Sensory Friendly Places in the Twin Cities for Your Next Outing

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Hands holding puzzle ribbon for autism awareness

Are you looking for a sensory-friendly place for your child with special needs? Looking for places where your kids can play freely, learn fundamental skills, and genuinely enjoy despite your child’s condition? 

Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we believe that children are precious and should be treated fairly, with or without disabilities. To help you, we’ve come up with a list of sensory-friendly places for your precious ones to enjoy. For discounts and exclusive events, join Twin Cities Kids Club now!

But before anything else, what are sensory-friendly places? 

The simplest way to think about it equates the term sensory-friendly and autism. According to WebMD, Autism is a condition where a child suffers from difficulties of maintaining and forming social relationships and developing communication skills.

When a space or event is autism-friendly, several sensitivity factors associated with autism are deliberately designed to be taken into account. This design allows individuals on the spectrum to participate in the same activities as their peers with the same condition.

With a growing motion towards autism awareness and recognition, with sensory-friendly accommodations, an increasing amount of companies and individuals are providing their activities and services. 

Here are some sensory-friendly places where your children can enjoy!

1. Tony’s Place

Tony’s Place is an Inclusive Play Place located at Northtown Mall in Blaine, Minnesota. A darkened, quiet room with fluffy pillows, coloring books, and neon tubes filled with toy fish; it’s a place for anyone who wants to chill out and decompress.

Tony’s Place has partnerships with the regional and local organizations. These relationships support the communities they serve with a safe environment that caters to kids, especially with autism and other special needs in a play environment where all are welcome. 

Here, you will discover twinkling fairy lights wrapping around different sensory swings that can hold multiple individuals, including kids and adults.

There is a pallet of bubble wrap in an alcove that is accessible to anyone to meet that physical need. There are also a netted trampoline and physical activity center to assist release energy. 

baby boy lying on the floor and plays with the figurines indoor

2. AuSM events

The Autism Society of Minnesota offers a sensory-friendly event calendar around the Twin Cities. Learn about sensory-friendly showtimes at the Children’s Theater Company or Stages Theater Company and explore the area’s other sensory-friendly activities, including storytimes and concerts. For you to fully enjoy your visit with AuSM events, here are some useful tips for you:

  • To prevent crowds, go early or on weekday evenings.
  • Bring favorite products for toys and comfort.
  • When you arrive, find available quiet places where your kids may take some time to regroup.
  • Check ahead if there are any unique accommodations available at the attraction.

3. Nature Centers

Do you want to bond with your kids away from the city’s urban bustle? Minnesota is home to a fantastic array of nature centers offering year-round programming for even the youngest of children— as well as older explorers and aspiring naturalists. Children can explore outside to warm up and try the hands-on activities and displays indoors.

The admission is free, but some programs ask for registration fees. Nevertheless, it is still worth it because it features various winter activities like;

  • Family Yoga at Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township, 
  • Kicks Sledding at Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington 
  • Puppet Shows at Eastman Nature Center in Dayton. 

So better check out the Nature Centers in Minnesota and enjoy!

4. The Conservatory at the Como Zoo

The winter season in Minnesota may feel endless, but families can always visit this warm, greenery-filled place to remember the spring season. The Sunken Garden shows a year-round rotation. The Como Zoo provides a storytime every day at noontime.

The admission here is free, yet families are encouraged to give donations for the betterment of the zoo of at least $2 per kid and $3 per adult. I suggest you go early to prevent crowds and stroll through the various kinds of gardens. Do not forget to check out the Leonard Wilkening Children’s Gallery in the lobby near the conservatory, which features children’s hands-on activities.  

Little boy playing with puppet

5. Theatres at the Mall of America

If your child is fond of movies, the Mall of America film theaters play a free video at 10 am every Saturday as part of their “Free Family Flicks” events. The movie seats are limited and follow a first-come, first serve regulation. There is one theater reserved as a sensory-friendly place with moderate lighting and lower sound as well. 

The movie admissions are free, so you do not have to worry. At the concession stands, additional employees assist families to prevent lengthy waiting times. So rest assured that your movie experience with your family will be hassle-free and delightful.

6. The Raptor Center

This intriguing facility at the U of M Veterinary Medicine College — which annually rehabilitates about 800 sick and wounded raptors — enables families to get up close to a variety of fascinating birds. It is located at the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. It is open every day except for Mondays.

The Center offers guided tours every 30 minutes, which costs $3 for ages 3-17 and $5 for adults. Nevertheless, the cost is worth it because your children will learn a lot and gain new knowledge.

7. Minnesota History Center

This destination of St. Paul provides a range of exhibits that promote touch. There is a grain elevator replica for climbing and hoping scotch for playing too. The experience of the tornado is noisy and isn’t for delicate noise kids, but the remainder of the museum tends to be quiet.

Here you can find numerous out-of-the-way corners where, if required, kids can take some time to regroup.  The museum is closed every Monday, except for holidays. The admission is free from 5-8 pm, but the entrance fee costs $6 for ages 5-17 and $12 for adults.

Smiling boy with smartphone and headphones listening to music or playing game outdoor

8. The Works Museum

If your child is into museums, then have your outing here in The Works Museum. This interactive, hands-on museum features big and open rooms without noise or displays. Its task is to encourage engineers, innovators, and creative problem-solvers for the next generation.

This museum is located in Bloomington and is open every day except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the school year. It requires an entrance fee of just $8 for all visitors aging from 3 and older.

9. Bell Museum of Natural History

Sensory-friendly Saturdays at the Bell allows children with sensory sensitivity to explore dioramas, a mini planetarium display, and the Touch & See Discovery Room. The museum also provides sensory products that can be checked out at any time, including visual timers, fidget toys, weighted lap pads and headphones that cancel noise, plus a quiet space cube in the Touch & See Discovery Room.

It is at the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota. The cost is $5 for ages 3–17, $7 or $8 for adults. It is open as well to siblings without sensory sensitivities. 

10. Pump It Up

The sites of this famous chain of indoor bouncy-house stores in Plymouth and Eden Prairie offer every month sensory-friendly open-jump sessions. Lights dim during this moment, and the music is switched off.

The cost of admission is $7 to $7.95 per kid. Siblings are allowed here as well, and the parents can jump here for free. So it is indeed a family bonding!

family bonding

 

At Twin Cities Kids Club, we highly encourage to always bond with our kids, especially those who need special attention. Join now and enjoy the benefits exclusively for Twin Cities Kids Club’s members.

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Founded in 2015, Twin Cities Kids Club is your online source for money saving discounts that families on a budget can use at exclusive local children’s events. If you live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul and surrounding area and you are looking for the best deals on family fun, Twin Cities Kids Club is the place for you. We have all of the family entertainment deals, news and events you can handle and we are passionate about connecting Twin Cities families with local businesses for fun and entertainment. Join Twin Cities Kids Club now and stay on top of Twin Cities family fun today.

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