Sensory-Friendly Activities in

California

Autism Accessibility Mornings

From the science center: "Autism Accessibility Mornings at the Fleet The third Saturday of every month, early access to galleries 9-10 a.m. IMAX showing at 10 a.m.

 

The Fleet invites the Autism Spectrum Community to enjoy our museum through this special opportunity. Adults and families with children with autism can enjoy the Fleet's exhibit galleries in a quieter setting, an hour before regular open hours to the general public and with access to a special cool-off space. Visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the museum all day. Admission includes a special IMAX film screening at 10 a.m. with the house lights on and a lower soundtrack volume. Regular admission rates apply.

 

The Fleet Science Center strives to be an inclusive place where people of all needs and abilities are welcome and accommodated with respect every day. We believe science is for everyone! Tickets have been generously donated by Fleet Science Center employees and volunteers. Quantities are limited. Please inquire in person on program dates for availability."

The Fleet Science Center

1875 El Prado

San Diego, CA 92101

619-238-1233

The Fleet Science Center

Sensory Friendly Storytime

From the library: This interactive program is designed for children ages 8 and younger who have a difficult time in large groups, are on the autism spectrum, have sensory processing challenges, or other special needs. For additional information or to sign up for this month's program, please contact Althea Kent.

Sensory Friendly Storytime takes place at multiple libraries. Please check the linked calendar for dates, times and locations or call the number below.

707-253-4079

Napa County Library

Sensory Friendly Performances

From the Center for the Arts: Sensory Friendly Means Arts Access for All To give everyone in our community the opportunity to experience the joy of attending a live performance, we now present a series of sensory-friendly performances as part of our Family Series. These shows are designed specifically for patrons with sensory sensitivity to enjoy with their families. What Sensory Friendly means: Reduction of sound levels, particularly loud or startling sounds. Reduction of overwhelming stage lighting. Low ambient lighting in the theater throughout the performance so patrons are able to see should they need to move around or exit the theater. Patrons can talk and move around the theater as much as they wish during the performance. Preparatory materials called Previsit Guides will be provided to patrons so they will know what to expect from the performance. Previsit Guides include pictures with simple captions of the theater going experience. The use of mobile electronic devices are allowed during the performance if they are being used as a communication device. Designated break spaces will be available for those who might feel overwhelmed and need a break from the performance.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

714-556-2787

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Sensory Friendly Afternoons

From the museum: The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County hosts FREE quarterly Sensory Friendly Afternoons to families of children with special needs, ages 0 - 12. These Tuesday afternoons are open to the public with children with special needs and are great times for children and families to play with our hands-on exhibits, explore the Art Studio, and enjoy family time in a safe, accessible and fun environment.

Children's Museum of Sonoma County

1835 W. Steele Lane

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

707-546-4069

Children's Museum of Sonoma County

Autism Families Night

From the aquarium: Join us for a special evening at the Aquarium exclusively for families with adults or children with autism. The entire Aquarium, except Lorikeet Forest, will be open until 9:00 p.m. This will be an evening when guests can enjoy the tranquility of our exhibits and meet 11,000 animals from the world’s largest ocean. Admission is just $7 per person. Members and children under 3 are free. The Aquarium closes to the public at 6:00 p.m.

Check the website above for dates.

Aquarium of the Pacific

100 Aquarium Way

Long Beach, CA 90802

562-590-3100, ext. 0

Aquarium of the Pacific

Open Door Days

From the museum: Open Door Days provide exclusive access to the museum for special needs families 8 mornings per year. They operate during prime time (often school holidays), are free of charge, restrict capacity and make sensory modifications to provide a gentler sensory environment, while allowing families to play together in an understanding community at a low-pressure event. In addition, our staff are trained in strategies and techniques that create a warm and welcoming environment for all families. To find out more about Open Door Days, or to book your next Open Door Day visit, please contact Dominic at 323-761-8910 or dominic@sharewell.org.

Sharewell Zimmer's Children's Museum

6505 Wilshire Blvd., #100

Los Angeles, CA 90048

323-761-8984

Sharewell Zimmer Children's Museum

Sensory Friendly Hours at the Tech

From the museum: "Sensory Friendly Hours are a time for families to enjoy a quieter, less-crowded visit to The Tech at a discounted rate. This opportunity may be appealing to parents of children who have mobility challenges, struggle to communicate or become easily overwhelmed by stimuli. During these hours, The Tech will offer:

  • A smaller crowd capacity.

  • Lower audio volume on exhibits.

  • Well-lit areas in all galleries.

  • Quiet rooms with calm-down kits.

  • IMAX film played at lower volume.

  • 11 a.m. showtime; first come, first served.

  • Welcoming and well-trained staff members.

 

Guests are welcome to stay beyond noon; however, at that time the museum will open to the general public and some accommodations will no longer be available.

 

Tickets for Sensory Friendly Hours may be purchased in advance or at the door. Membership benefits apply; please call Group Reservations for tickets at 408-294-8324, option 3."

The Tech Museum of Innovation

201 South Market Street

San Jose, CA 95113

408-294-8324, option 3

The Tech Museum of Innovation

Accessibility

The California Academy of Sciences doesn't offer specific sensory friendly events however, it has made an effort to make the experience accommodating for families with special needs. The Academy is a busy and bustling place, full of a variety of sights, sounds, and smells.

 

The following tips and resources are designed to help guests of all ages with a variety of autism spectrum disorders or sensory sensitivities feel safe, comfortable, and welcome at the Academy.

 

  • Visit in the afternoon: 1–2 hours before closing is usually when the Academy is quietest, especially in fall and winter. We're typically busier with school groups until 2 pm on weekdays, especially in the spring.

  • Be thoughtful of transitions: Moving between exhibits can be difficult for children with sensory needs. Please be aware that there are noise, temperature and lighting changes when going from the main floor to the aquarium, rainforest to the aquarium, or planetarium to the Naturalist Center.

  • Get comfortable in advance: Review our developmentally appropriate​ Exhibit Guides to familiarize your child with the Academy before your visit.

  • Take frequent breaks: Take advantage of the Academy's in-and-out privileges by getting your hand stamped as you exit. You can step out and enjoy Golden Gate Park and re-enter the same day as often as you like.

  • Check out a Sensory Kit: The Academy now offers sensory kits to any visitor in need of extra sensory support during their visit. Kits include sensory-friendly backpacks, adjustable earmuffs, a pair of sunglasses, and an assortment of tactile and fidget toys. Additional items for specific sensory needs are available upon request. Available for checkout on a first-come, first-served basis at coat check.

  • Curate your visit with our new Sensory Guide: Our interactive visitor map now features a Sensory Guide, which rates each area of the museum on the strength of four kinds of stimuli: noise, visual, touch, and smell. Have questions about other areas of the museum? Feel free to contact us before your visit or ask any Guest Experience team member during your time at the museum.

  • Consider a Community Value membership: Interested in visiting the museum often during quieter, less crowded times? A Community Value membership offers unlimited admission for families during lower volume periods on 230+ days a year.

California Academy of Science

Golden Gate Park

55 Music Concourse Dr,

San Francisco, CA 94118

415-379-8000

California Academy of Sciences

Sensory-Friendly Museum Mornings

An early morning geared for families with children on the spectrum or with sensory sensitivities. This early morning event is a welcoming, comfortable environment for your child and family to enjoy the Museum in a quiet and accepting setting. We encourage families to make connections and share resources.

San Diego Children's Discovery Museum

320 North Broadway

Escondido, California 92025

760-233-7755

San Diego Children's Discovery Museum

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

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.

Alamo Theatre

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.

We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym

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!

Autism Eats

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.

Cobb Theatres

REEL MOVIES FOR Real Needs

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.

Marcus Theaters

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.

Urban Air Adventure Park

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.

Studio Movie Grill

My Way Matinee

Sensory friendly movie screenings with sounds lower, lights brighter.

​Check the link above for dates and locations.

Regal Cinemas

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.

AMC Theaters

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.

Major Airports

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.

Sky Zone

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.

Chuck E. Cheese

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.

iFly