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SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Finding Friends | Social Skills Groups | Sensory Friendly Venues/Events | Recreational Activity Guide

Local Sensory-Friendly Venues and Events

Updated November 2022

--Times and Schedule subject to change--

Sensory-Friendly Outings

Autism Ambassadors

Autism Ambassadors runs year-round exclusive recreational events for children, teens, and adults of all abilities on the spectrum, offering various sensory-friendly outings. The venues vary and include movies, trampoline parks, dance studios, and indoor and outdoor splash parks, with the venues rented out and reserved exclusively, no general public allowed. Food is served, siblings are welcome and the reduced fee is $10/child. Parents and aides attend for free. Email Autism Ambassadors to be added to their contact list and be notified about upcoming events. 


Adventure Theatre

7300 MacArthur Blvd. (Glen Echo Park)
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Select performances are slightly adjusted for children with sensory sensitivities. These sensory-friendly performances are pre-scheduled every season. These showings are also open to the general public. Click Here for More Information

AMC Theatres

AMC Loews Rio Cinemas 18
9811 Washingtonian Center
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

AMC turns up the lights and turns down the sound for its Sensory Friendly Films, shown the second and fourth Saturday of every month (family-friendly) and Wednesday evenings (mature audiences). Movie-goers are invited to get up, dance, walk, shout, or sing. Please check your local listings for specific show times. Click Here for More Information

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

8270 Alumni Drive, Suite 3800

University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1625

Ticket Office: 301-405-2787; Accessibility Information: access-theclarice@umd.edu

Sensory-friendly performances are offered for select events. These offerings are designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to people on the autism spectrum or sensory sensitivities and families with small children. Click Here for More Information

Ford's Theatre

511 10th St., NW

Washington, DC 20004

202-347-4833; access@fords.org

The historic Ford's Theatre offers sensory-friendly performances on select dates. These performances are modified to be welcoming to autistic individuals and those with other sensory sensitivities, and are designed to offer a safe environment where individuals can relax and be who they are. Click Here for More Information

Imagination Stage

4908 Auburn Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814

Each production within Imagination Stage’s Lerner Family Theatre Season features a sensory-friendly performance designed to be more accessible for autistic individuals and their families. Sensory-friendly performances aim to provide a safe and welcoming environment where families can simply relax and be who they are. Tickets to sensory-friendly performances are $12–$25 and 100% refundable up until the show begins. Click Here for More Information. Click on specific shows to see the date of sensory-friendly performances.

Kennedy Center

2700 F St., NW,

Washington, DC 20566


The Kennedy Center offers sensory-friendly performances designed to create a welcoming and comfortable arts experience for people with autism, sensory sensitivities, or other social, learning, or cognitive disabilities.

Modifications often include:

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
  • Lights remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance
  • A reduction of strobe lighting and lighting focused on the audience
  • Guests are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance
  • Designated quiet areas within the theater
  • Space throughout the theater for standing and movement
  • Limited crowds and visitors at the Kennedy Center during the day and timing of the performance
  • Kennedy Center staff trained to be inviting and accommodating to families' needs.

The Kennedy Center also offers pre-visit social stories and sensory maps to help prepare for a visit. Please contact the Accessibility Office at 202-416-8727 or access@kennedy-center.org with any questions or concerns. Click Here for More Information

Olney Theatre Center

2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Olney, MD 20832

Sensory-friendly performances are scheduled each season for select shows. The following adjustments are made for these performances:

  • Reduction of sound levels, particularly loud or startling sounds
  • Reduction of stage lighting
  • Low lighting in theater throughout the performance so patrons are able to see should they need to move around
  • Patrons can talk and move around the theater as much as they wish during the performance
  • The use of mobile electronic devices are allowed during the performance if they are being use as communication devices
  • Designated break spaces will be available for those who might feel overwhelmed and need a break from the performance
  • Tickets for these performances are reduced price and are refundable up until the show begins.

Click Here for More Information

The Puppet Co.

Glen Echo Park

7300 MacArthur Blvd.

Glen Echo, MD 20812

301-634-5380; Box.Office@thepuppetco.org

The Puppet Co. offers sensory-friendly versions of its Mainstage Shows on select dates. The lights are dimmed, the back door of the theater is propped open for easy exit if a break is needed, loud sound effects are toned down, and some visual effects, such as fog, are omitted. Click Here for More Information

Regal Cinemas

Regal Rockville Center
199 East Montgomery Ave.
Rockville, MD 20850

My Way Matinee showings offer an adaptive movie-going experience, with the lights turned up and the volume turned down. Guests are free to dance, sing, and shout along with the characters in the films at these screenings.  Click Here for More Information

Strathmore Music Center

5301 Tuckerman Lane

North Bethesda, MD 20852


Special sensory-friendly performances are scheduled periodically, welcoming families of children with autism and other sensory sensitivities. Additionally, many of Strathmore's family-friendly shows and Strathmore Kids events offer a welcoming “no-shush” environment and relaxed house rules.

Accommodations for sensory-friendly performances include:

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
  • Lights remain on at a low level during the performance
  • A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience
  • Audience members are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance
  • Designated quiet areas within the venue
  • Space throughout the venue for standing and movement
  • Limited capacity in the performance to allow plenty of space for each patron
  • Strathmore staff trained to be welcoming and accommodating to families’ needs
  • The use of electronic devices for communication is permitted.

“Get Ready for the Show!” resource materials are available on each event page one month prior to the event to help families prepare. Strathmore also offers sensory-friendly back-stage tours. Participants can play instruments on the stage, see the artists’ dressing rooms, learn about how the lights and sound work, and much more in this tour designed with sensory sensitivities in mind.

Click Here for More Information


B&O Railroad Museum

901 West Pratt St.

Baltimore, MD 21223


“Sensory Sundays” are held on select dates throughout the year. These days feature sensory accommodations, including no music, low lighting, quiet areas, increased signage for areas with sound effects, as well as sensory-friendly activities. Sensory kits, social stories, and a community table are also available. Click Here for More Information

Capital One Arena

601 F St., NW

Washington, DC 20004


Home to the Washington Wizards basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team and host to numerous cultural performances, the Capital One Arena is certified as a sensory-inclusive facility by KultureCity, a nationally recognized organization that provides sensory-inclusion training and tools. Visitors can stop by Guest Services to borrow sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, and other resources. Fans also have access to a dedicated quiet room for those who may need a calmer and more secure environment. A social story is available on the Kulture City app to help you prepare for a visit. Click Here for More Information

International Spy Museum

700 L'Enfant Plaza, SW

Washington, DC 20024


On special days throughout the year, the International Spy Museum opens its doors exclusively for autistic individuals and those with sensory differences. On these Access days, the museum sets private hours so individuals can enjoy a visit with less noise, fewer people, and designated quiet rooms. For guests who are unable to visit on Access days, the museum offers resources to help plan for a successful visit, including social narratives, a sensory sensitivities map, and a "know before you go" video. Click Here for More Information

Maryland Zoo

1 Safari Place

Baltimore, MD 21217


The Maryland Zoo is certified as a sensory-inclusive facility by KultureCity. Sensory-inclusive bags containing fidgets, noise-canceling headphones, and other resources can be borrowed at the main gate. Designated quiet areas are located in the zoo. A social story is available on the Kulture City app to prepare for your visit. Click Here for More Information

National Aquarium

501 E Pratt St.,

Baltimore, MD 21202


The National Aquarium provides express entry to guests with special needs, as well as early entry on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, allowing visitors with disabilities and their companions to enter 30 minutes before the aquarium opens for a leisurely, crowd-free visit.

As a certified sensory-inclusive organization through KultureCity, the National Aquarium provides sensory bags, special signage, and staff who are specially trained to help visitors with sensory concerns. The Guest Relations Room on Level 1 offers a quiet space for guests who need a moment away from the crowds. To help visitors with sensory sensitivities prepare for their visit, the National aquarium website specifies sensory elements found in different galleries. A social story is also available on the KultureCity appClick Here for More Information

National Children's Museum

1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20004


This hands-on museum offers sensory backpacks with noise-reduction headphones and fidgets. Designated quiet spaces are available for breaks, and social narratives can help guests prepare for a visit. Click Here for More Information

Nationals Park

1500 South Capitol Street, SE

Washington, DC 20003


Home to the Washington Nationals baseball team, Nats Park is certified as a sensory-inclusive facility by KultureCity. Visitors can stop by the main guest services location, in Centerfield Plaza, to borrow sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, and other resources. A sensory room is located near Section 140. A social story is available on the Kulture City app to help you prepare for a visit. Click Here for More Information

Port Discovery Children's Museum

35 Market Place

Baltimore, MD 21202


Port Discovery is certified as a sensory-inclusive facility by KultureCity. 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 on the Kulture City app to prepare for your visit. Click Here for More Information

Six Flags America

13710 Central Ave.

Upper Marlboro, MD 20721

Six Flags America is a Certified Autism Center™, accredited by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The amusement park offers a sensory guide for every attraction that provides insight into how the attraction or ride may be affected by each of the five senses. Low sensory areas allow guests with sensory sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment, and front-line team members have been trained to better assist autistic guests and those with other sensory sensitivities to help them enjoy their time at the park. The park also offers Sensory Sensitive Days featuring limited sound and music, free noise-canceling ear plugs upon request, and signage highlighting surprise sounds and experiences. Click Here for More Information


Access Smithsonian serves the various Smithsonian facilities
202-633-2921; Access@si.edu

Morning at the Museum is a free, sensory-friendly program for families of children, teenagers, and young adults with disabilities who are neurodiverse, autistic, or have other sensory processing disorders or cognitive disabilities.  On specific Saturday and Sunday mornings, pre-registered families have the opportunity to visit a Smithsonian museum, before it opens to the public, to participate in activities or explore the exhibitions independently at their own pace. Programs rotate between the various Smithsonian Institution museums. 

Access Smithsonian also offers a variety of pre-visit materials such as social narratives, videos, and sensory maps that can help neurodivergent visitors plan their visits to Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo. Click Here for More Information

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