SENSORY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES, BUSINESSES & EVENTS IN AND AROUND HOWARD COUNTY, MD:
Location: Columbia Mall and other locations throughout the area
AMC is a partner of the Autism Society of America, offering unique movie showings where they turn the lights up, turn the sound down so that guests can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Available on the second and fourth Saturday mornings (family-friendly films) and Wednesday evenings (mature themes)
Abrakadoodle Art Education
Location: Howard County location
Students are immersed in the arts; art history; vocabulary and styles presented in a fun and creative way. Children are encouraged to find their unique style and learn through the process.
Annapolis Music Therapy
Location: Multiple locations
Community-based and inclusive programs for individuals across the lifespan. Individual, group, and community-based sessions are offered as well as music lessons in guitar, piano, and voice.
Azure Concert Series
Location: Multiple performance sites
Azure events are fun, friendly and engaging performances tailored to children and young adults who are on the autism spectrum or have similar challenges. Since many with autism (or related challenges) cannot attend traditional music performances due to uncontrollable vocalizations or physical movements, the Azure concerts create a musical environment where such behaviors are not frowned upon, but joyfully accepted and embraced. Multiple dates and locations throughout the year. Check the website for upcoming performances.
B & O Railroad Museum
Location: 901 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD
The B & O hosts Sensory Friendly Days for children and guests with ASD and sensory processing differences throughout the year. The museum opens one hour early at 10 am on designated Sundays to accommodate guests and families. Features additional volunteers and staff, sensory kits, feeling charts, break timers, fidgets, stress balls and noise canceling headphones and a designated quite room. Check the website for upcoming dates.
Location: 7520 Main St #103, Sykesville, MD
Barrier Free Barrier-Free provides an assortment of programs from inclusive theater and expressive arts classes to a life and social skills studio that support neurodiverse adults 18+.
Chuck E. Cheese
Location: 6637 Gov Ritchie & I-695, Glen Burnie, MD
Chuck E. Cheese offers a sensory-friendly experience on the first Sunday of every month at participating locations, opening our stores two hours before their normal opening time. All Sensory-Friendly events include a trained and caring staff that work to ensure each guest has a fun-filled visit.
Columbia Association – Sensory-Friendly Pool at MacGill’s Common Pool (Summer/Outdoor) and Swimming Lessons in and around Columbia, MD
Location: 10025 Shaker Drive, Columbia, MD
MacGill’s Common Pool, a facility of the Columbia Association (CA), is the organization’s sensory-friendly pool for summer 2022.
Columbia Center for the Theatrical Arts
Location: 6655 Dobbin Rd #4, Columbia, MD
Innovative programs helps children with communication disorders and special needs improve their communication abilities through musical theatre.
Get Air Trampoline Park
Location: 6510 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville, MD
Get Air offers a dedicated time just for jumpers with special needs the first Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Music is played at a lower volume and the park’s atmosphere is calmer. One parent or guardian can support jumpers on the trampoline for free. Siblings of jumpers are welcome to jump for the same price, but should be more careful during this time.
Howard Community College Music Therapy at The Music Institute
Location: 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD
The Music Institute offers specifically-designed adaptive private lessons in beginning guitar, piano and voice with a Board Certified music therapist for individuals with special needs. Adaptive lessons are available in half-hour, three-quarter hour, and one-hour lengths.
Howard County Library System
Location: Multiple Branches
-Sensory Friendly Stories & Fun – scheduled throughout the year at various branches. Check the calendar for upcoming events.
-Sensory Friendly Backpacks – available at individual branches. Check with a librarian when you arrive.
Howard County Recreation and Parks – Therapeutic Recreation
Location: Multiple locations
Therapeutic-Recreation offers a wide variety of activities for individuals of all ages. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities by providing community recreational and leisure opportunities and promoting lifelong skills. After school programs, camps, iBike program, social events for teens and adults, variety of classes and trips.
Location: 4908 Auburn Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Sensory Friendly Performances and “all abilities” classes throughout the season. Check calendar for upcoming events and tickets.
The Kennedy Center
Location: 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC
Sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all families with children with autism or with other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities.
The Maryland Zoo
Location: 1 Safari Pl, Baltimore, MD
Sensory Bags with noise cancelling headphones are available upon entry at the Main Gate. Signage throughout the zoo denotes loud areas where headphones may be helpful. Downloadable app and social story shows visitors what to expect at the zoo.
Mt. Airy Bowling Lanes
Location: 304 Center St, Mt Airy, MD
Mt. Airy Bowling Lanes offers bowling leagues for children and adults with special needs. Siblings and parents are welcome to join.
Location: 501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD
Guests with special needs and their parties may purchase express entry and early entry tickets at the Member Entrance and gain immediate entry to the Aquarium. The First Saturdays and Sundays program allows all guests with disabilities and their guests to enter 30 minutes before the Aquarium opens on the first Saturday and the first Sunday of each month, for a leisurely, crowd-free visit.
Olney Theatre Center
Location: 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring R, Olney, MD
Olney Theatre Center offers audio-described, sign-interpreted and sensory-friendly performances. Please request services through firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: 35 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD
Staff members are trained on how to recognize guests with sensory needs, how to help handle sensory overload situations, and how to use sensory kits and supplies to help individuals with sensory sensitivities or challenges. Sensory bags containing fidgets, noise canceling headphones, and other resources are available for checkout at no cost. Designated quiet areas help children take breaks as needed. A social story is available.
Rise for Autism
Location: 510 McCormick Dr Ste U, Glen Burnie, MD
Rise for Autism offers sensory family friendly events throughout the year, including sensory jump trampoline park events and family swim programs.
Robinson Nature Center
Location: 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD
Sensory Friendly Sundays are offered monthly. The center opens early for these events designed for families with kids, teens, and adults with sensory processing differences, autism spectrum disorder, or developmental disabilities. Enjoy activities led by Howard County Park Rangers, Heritage staff and Robinson Nature Center educators. Families can also explore the exhibits (lights/sounds adjusted), Discovery Room, nature trails, outdoor NaturePlace and a themed-sensory pathway. Planetarium open between 11am and noon. Sensory alert maps, sensory backpacks and quiet areas available.
Special Hockey Washington
Location: Garden Ice House, 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel, MD
The Washington Ice Dogs special hockey program gives people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to play ice hockey. Weekly practices help players of all ages and abilities the develop social, fine motor and behavioral skills while also providing an inclusive and positive environment.
Special Olympics Howard County
Location: Multiple locations
Special Olympics Howard County provides a year-round training and competitive sports program for Howard County children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or closely related developmental disabilities.
Location: 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Sensory-friendly events are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to families of children with autism or other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities.
Six Flags America
Location: 13710 Central Ave, Bowie, MD
Six Flags America and Hurricane Harbor provides trained team members to assist autistic guests and those with other sensory sensitivities to help them enjoy their time at the park, a sensory guide for every attattraction to provides insight into how the attraction or ride may be affected by each of the five senses, low sensory areas to allow guests with sensory sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment. The park offers Sensory Sensitive Days featuring limited sound and music.
Sun Shine Whisperers
Location: Multiple locations
Over 30 ideas for fun places for kids in Maryland that claim to be fully accessible and/or offer special sensory friendly programs.
Therapeutic & Recreational Riding Center
Location: 3750 Shady Ln, Glenwood, MD
TRRC provides hippotherapy services; in other words; physical and occupational therapy on horseback. They also provide recreational riding opportunities for special needs clients.
*Please note that this list is a compilation of local organizations, resources and services and does not represent an endorsement of any of these entities by the Howard County Autism Society. If you have suggestions of additional groups to add or corrections to the content here, please contact our office at 410-290-3466 or email@example.com. (Updated September 2022).