World Autism Month is recognized throughout April and is dedicated to celebrating differences, while increasing education and opportunities globally for people with autism. Syracuse, NY is proud to offer several inclusive events and experiences for individuals diagnosed with autism, not just in April, but all year round. So, whether you’re local to our area or visiting us here in Syracuse, here are 8 autism-friendly experiences to check out soon!
The Museum of Science and Technology
Known for its fun and exciting ways to create hands-on educational opportunities for kids of all ages, the MOST offers Sensory Friendly Time, on the third Saturday of the month from 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm. By dimming the lights, turning down all sounds, and completely turning off the air compressors, the MOST ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to experience hands-on STEM learning. Children and their families can enjoy the Sensory Spacewalk which is an inclusive pathway through space and time which offers a safe area to release their energy while helping them focus on their motor skills.
Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park
Every year on the first Friday of June, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo participates in Dreamnight, an inclusive and cost-free evening to enable children with special health care needs to enjoy a night at the zoo. This global event has over 100,000 participants stemming across six continents and 23 countries, and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is the only zoo in New York State to participate, pretty cool! Tickets to this event are limited to minimize overstimulation on children and families who attend.
Inviting and sensory-friendly performances at the Syracuse Stage allow people of any age with autism or challenges with social skills to have the benefit of seeing live performances in a shush-free zone. They offer many accommodations for their audience during these specific shows, including preparatory material ahead of the show, reduced stage lighting, and increased lighting in the venue to allow for easier mobility. All staff, ushers, and volunteers on duty are specially trained and guests will be allowed a 100 % refund right up until the start of the show.
Beaver Lake Nature Center
Located on just over 660 acres of natural land, the Beaver Lake Nature Center hosts a variety of outdoor experiences all year round and invites all types of visitors to join and enjoy. The Sensory Garden was built in 1993 as a quiet area for visitors of all ages to taste, touch, smell and learn about herbs and plants in a comfortable and open setting.
Chuck E. Cheese
Chuck E. Cheese, located in Syracuse NY, proudly participates in Sensory Sensitive Sundays. On the first Sunday of the month, Chuck E. Cheese opens its doors early and invites kids with autism and other special health care needs to enjoy full access to all games and rides with reduced crowds, dimmed lighting, music turned down or off completely and limited appearances by Chuck E. himself!
Museum of Intrigue
An immersive and interactive play space for all ages, the Museum of Intrigue offers sensory-inclusive experiences. Participants take on clues that challenge the mind in hopes to crack codes and solve mysteries. Staff is certified and trained by leading medical professionals to quickly recognize visitors with sensory needs and how to assist if someone feels overwhelmed. Sensory bags are offered to guests that include noise-canceling headphones, verbal cue cards, weighted lap pads, and fidget tools to ensure they are as comfortable as possible during their visit.
With support from the Autism Alliance and Advocates of Metrowest, Apex Entertainment offers Sensory Friendly Hour on the first Sunday of every month. Inclusive accommodations featuring quiet rooms, reduced lighting and sounds, sunglasses, and sensory toys, the Apex team is dedicated to sharing fun experiences with everyone.
WonderWorks hosts sensory days where exhibits are offered to provide limited stimulation for children and adults with special health care needs. All music is lowered, loud exhibits are not operational, and their inversion tunnel is shut down to create a safe and inclusive environment. Wonderworks’ number one goal is to create an inviting environment for all to enjoy without feeling overwhelmed.
Interested in spending a sensory-friendly day in Syracuse, NY? Plan your visit to the area today!