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. In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we’ve rounded up five sensory friendly activities that we think you’ll love.
Explore the Houston Museum of Natural Science
On April 23, 2022 the Houston Museum of Natural Science will host an all-day event where its exhibits and venues, including the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, and Cockrell Butterfly Center are modified to create a sensory neutral environment. In addition to these sensory friendly days, the museum offers visitors visual vocabulary cards (in English and Spanish and sensory guides that inform families about noise levels, visual stimulation, and tactile components in its exhibits. Plus, kids are welcome to check out sensory backpacks with fidgets, stuffed animals, and ear defenders to make their visit comfortable. Mark your calendar for future sensory friendly days, which are scheduled for September 24 and December 5, 2022.
Watch a Play at Main Street Theater
At Houston’s Main Street Theater, everyone can enjoy live theater for youth! For every production, Main Street Theater offers sensory friendly performances with increased lighting, lower sound levels, additional staff to assist patrons, and prompt books for families to prepare for the show. In addition, the theater welcomes electronic devices with headphones and fidget toys during the performance. Don’t miss the sensory friendly performance of the beloved Charlotte’s Web on May 7, 2022. On July 10, 2022, the theater will offer a sensory friendly production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Have Fun at the Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum of Houston is a wonderland of activities for kids of all ages. Plan to visit on May 2, 2022, when the museum will be hosting its next Sensory Friendly Day. This day is an opportunity for children with autism spectrum disorder to experience the museum’s many attractions with dimmed lights, reduced sounds, designated quiet rooms, and additional signage to help guide visitors through the exhibits. Visitors are welcome to bring their own lunch and snacks as the museum’s café is not open during this event.
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. Check out their social media accounts for their calendar of open play and special activities.
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. 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. The popular space-themed museum also offers Sensory Friendly Events, where visitors can enjoy its exhibits with modified lighting and sound effects, and smaller crowds. Mark your calendar for the next one on September 23, 2022.
Insider’s Tip: The Children’s Museum, HMNS and Space Center Houston are participating attractions in our Sensory Friendly Activities Pass. Don’t miss out on savings!