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 Tuesday evenings (mature themes)
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
Sensory Friendly Days
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.
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 Huntington Pool (Summer/Outdoor) and Swimming Lessons in and around Columbia, MD
Huntington Pool, a facility of the Columbia Association (CA), will be the organization’s sensory-friendly pool for summer 2021! In partnership with HCAS, CA will welcome families with special needs to enjoy the pool with the accommodation of open swim throughout the day. For children with disabilities who may have stop/start, transition or other issues, lifeguards will permit them to remain in the pool during adult only times under the supervision of their accompanying adult. Advance notation of this accommodation is recommended and can be added to your membership profile with CA by calling 410-730-1801. HCAS will provided “Autism 101” training for all CA outdoor lifeguards and managers for summer 2021. Huntington Pool is located at 7625 Murray Hill Road, Sunny Spring, Columbia, MD 21046, 301-490-3310.
Outdoor swim lessons will run from June 21 – August 6. Classes will be five days a week at Hawthorn Pool and Phelps Luck Pool. Families will register for four lessons with the fifth lesson being either a make-up or a free lesson. The majority of lessons will be provided as 1:1.
Morning Lessons: 9-10:30am at Hawthorn Pool; 9:30-11:30am at Phelps Luck
Evening Lessons 5:30-8pm at Hawthorn Pool; 6-8pm at Phelps Luck Pool
For information, visit https://www.columbiaassociation.org/classes-schedules/pools/swim-lessons/
CA staff suggest that, if you are looking for quieter environment, register for morning swim lessons.
Howard County Library System
Location: Multiple Branches
Contact : https://hclibrary.org/
-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
Contact: Susan Potts, MS, TRS, Therapeutic Recreation Manager
410-313-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Therapeutic-Rec
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.
LAUNCH Trampoline – Columbia, MD
9315 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD 21046
Offers monthly VIP Day for jumpers with special needs on the first Thursday of each month. VIP time is a quieter, private time open exclusively to these jumpers and their families. One parent or guardian gets to jump for free and siblings are welcome to join in the fun. Grip socks are required and can be purchased starting at $2.50.
Olney Theatre Center
Location: 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring R, Olney, MD
Contact: 301-924-3400, www.olneytheatre.org
Olney Theatre Center offers audio-described, sign-interpreted and sensory-friendly performances. Please request services through email@example.com
Robinson Nature Center
Location: 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD 21044
Contact : 410-313-0400
-Part of Howard County Recreation & Parks
-HCAS-trained staff and volunteers
-Sensory Friendly Sundays Offered Monthly on Sundays at 11:30am
This monthly event is designed for families with kids, teens, and adults with sensory processing differences, autism spectrum disorder, or developmental disabilities. The Center opens early, allowing visitors to enjoy a calm environment. Explore the exhibits, Discovery Room, nature trails and/or outdoor NaturePlace play area. Sensory alert maps, sensory backpacks and quiet areas are available. While walk-ins are welcome, we encourage you to reserve your space ahead of time. Registration/Info: www.howardcountymd.gov/RNC/sensoryfriendlyvisit. https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Recreation-and-Parks/Facilities/Robinson-Nature-Center/Sensory-Friendly-Visits
-Sensory friendly backpacks available at the front desk on any day with noise-canceling headphones, fidgets, timer, etc.
Location: 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD, 301-581-5100.
Contact: 301-581-5100, www.strathmore.org
Strathmore’s sensory-friendly performances create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to families of children with autism or other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. Check the website for upcoming performances and events.
Walters Art Museum
Location: 600 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD
Contact : https://thewalters.org/event/sensory-morning-5/
Several mornings each year of accessible programming designed specifically for children with Sensory Processing Disorders and their families. They welcome participants an hour before the museum opens, allowing families to enjoy activities in a quieter, less stimulating environment. Educators from the Walters Art Museum and therapists from Kennedy Krieger Institute will be present. They welcome:
• Families with all levels of museum experience
• Excited voices
• Weighted blankets and vests
• Earplugs and headphones
• Hand fidgets
• Moments for breaks
• Wheelchairs and other mobility devices
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (Updated March 2020).