AUTISM-FRIENDLY FAMILY FUN

1 Gym 4 All

Address: 10 Franklin Turnpike, Waldwick, N.J

Phone: 201-857-0922

All children can participate in the fun at this family-owned gymnastics facility in Bergen County run by Kim Casey, a 20-year veteran special needs educator, and her family. Sensory equipment incorporated into the gym gives all kids the ability to reach their full potential emotionally, socially and physically in a comfortable, safe environment. The gym offers open play as well as birthday parties, classes and support groups.

Academy of Natural Sciences

Address: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-299-1000

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University provides families of children with autism the opportunity to experience the museum in a secure and comfortable environment. The museum provides specific tools and tactics, such as museum stories, to help plan your visit. As you plan your visit to the museum, some of the best times to visit are the afternoons after 1:00 p.m., as the museum, is quieter for you and your family. The Academy also offers Access to Science events when the museum is open only for families with children on the spectrum. These are scheduled at different times each year. Preregistration is required (same-day registration is available onsite). If you would like to attend, please contact our visitor services department at 215-299-1060 or reservations@ansp.org. Please provide the following information: contact name, email, phone, the total number of attendees, number of children and their ages.

Adventure Aquarium  

Address: 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ

Phone: 844-474-3474

Adventure Aquarium has a special viewing area of the shark exhibit for patrons with autism. Patrons also can borrow sound-reducing headphones at no charge, and weighted blankets for a $10 refundable deposit. The aquarium is least crowded in late summer, fall and early winter. To avoid crowds from field trips and other groups, it’s best to visit before 11 a.m. on weekdays or after 2 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

AMC Theatres

Address: Multiple Locations

Phone: (888) 562-4262

Lights up, sound down, audience is free to move around!

AMC’s Sensory-Friendly Film Program screens movies for all ages on the second and fourth Saturday and for mature audiences on Tuesday nights. Participating locations include Clifton, Elizabeth, Freehold, Hamilton, Mountainside, New Brunswick, Wayne and West Orange, as well as five theaters in New York City and five in Philadelphia.

Allaire Community Farm

Address: 1923 Baileys Corner Road, Wall Township, NJ

Phone: (732) 796-3298

Though its rescued animals and working farm environment, Allaire Community Farm aims to “nurture through nature” special needs adults and children, teens facing mental health issues, veterans with PTSD and families battling cancer. Its programs, events and outreach utilize animal therapy, equine therapy, organic gardening and vocational training. The gardens and greenhouses help support families facing health or financial hardships, and all funds generated through the nonprofit farm are used to support the organization’s ongoing mission.

American Museum of Natural History

Address: 200 Central Park West, NewYork, NY

Phone: 212-769-5100

The American Museum of Natural History, in New York, runs The Discovery Squad from 9 to 10 a.m. on select Saturday mornings, offering 40-minute guided tours of museum highlights, as well as time to explore the Discovery Room before the museum opens to the public at 10 a.m. Families are welcome to stay after the tour and enjoy regular museum hours, too. Tours are geared toward ages 5 to 9 and 10 to 14.

Upcoming dates are Nov. 16 and Dec. 14. Dates in 2020 include Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and March 14. Tickets are free, but advance registration is required by calling 212-313-7565 or e-mailing accessibility@amnh.org.

Go:American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, Manhattan. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. daily. Cost: General admission is $23, or $13 for children ages 2 to 12, and $18 for seniors and students. Info: 212-769-5100 or amnh.org.

Autism Theatre Initiative

Address: 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 801, New York, NY

Phone: 212-912-9770

Broadway has led the way in autism-friendly performances. On Oct. 2, 2011, the Theatre Development Fund launched the Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) with the Disney musical “The Lion King.” It was the first autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show.

Many more have followed since, including performances of the current revival of “Cats.” For the latest autism-friendly dates, go to tdf.org. Theatre Development Fund also facilitates accessbile seating at Broadway shows, as well as services for patrons with visual or hearing impairments.

Battleship New Jersey

Address: 100 Clinton St, Camden, NJ 08103

Phone: 866-877-6262

Participates in a job training program, hires people with autism.

Bergen County Zoo

Address: 216 East Forest Ave., Paramus, NJ 07652

Phone: 201-634-3100

Autism Awareness Day will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 29 at the zoo, with free admission, free train and carousel rides, live animal demonstrations, and appearances by members of local service organizations.

Bounce U

Address: 70 Eisenhower Drive, Paramus, NJ 07652 / Multiple Locations

Phone: 201-843-5880

Bounce U – Paramus, NJ, Tuesdays 5pm – 6pm and 6pm – 7pm, and Sundays at 8:45am

Bowlero

Address: 1 Carolier Lane, North Brunswick / Multiple Locations

Phone: 732-846-2424

Bowlero offers many social clubs and bowling leagues, including two that are designed for ASD and other special needs.

Brandywine River Museum

Address: 1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Phone: 610-388-2700

Families with members on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders may check out a free pack to use during visits to Brandywine. Created in conjunction with occupational therapists and local families, these packs are designed to create a welcoming experience and contain social stories, fidgets, noise-canceling headphones, and activity suggestions. To request a pack, inquire at Visitor Services when purchasing admission. For additional information, contact Laura Westmoreland at lwestmoreland@brandywine.org or 610.388.8120.

Broadway

Address: 729 7th Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10019

Broadway has led the way in autism-friendly performances. On Oct. 2, 2011, the Theatre Development Fund launched the Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) with the Disney musical “The Lion King.” It was the first autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show. Many more have followed. For the latest autism-friendly dates, go to tdf.org. 

Go:theatreaccess.nyc

Cape May County Park and Zoo, Cape May Court House

Address: 707 Route 9 North, Cape May Court House, N.J. 08210

Phone: 609-465-5271

You might think an 85-acre zoo that is home to more than 550 animals representing 250 species would be a tall order, but this family friendly zoo happens to be a lovely place to take a walk on the mild side. Feel free to explore the leisurely atmosphere, lush country gardens and peaceful natural environment at whatever pace your exploring party finds most acceptable. Keep in mind your little explorers may also want to check out the large playground just outside the zoo gates. Amenities at the zoo include concessions stands, a gift shop and restroom facilities.

Located just off the Parkway’s exit 11, the zoo is open 364 days a year. While the nonprofit county zoo does not charge admission, donations are appreciated and keep the zoo running. Visit online to find planning resources and an “Adopt an Animal” platform whereby patrons can support the zoo and get a fuzzy stuffed animal to bring along on their next visit.

Chuck E. Cheese

Address: Multiple Locations

Phone: 888-778-7193

Chuck E. Cheese locations open two hours early on the first Sunday of every month for “Sensory Sundays,” with reduced lighting and noise, food, games and a trained staff. The program began in 2016.

Participating New Jersey locations include Brick, Bridgewater, Cherry Hill, Deptford, East Hanover, Edison, Jersey City, Mays Landing, Paramus, Union, Wayne and West Windsor.

Count Basie Center for the Arts

Address: 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Phone: 732-224-8778

The latest lineup of autistic-friendly performances includes the following shows, all at 4 p.m.: “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site: The Musical” on April 12, the New Orleans Mardi Gras-style jazz band Jazzy Ash & The Leaping Lizards on April 23, and the Enchantment Theatre Company’s production of  “My Father’s Dragon” on May 3. – www.thebasie.org

Crayola Experience

Address: 30 Centre Square, Easton, PA 18042

Phone: 610-515-8000

Hosts sensory friendly days. Try using the code “IEP” to get a discount on your tickets.

Diggerland USA

Address: 100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091

Phone: 856-768-1110

The construction site-themed amusement park offers judgment-free Special Abilities Nights several times a year. Info: 856-768-1110 or diggerlandusa.com.

Dorney Park

Address: 4000 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, PA 18104

Phone: 610-395-3724

In conjunction with ASA, offers discounted tickets and special features for park guests with autism.

Flight Fit N Fun

Address: 1850 Lakeland Avenue, Ronkonkoma, NY / Multiple Locations

Phone: 631-619-6000

Sensory Friendly Jump. The first and third Sunday of every month from 9-10am. 

Fit N Fun Sewell Website 

Elmwood Park Zoo

Address: 1661 Harding Blvd, Norristown, PA 19401

Phone: 800-652-4143

First zoo to earn autism certification.

Extreme Kids & Crew

Address: 185 Van Dyke Street, Suite 205, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Phone: 347-410-6050

Extreme Kids & Crew is a welcoming space where young people with disabilities, their friends, and their families, socialize, create, and play. We are striving to become the NYC community hub for young

people with disabilities and their crews by expanding equitable opportunities regardless of disability, race, ethnicity, income inequality, or gender identity. Extreme Kids & Crew seeks to show

people that disability is not to be feared, pitied or mindlessly exalted, but understood to be an inherent part of life. We will achieve this by establishing and maintaining creative community centers for the disability community.

Franklin Institute

Address: 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone: 215-448-1200

Sensory-Friendly Sundays run from 8 a.m. to noon. Exhibits are modified, with trained staff and volunteers on hand, and a quiet space is available.

Free admission is available for pre-registered guests, as well as for guests arriving between 8 and 9:30 a.m. Free admission is offered for up to six people per group. Pre-registration closes at 5 p.m. on the Friday before the event. Regular museum admission applies after 9:30 a.m. unless pre-registered.

On all days, sensory backpacks can be borrowed from the Information Desk. These contain sensory guide alerts, noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses and fidgets.

The Franklin Institute is least crowded on weekday afternoons and weekends. Weekday mornings during the summer are usually prime time for field trips. The museum recommends visiting quieter exhibits, such as “Amazing Machine” and “Space.”

The Franklin Institute offers a “try again” rain check if the visit doesn’t work out in your first half hour.

Info: 215-448-1200 or fi.edu.

FreeFall Trampoline Park

Address: 2800 Baglyos Circle, Bethlehem, PA 18020

Phone: 610-849-0373

On the first and third Tuesday of every month, this indoor trampoline park in Bethlehem presents Special Needs Night. From 5 to 7 p.m., special needs jumpers and their families/caretakers can bounce for a discounted price. (freefalltrampolinepark.com)

Garden State Discovery Museum

Address: 2040 Springdale Rd #100 in Cherry Hill NJ

The Garden State Discovery Museum invites families with children on the autism spectrum to come and socialize in a safe, interactive environment at their special Open Arms Family Nights, which take place four times a year. www.discoverymuseum.com

Heart of Surfing

Address: 301 Dorchester Drive, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234

Phone: 609-705-5323

A cool opportunity (and story!) for South Jersey Residents, the heart of surfing is a non-profit organization that teaches kids with special needs how to surf, roller skate, engage in fitness, yoga, arts and crafts and more. The organization started five years ago with just a few participating families. Today, it’s much bigger and still growing!

iFly

Address: 211 Route 4, Paramus, NJ 07652

Phone: 201-733-4359

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.

The Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum

Address: Pier 86, West 46th Street & 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10036

Phone: 212-245-0072

The Intrepid welcomes guests of all abilities aboard the aircraft carrier. Patrons can make use of the museum’s sensory bags, which include noise-reduction headphones and fidget toys, as well as social narratives and other guides geared toward special needs. Lightweight stools can be borrowed for easy seating throughout the museum. Specialized programming and tours are also available. 

Build Jake’s Place Playgrounds

Address: 101 Bortons Mill Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034 & 12 Hartford Road, Delran, NJ 08075

Phone: 856-662-4418

Known for having “playgrounds for everybody,” Jake’s Place play areas are barrier-free, which means kids in wheelchairs and other assistive devices can play alongside their peers with ease. Even parents and grandparents with a disability can join the fun with their kids and grandkids. The socially inviting space’s cushioned, synthetic surfaces and wide ramps accommodate wheelchairs and assistive devices, and there’s a wheelchair-accessible glider and swings with molded bucket seats. You’ll find bridges, balance beams, stepping circles, rock walls, climber equipment as well as various freestanding play areas, sensory tactile activities and specialized areas for people with autism. There’s also a fence around the perimeter for safety.

The first Jake’s Place was built in Camden County’s Challenger Park to honor Jacob Miles Cummings-Nasto, who had a rare cardiac condition that kept him from enjoying some aspects of a traditional playground. The award-winning play space stands in honor of “Baby Jake” and the belief that every child deserves a chance to play, regardless of physical limitations. In 2019, a Jake’s Place was completed in Delran.

Julie’s Jungle Playground

Address: 5 Old Lime Kiln Road, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533

Phone: 845-226-8395

Julie’s Jungle is the first fully accessible playground built in Dutchess County, NY. It was built for children of all abilities to play and learn together.

Kean Stage

Address: Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 07083

Phone: 908-737-7469

Kean Stage offers sensory-friendly shows in its regular season. Info: 908-737-7469 or keanstage.com.

Kimmel Center

Address: 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Phone: 215-893-1999

The Kimmel Center offers sensory-friendly programming, as well as ASL interpretation, at venues throughout its campus.

The Kimmel Center partners with Art-Reach, a Philadelphia-based organization that creates access to the arts for people with disabilities or who live on a low income. The Temple University Occupational Therapy Program, a partner of Art-Reach, created pre-visit materials for sensory-friendly shows.

Theater adjustments include modified sound and house lights and designated quiet areas, as well as relaxed house rules, allowing patrons to move around, talk and react as they wish during the performance. Patrons are welcome to bring their own stress relief devices, or they can borrow sensory-friendly kits, donated by TD Bank, with noise-canceling headphones, weighted bean bags and fidget toys. The kits are available for children and adults. To reserve a kit, call Ticket Philadelphia at 215-875-7633 (TTY) or 215-893-1999.  Info: 215-790-5800 or kimmelcenter.org. 

Knoebels

Address: 391 Knoebels Blvd, Route 487, Elysburg, PA 17824

Phone: 800-487-4386

Hosts an autism day and a Deaf Day. 

Lehigh Valley Mall

Address: 250 Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall, PA 18052

Phone: 610-264-5511

The holidays can go a bit smoother with visits to the Caring Bunny or Caring Santa. On special calendar days, the Lehigh Valley Mall is open two hours early for visits that are fun and sensory friendly. These private events are perfect for families with special needs. (simon.com/mall/lehigh-valley-mall)

Liberty Science Center

Address: Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305

Phone: 201-200-1000

Liberty Science Center offers sensory maps and social narratives to facilitate visits by patrons with ASD. On Special Needs Days, the museum offers live science presentations, activities and theater shows tailored to people with ASD and other special needs. The next Special Needs Day is Dec. 3. Pre-registration is required. Info: 201-253-1310 or lsc.org.

Mayo Performing Arts Center

Address: 10 0South St., Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-539-8008

Sensory-friendly performances offer lights up, modified sound, a quiet room, and the ability to get out of your seat so children with autism and special needs can share in these family experiences. Info: 973-539-8008 or mayoarts.org.

McCarter Theatre

Address: 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ

Phone: 609-258-2787

McCarter Theatre offers relaxed, sensory-friendly performances for individuals with autism, learning differences, or other sensory and communication needs so that they and their families may enjoy live performances together. These relaxed performances are open to all who are ready to embrace this fully-inclusive, judgement-free experience. Relaxed Performances are a “shush-free” zone where performers, audience members, and staff expect a certain level of noise and movement in the audience. www.mccarter.org

Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Address: 1000 Fifth Ave. at East 82nd St., New York, NY

Phone: 212-535-7710

The Met offers visitors a sensory map, highlighting which areas of the museum have natural or subdued light, which areas tend to be quiet or noisy, crowded or uncrowded. Info: 212-535-7710 or metmuseum.org. 

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

Address: 75 North Water Street, Poughkeepsie, NY

Phone: 845-471-0589

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum aims to support families that have young children with autism by providing extra support aids, offering special assistance and periodically offering special museum hours for low-stimulation exploration. They provide visual and auditory support (“Social Stories”, flip book exhibit guides, communication cue cards, sunglasses, and noise – cancelling headphones) and have identified special “quiet spaces” within the Museum to support the specific needs of children with autism and other sensory integration challenges.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

Address: 2400 Chew Street, Allentown, PA

Phone: 484-664-3100

This summer, Allentown’s Muhlenberg College will once again present their Summer Music Theatre. The staff will dedicate a sensory friendly afternoon to a performance from the children’s theatre series. (muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/theatre-dance/smt)

National Constitution Center

Address: Independence Mall, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-409-6600

 Sensory-Friendly Sunday dates for 2019 include March 24, June 23, August 25, and December 8. The National Constitution Center is committed to making its facilities, exhibits, programs, and resources accessible for all audiences. In addition to Sensory-Friendly Sundays, the Center offers assistive listening systems, sign language interpretation, large print scripts and braille, wheelchair accessibility, and other adaptions and modifications. Additional information about the Center’s accessibility policy can be found here.

Paper Mill Playhouse

Address: 22 Brookside Dr., Millburn, NJ

Phone: 973-376-4343

 A leader in autism-friendly theater. 

The Pennsylvania Ballet

Address: The Louise Reed Center for Dance, 323 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-587-6942

The Pennsylvania Ballet hosts sensory-friendly performances at low cost to attendees. Tickets required.

Please Touch Museum

Address: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-581-3181

The Please Touch Museum is a dream come true for the curious kid. The name of the game is learning through play, and the museum provides opportunities for children to do so at their own pace. For parents of children with special needs, it isn’t hard to find the museum’s dedicated quiet spaces. Staff members are trained to work with kids with any number of special considerations, and noise reducing headphones are always on hand. In addition to the museum’s attention to varied learning styles, four Sundays every year “Play Without Boundaries” serves children on the autism spectrum by offering “a modified, sensory-friendly, all-access museum experience augmented with Floreo virtual reality, therapy animals and visits from community health experts.” Info: (215) 581-3181.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-763-8100

Sensory-Friendly Mornings. These mornings are specially designed for children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory sensitivities. The lights, volume, and crowds are turned down but not the fun or creativity. Space is limited. To reserve your spot, email AccessProg@philamuseum.org

Philadelphia Orchestra

Address: 1 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-893-1900

“Our aim is to create a safe and accepting environment where children, including those on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities, and their families can experience live music together.” Tickets required.

“We’re HEAR week” 

The first one was held in September of 2017. A week-long series of events that will kick off a season of service in support of the Orchestra’s HEAR initiative, a portfolio of programs that promotes Health, champions music Education, enables broad Access to Orchestra performances, and maximizes impact through Research.

POAC Events

Address: 1989 Route 88, Brick, NJ

Phone: 732-785-1099

POAC Autism services networks with a vast number of supporters to throw (literally) hundreds of free events every year. The organization’s events include, “free training and education for parents and educators; free recreational and support services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families; and free training for police and first responders which is saving the lives of children with autism throughout the state.”

In addition to all this, the non-profit also advocates for legislation supporting individuals with autism.

More Details:
Locations: Throughout NJ
Time: Various
Number: 732-785-1099
Website: POAC events 

Queens Museum

Address: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY

Phone: 718-592-9700

Offers Drop-in Family Art Workshops for children with special needs, diverse learners, and those on the autism spectrum. Led by art therapists. Third Sunday of each month. Free with museum admission, 718.592.9700.

Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium

Address: 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, NJ

Phone: 908-231-8805

Sensory-friendly, judgment-free program includes music, laser lights, stories and information about the planets, the moon and constellations. Content is presented on a kindergarten level. Doors are left open so kids can come and go. Lights are dimmed and sound is lowered and kept at a consistent level. Info: 908-526-1200 or raritanval.edu.

Raritan Valley Community College Theatre

Address: 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg NJ

Phone: 908-725-3420

The Raritan Valley Community College Theatre offers sensory-friendly performances that are designed especially for children with autism or related conditions who experience heightened sensory sensitivity, providing a safe and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all families. Info:  www.rvccarts.org

Red Bulls Soccer

Address: Red Bull Arena, 600 Cape May St., Harrison, NJ

Phone: 973-268-8420

In 2017, the New York Red Bulls became the first Major League Soccer team to establish a “Permanent Sensory Room” as a place for patrons with autism to take a break from the stimulating, high-energy atmosphere of a professional soccer match.

The Red Bulls transformed executive office space at the arena, located in Harrison, New Jersey, into a soothing area with dimmed lighting and lightly-colored walls. Visual aids, fidget toys, and sensory sacks filled with headphones, stress balls and other coping tools are available for families to use.

The Red Bulls also host an Autism Awareness Night during the season.

Families who would like access to the Permanent Sensory Room can do so at no extra charge, via Guest Services. Info: 877-727-6223 or newyorkredbulls.com.

Regal Cinemas – My Way Matinee

Address: Multiple Locations

Sensory friendly movie screenings with sounds lower, lights brighter. Check the link above for dates and locations.

Roxey Ballet

Address: 243 North Union Street, Lambertville, NJ

Phone: 609-397-7616

The Roxey Ballet is offers relaxed, sensory-friendly performances for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other sensitivity issues or special needs. These performances feature lower sound levels, elimination of potentially startling special effects and lighting, and house lights on at about 50%. Additional accomodations include relaxed house rules, allowed use of iPads and other electronics, volunteers available for assistance (if needed), quiet areas and activity areas in the lobby, and certified staff, ushers, and volunteers from a wide variety of autism service agencies, schools, and organizations. 

Info: www.roxeyballet.org

Sahara Sam’s

Address: 535 Route 73, West Berlin, NJ

Phone: 856-767-7580

Sesame Place

Address: 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA

Phone: 215-702-3566

In 2018, Sesame Place became the first theme park in the world to become a Certified Autism Center, as designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

What that means for families is that guests with autism can now be assured of trained staff, ride accessibility, quiet rooms and low-sensory areas and access to noise-canceling headphones. Assistance is available for autism-friendly dining options and parade-viewing. Julia, the character with autism on “Sesame Street,” also will be at the park, greeting children. Info: 215-702-3566 or sesameplace.com

Sky Zone

Address: Multiple Locations

Music is turned off and distractions are minimized during sensory-friendly hours at Sky Zone trampoline parks. SkyZone locations in Allenwood, Lakewood, Mount Olive, Pine Brook, South Plainfield and Springfield have offered sensory-sensitive hours. Check website for updates and details. Info: skyzone.com

Sloomoo Institute

Address: 475 Broadway, New York, NY

A sensory playground centered around slime, Sloomoo Institute is an artistic universe made to intrigue, delight, and evoke your inner child. Slime encourages wonder and joy, regardless of age. More than a childhood memory or satisfying social media trend, slime has been known to be a source of stress relief and it lets you unleash your imagination. So wear comfortable shoes, clothes you don’t mind getting messy (tip: wear pants and shirts with sleeves you can easily roll up) and get your ticket to indulge!

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Address: 3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 215-765-4325

Smith Playground is awesome and FREE all the time. They often have special events. 

State Theatre

Address: 15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ

Phone: 732-246-7469

The State Theatre’s “Milk & Cookies” series, aimed at the youngest theater-goers, ages three to 10, includes sensory-friendly performances at noon: Info: 732-246-7469 or stnj.org.

Storybook Land

Address: 6415 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Phone: 609-646-0103

Special Abilities Night provides a chance for individuals with special needs to explore and enjoy Storybook Land at their own pace. Special Abilities Night will include a sensory-friendly Storybook Land, with reduced lights and noise, and limited ticketing to avoid overcrowding and long wait times. Children will receive extra close attention from Storybook Land’s friendly and educated staff.  www.storybookland.com

Studio Movie Grill

Address: 53 South 69th Street, Upper Darby, PA / Multiple Locations

Phone: 484-462-1066

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.

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.

The Arc

Address: 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC

Phone: 800-433-5255

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.

Trailside Nature and Science Center

Address: 452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ

Phone: 908-789-3670

Spend a peaceful day at New Jersey’s oldest nature center. A bright, airy complex houses exhibits of natural habitats — forest, wetlands, meadow, vernal pool — and a beech tree that fills the building’s atrium. There’s a wildlife viewing area, bird habitat, a children’s discovery room as well as scenic nature trails through Union County’s largest park, the Watchung Reservation.

Behind the center, a sensory-friendly trail suitable for all ages is designed to stimulate the senses and encourage interaction. The 0.3-mile loop has two talking kiosks that highlight the area’s natural and human history and play sounds of birds, insects and the Lenape Indians who once occupied the reservation. There are raised garden beds for touching and smelling, musical elements — drums and a xylophone — and other touchable items, like wheels and balls. A central gazebo houses a nature-themed sensory play area. For the sight-impaired, there’s a braille trail loop equipped with guide ropes.

Please note that the indoor portion of the center is closed due to COVID-19, but all outdoor activities are permitted. Click here to plan your visit.

Two River Theater Company

Address: 21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank, NJ

Phone: 732-345-1400

Two River Theater Company offers autism-friendly Relaxed Performances throughout the season, as well as theater classes for adults with autism.

Patrons who have difficulty sitting still in a theater seat, like to verbally respond during a performance or have sensitivity issues or special needs, may find these performances a good fit. Small adjustments are made to lighting and sound, and a designated quiet activity and relaxation area is provided within the theater. Info: 732-345-1400 or tworivertheater.org.

Union County Arts Center

Address: 1601 Irving St., Rahway, NJ

Phone: 732-499-8226

Sensory-friendly performances at Union County Arts Center run 60 minutes. Seating is general admission and a limited number of tickets are sold to keep crowd size comfortable. Lights remain on, sound is lowered and consistent, to prevent jarring, abrupt sounds.

Children can talk or vocalize as they wish, and may leave their seats if accompanied by a parent or guardian. The UPAC cafe will have a private area for children and families to relax. Fidget toys will be available to borrow, and autism specialists will be on hand to assist as needed. A social story is available for download, to help prepare patrons for the visit. Upcoming performances include: Info: 732-499-8226 or ucpac.org.

Urban Air Trampoline

Address: 69 Wesley Street, South Hackensack, NJ / Multiple Locations

Phone: 201-212-6454

With new adventures behind every corner, Urban Air is the ultimate indoor playground for your entire family. Take your kids’ birthday party to the next level or spend a day of fun with the family and you’ll

See why they are more than just a trampoline park. For more information regarding sensory friendly days call a location near you.

We Rock The Spectrum

Address: 110 Black Horse Pike, Audubon, NJ & 3111 Route 38, Mt. Laurel, NJ / Multiple Locations

Phone: 856-617-0927 / 856-242-9354

We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gyms was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. This unique kids’ gym offers an inclusive environment where children of all ability levels can play together, learn from each other, and motivate each other towards success on every level. The gym features uniquely designed sensory equipment that is specifically designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders.  www.werockthespectrumkidsgym.com

Whitney Museum Of American Art

Address: 99 Gansevoort St., New York, NY

Phone: 212-570-3600

Every three months, the Whitney invites families with kids on the autism spectrum for sensory-friendly gallery activities and a hands-on art-making workshop before the museum opens to the general public. During this drop-in program, families will explore a current Whitney exhibition and create their own art inspired by works on view. Program is for kids ages six and up. Registration is required: accessfeedback@whitney.org. The Whitney also offers a social narrative to prepare patrons with ASD. Info: 212-570-3600 or whitney.org.

William Paterson University’s Shea Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ

Phone: 973-720-2371

Since 2013, the Shea Center for Performing Arts has served more than 3,500 patrons with its sensory-friendly shows. Info: 973-720-3178 or wpunj.edu.

Wilmington Blue Rocks

Address: Frawley Stadium, 801 Shipyard Drive, Wilmington, DE

Phone: 302-888-2015

Holds several Autism Nights in conjunction with Autism Delaware. Tickets required.

Zoellner Arts Center

Address: 420 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA

Phone: 610-758-2787

Sensory friendly performances are offered at Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University. Each production takes into consideration lighting and sound, special training of staff, and relaxed house rules, including allowing the use of iPads and designated quiet areas. (zoellner.cas2.lehigh.edu)