, A Letter To Amy, and, of course, A Snowy Day.
Yao is a mischievous little girl who loves playing with her father. But every morning Daddy has to dress up in his suit, pick up his briefcase and go to work. One day, unhappy with her father’s departure, Yao grabs his overcoat and accidentally pulls a thread that leads to the start of a magical world of adventure and discovery. Using interactive screen art technology and live music, South Korea’s Brush Theatre invites you to join Yao on her ingenious journey to find out what’s waiting for her at the end of that thread!
Saturdays beginning November 9, 2019 at 9:30am. PennCares and Coyle Free Library are proud to offer sensory story time. This unique story time is for children of all abilities ages 2 - 4. Join us for an interactive & hands on story time session. Children will enjoy book themed learning stations, sensory play, music & movement and more. While this is geared towards children with sensory needs, all are welcome, no registration required.
Sensory story time was made possible through a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities
3rd Wednesday of the Month at 10:00am PennCares and Coyle Free Library are proud to offer sensory story time. This unique story time is for children aged 2 - 4 and targeted to those with sensory needs, but all are welcome. Join us for an interactive & hands on story time session. Children will enjoy book themed learning stations, sensory play, music & movement and more. No registration required. Sensory story time was made possible through a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
10:30am beginning Friday, October 18, 2019 PennCares and New Cumberland Library are proud to offer sensory story time. This unique story time is for children aged 2 - 4 and targeted to those with sensory needs, but all are welcome. Join us for an interactive & hands on story time session. Children will enjoy book themed learning stations, sensory play, music & movement and more.
No registration required. Sensory story time was made possible through a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
Mondays at 10:30am PennCares and Dillsburg Area Public Library are proud to offer sensory story time. This unique story time is for children aged 2 - 4 and targeted to those with sensory needs, but all are welcome. Join us for an interactive & hands on story time session. Children will enjoy book themed learning stations, sensory play, music & movement and more.
No registration required. Sensory story time was made possible through a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities
Wednesdays from 11:30am-12:15pm PennCares and Amelia Givin Library are proud to offer sensory story time. This unique story time is for children aged 2 - 4 and targeted to those with sensory needs, but all are welcome. Join us for an interactive & hands on story time session. Children will enjoy book themed learning stations, sensory play, music & movement and more.
No registration required. Sensory story time was made possible through a grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
From their website: "Engage all of your senses in the Penn Museum’s Family Access Programs. Designed for visitors with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families, our multisensory accessible offerings use role play, storytelling, movement, and touch to bring the lives of the ancients to life." Additional programming includes: "ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE A.M.
Designed for teens and young adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities, Archaeology in the A.M. pairs the lives of the ancients with making new friends. Participants in this new social program are encouraged to interact with peers through a series of multimodal drop-in activities in the first hour, with the second hour featuring an art-making workshop. A social networking space for parents and family friends will also highlight various community service organizations. A designated quiet space with dimmed lighting and fidget toys will be accessible throughout each event, and a limited number of noise-reducing headphones will be available to borrow.
See below for upcoming dates and themes. Archaeology in the A.M. is free with Museum admission, with special discounts available: ACCESS cardholders receive a discounted admission price of $2.00 per person for up to four visitors. Archaeology in the A.M. is made possible by the Philadelphia Autism Project. To learn more visit www.phillyautismproject.org."
From their website: "Relaxed Performances are specially adjusted to be sensory-friendly, comfortable for but not limited to individuals on the autism spectrum. To be inclusive of children and families with a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences, we designed the theater experience to be welcoming and judgment-free. Many children and adults benefit from experiencing theater in this relaxed environment.
Some aspects of this program include: Online pre-visit materials that show patrons what they can expect to see and hear at Montgomery Theater Training for ushers, volunteers, and musicians to help staff cultivate an especially inclusive environment Relaxed rules in the theater so that all responses to the show—clapping, singing, vocalizing, moving, dancing, etc.—are welcome at any time Partially up house lights Fidgets and earplugs A designated quiet space with relaxing activities for patrons who would like to take a break from the performance. Slight mitigation of sudden, loud sounds and events.
A modified refund policy that allows families to receive 100% of their money back if they purchase tickets and find they are unable to attend the day of the performance."
From their website: "Our Sensory Friendly Screenings offer a more inclusive atmosphere because we believe that everyone should enjoy their time at the movies. During Sensory Friendly Screenings the theatre lights will be dimmed, the volume will be turned down, and our “no talking during the film” rule will not be enforced. To accommodate any dietary needs and restrictions, individuals may bring their own snacks to enjoy during the film. The Colonial welcomes movie lovers of all ages and abilities. We hope you and your family will join us and enjoy the show!"
From the Kimmel Center press release: "The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts announces a broad range of sensory-friendly performances across its Campus throughout the 2018-19 season, with presentations from Broadway Philadelphia and three of the Center’s esteemed resident companies including Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and The Philly POPS.
Part of a Campus-wide commitment to present a diverse tapestry of programming to the Philadelphia community, the upcoming lineup of events furthers the mission of reaching broad and diverse audiences. ... In partnership with ArtReach, these presentations embrace individuals with sensory sensitivities, communication differences, and those with autism spectrum disorders by creating a safe and inclusive environment.
Theater adjustments include modified sound and house lights and designated quiet areas, as well as relaxed house rules, allowing individuals permission to move around during the performance. Talking and reacting among guests is unrestricted, and outside sensory-friendly stress relief devices are welcome. Sensory-friendly kits are available regularly to all guests on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus and can be reserved on a first come, first serve basis by contacting Patron Services at 215-893-1999. Kits are equipped with noise-cancelling headphones, weighted bean bags, and fidget toys."
Click the link above for performance and locations around Philadelphia or call 215-893-1999.
From their website: "Crayola Experience is proud to offer an exclusive night for families and guests with special needs. Enjoy a fun, creative,night filled with 25 hands-on attractions in a quiet environment (so no music!) Our staff will be there to take care of all needs so your night will be relaxing and fun!
For information and to reserve your tickets, call 610-515-8000 (Press 4) or email: email@example.com 1:1 ratio for guests who need special assistance. Advance purchase required for admission."
From the zoo's website: "In May of 2018 Elmwood Park Zoo became the first zoo in the world to earn certification as a Certified Autism Center. The designation, given by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), is awarded to organizations who have completed a training and review process with the goal to better serve individuals with autism and other sensory needs." You can find a list of their accessibility services here -
They also hold early morning access and other sensory sensitive events throughout the year. You can check their calendar here to see what is coming soon.
Elmwood Park Zoo
1661 Harding Blvd
Norristown, PA 19401
Elmwood Park Zoo
Sensory Story Time
Music and movement, stories, and sensory activities!
Held annually in Philadelphia. From their Facebook post: "Join Councilman Derek Green and Jaden's Voice for a FREE, fun-filled afternoon for kids and their families just ahead of the new school year! Enjoy free play, free food, and entertainment for the entire family."
There isn't a link or posting on the playground's website for this event, so we will be sure to update the link on our page.
The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh offers tools such as weighted vests, noise blocking headphones and social stories for general visits to the museum as well as specially designated days and times called Sensory Friendly Afternoons for children on the spectrum.
Millersville University Visual and Performing Arts offers a variety of accessible performances (ASL, audio description, open captioning, sensory friendly) during the academic year.
Additionally, they offer social stories customized to each performance. You can contact them at the beginning the semester to see what new awesomeness is slated for that term. The primary contact for tickets and information is Mr. Barry Kornhauser - Barry.Kornhauser@millersville.edu.
From the theater: "Experience the joy of live dance in a supportive theater setting. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to offer sensory-friendly performances for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other special needs.
We have produced sensory-friendly performances since 2013; PBT was the first professional ballet company in the country to present a sensory-friendly performance of The Nutcracker. Other ballets in our sensory-friendly repertoire are Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan and Lew Christensen’s Beauty and the Beast."
From their website: Many family entertainment facilities are loud, crowded, and stressful for sensory-sensitive kids. Fun Slides Skating Center is committed to creating a fun,stress-free environment where kids with autism and other disabilities can play at their own pace. Thats why we are committed to making the opportunity for spectrum kids to have a chance to hit the park and have fun at a Sensory-Friendly Skate. Sensory-Friendly Skates give sensory-sensitive children a chance to hit the park and have fun! They can skate, jump, and play without worrying about unexpected noises, loud music, bright or flashing lights, or large crowds of kids. April is National Autism Awareness Month, and we’re excited to do our part to help sensory-sensitive kids in Pittsburgh.
Autism-Friendly Skating at Fun Slides: Parents and teachers have been successful using carpet skates to help special needs kids. Carpet skates are excellent for helping kids rehabilitate after injuries, teaching kids fine motor skills, and providing fun play for sensory-sensitive children. Carpet skates are available to purchase for use at home, or you can bring your kids into our skatepark during one of our low-stimulation skate events. The benefits of carpet skating include:
Increased stability, balance, coordination, and motor skills
Improvements in behavior when used as a classroom incentive
Increase in hand coordination as kids learn to strap them over their shoes
Increased muscle tone, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and general fitness levels
Increased eye contact
Increased trunk rotation in typically rigid individuals
Carpet skating lets kids exercise, play, and socialize on their own terms. Fun Slides has partnered with Autism Village to provide the support sensory-sensitive kids need while they’re here. If you are interested in having your special needs group at Fun Slides, please call and book your private group event today.
From the website: NMAJH Family program provides nurturing environment for social interaction, collaboration and sharing among family members. Families may participate in interactive guided tours or self-guided activity, enjoy story and play time, and find creative expression in arts and craft activities designed to create meaningful connections to the exhibition. An open door for all, NMAJH brings to life the stories of Jews in America and invites families to share their own.
We strive to ensure that the opportunity to learn from our collection is available to all; therefore, we offer tours that are customized to the visitors’ level of comfort and ability, both physical and cognitive. Experienced docents are available to facilitate these tours and activities. We will work with you to adjust our tours and activities to your family needs.
Workshops and tours for families with children with special needs are available upon request and by advanced reservation. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-923-3811 ext. 153
From the theatre: PROGRAM NEED, GOALS, AND SUCCESS Parents of young people with a sensory need can be reluctant to attend live theatre. Dedicated to inclusion, Fulton Theatre invites families with a child with a sensory need or other social, cognitive and physical challenges to participate in our Sensory Friendly Program at any Family Saturday Morning Series.
We provide supports and resources for young people with a special need at all of our Family Series Productions. See the list of resources below.
Fulton Theatre welcomes every child to attend the Family Series and recognizes that all children are developing their appropriate theatre engagement skills. All patrons of the Family Series sometimes talk during the performance, and/or must exit to the lobby when the child is disturbed by action on stage. Some youth may only be able to sit for 10-minutes of the production, while others will sit attentively for the full 60-minute performance. Fulton Theatre remains open and flexible to the length of time each child is able to sit with focus and attention, and invites all children to engage in their current level of abilities.
We recognize that youth on the autism spectrum sometimes pace when they feel bored, uncomfortable and excited. We also understand that as they pace the child is simultaneously processing information! To accommodate these various abilities, the Fulton will make a television monitor available in the lobby for children requiring a mid-program break.
Social stories and other resources will be made available to program participants through Fulton’s website, with follow-up instruction and support provided upon request the week the family attends a Family Series Production.
Check the website above for performance dates, times, and additional accomodations.
From their website: "Unwrap your Chocolate Adventure at our first Sensory Friendly Night! Experience the Free Tour Ride with reduced audio, caregiver companion pass for Create Your Own Candy Bar, and 4D show modified into three levels for sensory sensitivities. Enjoy the new Flavors of Fall menu or picnic in the food court and take advantage of one-night-only retail discounts. Find the character room for a family photo and leave with a sweet memory!"
Children on the autism spectrum and their families are invited to experience the museum before the crowds. You can visit with the dinosaurs, explore our children’s discovery center Outside In, see our special Xtreme Bugs exhibit and wander through the dioramas at your own pace. Don’t forget, it’s also Totally Turtles Weekend and families are welcome to take part in all the turtle coolness before the crowds. Museum Stories (images and descriptions of our exhibits) are available to provide you and your children with visual and written information about your upcoming visit to the museum.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Visit the link above to find sensory-friendly events, as well as materials and social stories designed to help your family enjoy the museum.
One of the recurring events, called Sensory-Friendly Saturday is described this way: "Experience and create art in new ways using your five senses! Enjoy a variety of creative activities throughout the Museum during this accessible program. Created in conjunction with occupational therapists and local families specifically for visitors on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorder and their families, this inclusive program strives to provide a welcoming experience through offering:
Pre-visit social stories
Activities to meet a variety of sensory needs
Hands-on art activities for all developmental levels
Sensory break areas
On-hand support of skilled and friendly volunteers which include occupational therapy graduate students and faculty
Fidgets and noise-cancelling headphones to borrow
This program welcomes participants of all ages and their families (siblings welcome!)."
Join us for a Sensory Storytime geared toward children on the autism spectrum and their families. We will read picture books, sing songs, and do fun movement activities. Stay after to play with manipulatives and socialize.
2987 Almond Street
Philadelphia, PA 19134-4955
(Indiana Ave. & Almond St.)
Please join us for Play Without Boundaries, a program and early opening for kids with learning and developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. The PWB early openings provide an opportunity for families to enjoy the museum before it is open to the public without the crowds and loud noises. The Museum will be calmer and quieter with fewer people, lower lighting and less noise. During this event we offer:
Quiet Kit sensory toys
Access to Museum exhibit spaces
Program Room art activities
Please Touch Museum
4231 Avenue of the Republic
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Sensory Bounce is a program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), and other disabilities with a sensory component, and their families. Bouncing is a fun, play-based activity in a sensory-rich environment. At Sensory Bounce, children can get a fun-filled workout, bounce, and socialize with other families in a supportive environment. We turn the music off for this event.
***Bounce U in Exton is no longer holding scheduled monthly sensory bounce sessions but they do have groups that regularly meet up for special bounce sessions. Please contact Bounce U directly for details.***
The Franklin Institute can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. It can be crowded, loud, and bright. That’s why we are pleased to offer Sensory-Friendly Sunday. It is our goal to make Sensory-Friendly Sunday a comfortable environment for kids and adults with a variety of sensory differences. On Sensory-Friendly Sunday, our exhibits will be modified to provide an opportunity to experience all The Franklin Institute has to offer for people on the autism spectrum and with a range of differing abilities. Our trained staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions you have and, if necessary, direct you to a quiet space that provides a chance to cool down and take a break. Complimentary admission is available for pre-registered guests, as well as for guests arriving between 8:00am and 9:30am. Pre-registration closes at 5:00pm on the Thursday before the event.
The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Relaxed performances are designed to provide a concert experience that is welcoming, inclusive, and comfortable for children and families with sensory sensitivities, as well as anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.