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Summer is just around the corner, providing plenty of time to get out and have some fun. But for those with sensory processing issues, finding places to go isn’t always that easy. Crowded spaces, loud noises, very bright lights – can all be overwhelming for people with sensory issues.
We’ve rounded up some places that offer sensory-friendly times, where people can just go and be themselves. Visit their websites for full schedules and information.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym
34 Central St., Wellesley, 781-943-3125
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is a sensory-safe indoor playground, with equipment designed to aid children with sensory processing issues. The gym features therapy equipment, an arts and crafts area, a calming room and more.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday. Weekend hours vary.
Altitude Trampoline Park
700 Boston Post Road, Billerica, 978-663-5867.
People who struggle with sensory stimulation are invited to enjoy the freedom of flight at Altitude Trampoline Park’s sensory-friendly Saturdays from 9 to 10 a.m., when the park is less crowded and music volume is lowered.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday.
177 Main St., Acton, 978-264-4200.
Discovery Museum, a hands-on family museum that blends science, nature and play, offers autism-friendly evenings and sensory-friendly afternoons.
Evening events are open to families with members on the autism spectrum. The museum is closed to the general public and headcount is limited. Dinner, including a gluten-free option, is provided.
Sensory-friendly afternoons are all about inclusion, and people can explore the accessible Discovery Museum, Discovery Woods and the giant treehouse. The museum is open to the public, but group visits and birthday parties are not scheduled during these times.
School year hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. Advance reservations are required for all visits.
20 South Ave., Burlington, 22 Flutie Pass, Framingham, 140 Dartmouth Mall, Dartmouth, 90 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen and 440 Middlesex Road, Tyngsboro
Dance, walk, shout and sing at an AMC Sensory Friendly Film, that’s a little quieter and a little brighter. Sensory friendly movies are scheduled on the second and fourth Saturday and second and fourth Wednesday of every month at participating AMC theaters.
259 Hartford Ave., Bellingham; 793 Iyannough Road, Hyannis; 591 Donald J Lynch Blvd., Marlborough
Regal’s My Way Matinee gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie with the auditorium lights turned up and the volume turned down. This becomes safe space where guests are free to express themselves by singing, crying, dancing, walking around, talking or shouting while enjoying Hollywood’s latest films.
The showings are the first show of the day on select Saturdays and Tuesdays each month.
Blue Man Group
Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St, Boston
Blue Man Group hosts autism-friendly performances for individuals and families. For these performances, sound and light levels are reduced at various moments during the performance and sound-reducing headphones or earplugs are available. Families seeking a break from the excitement will find calming environments in the theater’s lobby.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center
598 Assembly Row, Somerville
LEGOLAND Discovery Center offers special times for people with sensory challenges. At LEGOLAND visitors can build and test LEGO racers, see favorite characters on LEGO 4D theater, take flight on Merlin’s Apprentice, blast skeletons on the Kingdom Quest ride, build LEGO creations and more.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
Zoo New England
Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Road, Boston.
Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham
Zoo New England is sensory inclusive certified and has partnered with KultureCity to assist guests with sensory needs. Zoo staff have been trained to accommodate guests’ needs and sensory bags that contain fidget tools, verbal cue cards, noise canceling headphones and other resources are available. The bags can be checked out for free by leaving an ID at the admission booth.
Guests can also download the free KultureCity App to view sensory features including quiet zones and headphone zones.
Summer hours for both zoos are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday and major holidays.
Urban Air Adventure Park
189 Mechanic St., Bellingham, 508-232-4604
From indoor climbing attractions to interactive games and wild rides to high-flying adventures – and yes trampolines – Urban Air Adventure Park offers indoor adventures for all age levels.
On the second Sunday of every month from 8 to 10 a.m., Urban Air offers an event specifically designed for children with autism and special needs without loud music or flashing lights.
Regular park hours are 4 to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 4 to 10 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday.
Mass Audubon Society
Mass Audubon Society has launched a summer program of Sensory Friendly Days at sanctuaries throughout Massachusetts. During these times properties are closed to the general public or are relatively quiet. Some sites will have special hikes with nature guides, while others provide self-led opportunities. Many sanctuaries have All Persons Trails, featuring wide, flat, ADA-accessible paths, where visitors can experience the wilds of nature. Pre-registration is requested.