As St. Louis moms ourselves, we love seeing our favorite local spots make space for all kinds of families and kiddos! We’ve rounded up a host of spots and events intended for families of children with sensory processing needs. We hope, as always, this serves as a resource for you to explore St. Louis even more!
The St. Louis Blues and Enterprise Center have partnered with KultureCity to improve their ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs. Their objective is to provide an inclusive and seamless experience for all guests for all events, including those with sensory needs. They strive to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying their Team Members with continuous training and by offering the resources and accommodations below to our guests:
Sensory bags containing special KCVIP badges, fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, and other resources are available for checkout (at no cost by leaving an ID) at their Guest Services Center.
The Lauren Daigle Sensory Room can provide a safe and calming environment for guests that feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. The room is specifically designed for guests experiencing sensory issues and is located next to Guest Services Center across from Portal 19.
The Sensory Room was created by The Price Fund, a Lauren Daigle Foundation.
Weighted Lap Pads
Weighted lap pads are also available upon request (at no cost by leaving an ID) at their Guest Services Center.
St. Louis City SC has taken the city by storm! And we love their actions to create an inclusive space for all St. Louisans. At the stadium, parents will find a Sensory Room presented by St. Louis Children’s Hospital in partnership with Kulture City. Sensory bags are also available to fans and must be returned after the game.
We were so excited to learn that Busch Stadium guests have access to a sensory-friendly room, located at Ford Plaza near gate 5. Guests will find items in this room that provide a safe and relaxing environment and a little reprieve from the ballgame noise and crowd.
The Sensory Room is provided by Mercy, the Official Health Care Provider for the St. Louis Cardinals! We’re thankful they’ve created an experience that’s more accessible for all families!
Parents can find a Nursing and Sensory-Friendly Room at the Missouri History Museum located on the lower level of the museum in the atrium, where families can enjoy quiet activities and comfortable seating when kids are feeling overstimulated. The The Missouri History Museum also has complimentary sensory kits at the welcome desk, as well as additional kits available for visiting groups.
The Museum is a proud partner of Kulture City, creating a sensory safe environment for all our visitors. If you would like a sensory bag, please check with our Front Desk staff. We also have sensory sensitive spaces to accommodate our visitors’ needs.
Stifel Theatre is home to some of our favorite shows throughout the year! You’ll find sensory bags at the Guest Services office in the Ticket Lobby. Bags contain special KCVIP badges, fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, and other items available for checkout (at no cost by leaving an ID). Weighted lap pads are also available for checkout.
Sensory-friendly performances provide people with special needs and their families the opportunity to enjoy performances from St. Louis’ top professional performing arts organizations. Attending a concert together creates a shared experience for building stronger family relations!
Check their website for updates on upcoming performances!
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Wednesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month.
Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.
Marcus Theatres provides sensory-specific showings and technologies that makes it easy to enjoy first run films.
Everyone deserves the chance to enjoy an experience at the movie theater, but we understand that certain sensitivities can make this challenging. B&B Theatres, however, is committed to creating environments where cinema lovers of all types can watch a movie in comfort and without fear of judgment or rebuke.
In order to better accommodate their guests with varying levels of physical or mental challenge, they host Sensory Friendly viewings in association with particular films. These showtimes feature brighter auditorium lighting, lower audio levels, and are open and available for folks that may have trouble in conventional cinema settings.
Sensory Backpacks, available at the box office for all titles, include many items to ensure a more inclusive movie going experience for all.
Alamo for All – a movie program for young families and guests with special needs. All shows starting before 2 pm on Tuesdays follow Alamo for All rules, with more shows on the weekends. Schedule may vary during holidays. At sensory-friendly Alamo for All shows,
- Lights are turned up and sound is turned down
- All ages are welcome (including infants)
- Talking and noise is allowed and guests can move around
- Latecomers are admitted
- Adaptive technology is welcome (but no other electronics, please)
The Magic House has thought of everything for families! You’ll find a Calming Corner on the lowest museum level near the Star-Spangled Center, intended for children with special needs and others needing a calm space away from the stimulation of the Museum. This private room includes a glider and quiet activities (books, sensory games, toys and a calming 6-foot bubble tube).
Build-A-Bear Workshop means fun for everyone! They’re proud to support kids with autism and other special needs by providing sensory-friendly events at all Workshop locations. Sensory-Friendly time occurs every Tuesday for the first open hour of the day. Sensory-Friendly event includes:
- Dimmer lighting
- Little to no music playing in the store
- A step-by-step informational guide that allows parents / guardians to play their Workshop experience in advance
- All ages and siblings welcome
We Rock the Spectrum is a growing kids gym franchise of sensory-safe indoor playgrounds, classes, and birthday parties for ALL kids! There are currently locations in Edwardsville, Fenton, and Bridgeton (temporarily closed).
Science is for everyone! The Science Center has four complimentary sensory kits available at the box office, available first come first served. These kits must be returned upon exiting.
An event specifically designed for children with Autism and special needs to enjoy time at the park without loud music, flashing lights- and to have a lot of fun!
See calendar for timing and details.
At participating locations. See park calendar for timing and details.
Chuck E Cheese offers a Sensory Sensitive Sundays™ program, in which participating locations open two hours early on the first Sunday of the month. They offer a quieter environment, dimmed lighting, and a trained and caring staff to ensure each guest has a safe, fun-filled visit.
St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station offers a Calming Corner room for individuals and families who may need a less stimulated environment, as well as sensory bags that include noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, and verbal cue cards that can be checked out at the ticket counter.
- The Calming Corner room is on the second floor, approximately halfway through your journey. If you need to access the room at any time and you are not on the second floor, please ask any team member to assist you in getting to the room more directly.
- In our experience, the Aquarium has always been exceptionally crowded on the weekends. It would be better to prepare for a weekday visit or an early weekend evening to avoid large groups.
- To reduce startling noises, all of the men’s and women’s restrooms feature manual flush toilets in designated stalls. The Aquarium also only uses motion-activated paper towel dispensers throughout the experience.
- PARKING TIP: Enter from Market Street on 18th Street to access the closest parking lot to the Aquarium. Hourly and special event rates apply, credit card only.
Participants will hear stories, receive a pet- themed craft to take home, meet a furry friend and learn all about the APA! This session is open to all children and geared towards those who thrive in a calm environment.
Sensory Friendly Tuesday Tales is a monthly storytime for our littlest learners ages 2-5. Please register all attendees.
For younger kiddos or children with sensory sensitivities, a busy museum can be an overwhelming experience. At Edwardsville Children’s Museum, we want to create a space where every child feels safe to play, explore, and just be their incredible little self!
If your child is not ready to play during general admission, you can reserve ECM for private playtime, creating a one-of-a-kind adventure for your friends and family. It’s also ideal for small playgroups who are looking for safe, indoor fun year-round.
Select St. Louis Public Library locations offer Sensory Storytimes. Designed for children ages 3-9, Sensory Storytimes are more interactive and provide built-in time for sensory play.
As if we didn’t need another reason to love our beloved St. Louis Zoo, families have access to complimentary sensory backpacks, which include noise-canceling headphones, weighted lap pads, fidgets, and other items. Sensory backpacks are available for checkout at the Welcome Desks, which can be found at the North Entrance and South Entrance of the Zoo.
Signage is also placed throughout the Zoo indicating areas where there may be sensory challenges, such as noise, temperature, smells or sounds, as well as quiet spaces for relaxing.
The Zoo also has designated Sensory Friendly nights at their trademark events throughout the year, including Boo at the Zoo and Wild Lights.
Six Flags’ Low sensory room is a space that has been designed to provide an immersive sensory experience for people with various abilities. This space helps guests engage with their senses in a safe and relaxed environment, regardless of their age or ability. A calming sensory room is helpful for a child or adult who has ADHD or Autism, because it helps them process what they’re taking in and adapt to deal with overwhelming sensations, strong emotions, thoughts, and urges that they might be having.
This space was designed and created in partnership with eSpecial needs, whose mission it is to make life easier for parents, more enriching for children, more accessible, and more enjoyable for the entire family.
The Low Sensory Room is located on the back side of the Ride Information Center right across from Xcalibur inside the park.
Select sensory-friendly dates available throughout the season.
- Pre-visit Tools: The Children’s Garden is a place for families to discover, explore, pretend, observe, and have nature adventures together. A visit to this special garden offers a variety of sensory experiences that encourage socialization, motor skill development, and foster a love of the natural world. These pre-visit tools were developed to help make a child’s experience more meaningful and comfortable should they be living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other sensory disorders:
- Calming Corner: A comfortable room for nursing moms and for young visitors who need a quiet space and relief from sensory stimulation. Located in Edward Jones Hall near the Brookings Exploration Center and Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden, the room is purposefully designed with soft lighting, soothing colors, and comfortable seating. Calming activities in the room include books, tactile toys, plush forest critters, and soft mats. The room is available on a first come –first serve basis. Learn more
- Low Sensory Areas: Visitors in need of a less stimulating environment in the Garden are encouraged to visit the English Woodland Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, Brookings Exploration Center before 10 am and after 4 pm, and the Children’s Garden before 10 am or after 2 pm most afternoons.
All aboard the Polar Express! The Train Ride begins with a reading of The Polar Express book. Singing and Dancing Chefs serve hot chocolate & cookies. When you arrive at the North Pole, Santa boards the train and interacts with the children, giving them the first gift of Christmas. Then, the chefs lead the singing of Christmas carols on the way back to Union Station. Children 2 & under are free on a lap and do not require a ticket.
- PARKING TIP: Enter from Market Street on 18th Street to access the closest parking lot to the Aquarium. Hourly and special event rates apply, credit card only.
A sensory-friendly experience is available on November 28th at 4:30, 6:00, and 7:15 on the Glacier Gulch and Northern Lights cars and will include reduced lights and sounds.
St. Louis Mom’s 6th Annual DONUTS WITH SANTA
What a way to kick off the holiday season! There’s nothing better than eating donuts and meeting Santa! Choose a morning ticket or an early afternoon ticket for access to sweet photo ops with the Clauses, yummy donuts, holiday shopping, festive activities, live performances from special guests, and more!
We’ve even added an early morning sensory-friendly time from 9 – 9:30 am. This session was added to accommodate our sensory sensitive friends; however, all are welcomed! During our sensory-friendly session, there will be no live entertainment and a smaller pool of attendees.
On Saturday, December 2, 2023, come celebrate the holiday season at this sensory-friendly event! Join us to visit with Santa, take part in holiday crafts, activities, festive music, and more! This event, including visits with Santa, are available to people of all ages. We strive to make this a sensory-friendly event, with limited registration numbers, a quiet area, trained staff available throughout the evening, and a separate room for visiting with Santa. We can’t wait to see you there! Registration opens November 2.
With zoo unique blend of storytelling, history, and fairy tale whimsy, guests are welcomed into a world of yuletide nostalgia and fantasy where reindeer fly, sugarplums dance in your head, and an array of international ambassadors invite you to explore unique holiday customs from around the world.
The Festival is a feast for the senses, but we know that many of our guests are more sensitive to the sights, sounds, and crowds during a busy festival. For those guests, we are proud to offer a free, Sensory-Friendly Experience – all that is required is an RSVP.
This event will take place on Sunday, December 10 at the Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park from 10 – 11:15 am.
Friday, December 8, 2023 at 10 am
Sensory Friendly performance and student matinee at Washington University’s Edison Theatre
Our dazzling holiday event features brand-new displays and themed areas. Warm up with winter-themed treats and say hello to the animals at Penguin & Puffin Coast and the Insectarium.
Monday, Dec. 11, is Sensory-Friendly Night for neurodivergent guests with sensory sensitivities. This special night will mirror the traditional Wild Lights experience, but also includes sensory maps, quiet areas and trained Zoo staff to assist individuals with sensory sensitivities.
Sensory-Friendly Night is supported by The Autism Clinic at Hope.
Santa Cares events allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy Santa Magic photo experiences in an inclusive environment that improves comfort, enjoyment and participation among children with sensory sensitivities.
Cherry Hill Programs and Autism Speaks are thrilled to host sensory-friendly events on Sunday, December 3, 2023. Some event dates may vary – click on your location below to confirm date and time.
Exclusive Benefits of Santa Cares Events
- No purchase required to book Santa Cares reservation
- Most events occur outside of normal shopping hours
- Advance registration required to limit the number of guests to reduce crowds and wait times
- Reduced lighting and music
- Sensory-friendly trained Santa and staff who can support those with special needs and their families
- Photo package purchase is optional at the time of the event