Sensory-Friendly Activities in

Minnesota

Northrup, University of Minnesota

Sensory-Friendly Matinee: Pilobolus Rules @ Play

A sensory-friendly show created by one of the world’s most creative dance companies. We usually view rules negatively, but Rules @ Play explores how rules actually provide opportunities to solve problems and overcome challenges. They spark creativity, and in this case, give Pilobolus tools to make dances. Fun, engaging and accessible with lowered sound, raised lights, and a relaxed atmosphere, the dancers perform and analyze some of the company's pieces through movement and discussion on and off stage, showcasing the benefit of playing by the rules.


Sensory Friendly Performance  This special event provides attendees the opportunity to enjoy live performance in a welcoming and supportive environment that accommodates specific needs and includes:


  • Lower sound levels, especially for startling or loud sounds 

  • House lights on at a low level throughout the performance 

  • Accommodation for vocalizing and movement in the theater

  • Trained volunteers on site during the entire performance 

  • Access to Live Captioning

  • Access to a Sensory Friendly Lounge equipped with a variety of sensory supports and staffed by trained volunteers , available to all guests who are seeking a safe and soothing atmosphere during this and other select performances

  • Audience members are welcome to bring their own manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects and extra support items to the show

  • Attendees may select their own seats, but if special assistance or a buffer seat is needed, please contact the Box Office at 612-624-2345. Thank you to our community partner, AuSM


Northrop

University of Minnesota

84 Church St SE

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

612-624-2345

Minnesota Orchestra

Relaxed Family & Sensory-Friendly Concerts (all ages)

Experience inclusive Orchestra  concerts that spark curiosity and joy! At our Relaxed Family and  Sensory-Friendly Concerts, audiences of all ages and abilities,  including individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory  sensitivities, are welcome to come be who they are while enjoying music  together with family and friends in a relaxed environment.

Sensory-Friendly  Concerts feature individual musicians or small ensembles in the Target  Atrium at Orchestra Hall. Relaxed Family Concerts feature the full  Orchestra in the main auditorium, plus a variety of pre/post-concert  activities in the Orchestra Hall lobby.


Going to Orchestra Hall Pre-concert Story


Minnesota Orchestral Association
1111 Nicollet Mall

Minneapolis, MN 55403
612-371-5600

Bell Museum

Sensory Friendly Visits

The  quietest time to visit the museum is late afternoon, when we have fewer visitors and our space is generally uncrowded. 


Visitors are welcome to check out additional resources like our quiet  spaces. You can borrow a sensory pack with tools such as visual timers,  weighted lap pads, and hearing protection if it helps make the visit  more enjoyable, and a social narrative is available for download to prepare for your visit. (Note, this is  currently not accurate with COVID-19 procedures. Check out this general social narrative from the Autism Society of Minnesota). Read more about the museum’s other accessibility resources here.


Bell Museum

2088 Larpenteur Ave W
St Paul, MN 55113
612-626-9660

Minnesota Zoo

MNZoo4All App

Prepare for your visit with the free MNZoo4All app. Designed to  support those with autism and sensory-processing disorders in mind, the  app also helps make the Minnesota Zoo more accessible to all guests.  Social guides presented in multiple formats explain the Zoo experience  to set expectations and ease anxiety. Visual schedules that allow guests  to design the Zoo visit that best meets their needs. The app also  includes communication tools, sensory-friendly maps, tips to plan your  visit, and more.


Click on the links below to download the app:

App Store for iOS Devices

Google Play for Android Devices


Minnesota Zoo

13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.431.9200

Science Museum of Minnesota

Sensory Friendly Resources

We  have a variety of tools available to help our visitors with sensory  issues have a fun and fulfilling visit. At the exhibit entrance, ask our  staff for sound-dampening headphones, a timer, or a kit containing  headphones, fidgets, gloves, and sunglasses.


Quiet spaces: The back hallway of the RACE exhibit on level four (near the all-gender and family restrooms) has  seating and is quieter and away from the gallery floor. Restrooms and  drinking fountains are located nearby. There is also quiet seating on  level three in the hallway behind the Experiment Gallery (past the brown  bear).


Sensory-Friendly Resources


Science Museum of Minnesota

120 W. Kellogg Blvd.

Saint Paul, MN 55102

651-221-9444

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

612-874-0400

Cheap Skate

Sensory Friendly Nights

We are excited to announce a proud partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota in creating a night a of family fun with a sensory friendly atmosphere  every first Tuesday evening of each month from 6 pm to 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. Mark you calendars, and check our Facebook Events Page for more details.


Cheap Skate

3075 Coon Rapids Blvd.

Coon Rapids, MN 55433

763-427-8980

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

RockonMusic School

RockonMusic Lessons

Use the positive power of music to learn to play  instruments, sing and create. Each one-on-one session is tailored to the  individual's skills and motivations. I specialize in those impacted by  autism or other disabilities. Live Westchester & Putnam Counties, NY  and on Zoom, anywhere....since 2016.


RockonMusicSchool

914-489-0520

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

734-660-7136

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

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.

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.

iFly

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.