Planning an outing for families with autism or sensory sensitivities requires careful planning. Luckily, Houston has a variety of sensory friendly activities and resources to make all visitors feel welcome in their spaces. Since April is National Autism Awareness Month, we selected five sensory friendly activities that we think you’ll love.
Courtesy of @WeRockTheSpectrumHou on Instagram
Play at We Rock the Spectrum
Trampolines, tactile toys, and an inclusive environment make We Rock the Spectrum a fun, sensory friendly destination for Houstonians. The Memorial-area gym welcomes all children to play, but its equipment and activities are specially designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders. On April 2, wear blue for Autism Awareness and head to the gym for snacks, crafts and sensory friendly activities. Also check their social media accounts for other Autism Awareness Month activities during April.
Courtesy of @TheFOMOFactory on Instagram
Sensory Friendly Day at The FOMO Factory
Located inside the Galleria, The FOMO Factory is an immersive, highly Instagrammable pop art experience. On April 6 from 3 to 7 p.m., FOMO Factory along with Success on the Spectrum will welcome families with autism to enjoy this fun, colorful space in a sensory friendly way. There are 17 rooms to explore, as well as games, snacks, and performances. See more information.
Courtesy of @SpaceCenterHou on Instagram
Visit Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is a Certified Autism Center, meaning it is equipped to welcome and accommodate visitors with autism or sensory and cognitive challenges. The popular space-themed museum offers Sensory Friendly Events, where visitors can enjoy its exhibits with modified lighting and sound effects, and smaller crowds. There are three remaining dates for 2021 (June 25, Aug. 21 and Dec. 4), but if you want to visit sooner, Space Center Houston also offers Sensory Backpacks – which include sound-reduction headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and guides, – Sensory Guides, and a Stellar Discovery Guide to help plan your visit. Designated quiet rooms can be made available upon request.
Courtesy of @HMNS on Instagram
Explore the Houston Museum of Natural Science
From visual vocabulary cards (in English or Spanish) to sensory guides that inform families about noise levels, visual stimulation and tactile components in its exhibits, the Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of resources to all visitors with sensory sensitivities or autism. Before you go, download the Access HMNS app, which includes social guides, games, a sensory map and tips for your visit. Once there, visitors can check out Sensory Backpacks with fidgets, stuffed animals, ear defenders and other items to make your visit comfortable. The museum also hosts sensory friendly events three times per year. Keep an eye on its website for future dates.
Jump High at Urban Air Adventure Park
Once per month, Urban Air trampoline park (pictured at the top) in Northwest Houston transforms into a quieter, calmer space for families with special needs. Kids and their caregivers are welcome to bounce and jump with no flashing lights, no music and no whistles. The next Sensory Friendly Jump time is scheduled for April 11, but check their calendar for future dates. Admission is $8 for kids and free for parents.
Insider’s Tip: HMNS and Space Center Houston are participating attractions in our Sensory Friendly Activities Pass. Don’t miss out on savings!