8 Sensory-Friendly Experiences in Houston
There are endless fun things to do and places to explore in Houston. If you’re neurodivergent and have sensory sensitivities, though, it can often be hard to find something that meets your specific sensory needs. Thankfully, whether you’re a fan of space exploration or ballet performances, or just want to know every single thing about dinosaurs, these institutions have sensory-friendly experiences just to your liking.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Main Street Theater
Main Street Theater offers several performances every year tailored to the needs of those who are sensory sensitive. Each sensory-friendly performance includes changes such as increased lighting, lower sound levels, additional trained staff, and prompt books so families can prepare for the show. Additionally, fidget toys and electronic devices (with headphones) may be used during these performances.
The Children’s Museum of Houston
The Children’s Museum of Houston also hosts sensory-friendly days throughout the year. During these special days, the museum dims its lights, limits extra sounds, and provides designated quiet rooms for guests. There are also story guides in order for guests and their families to familiarize themselves with the museum’s exhibits ahead of their visit.
We Rock the Spectrum
Space Center Houston
Four times a year, Space Center Houston hosts special sensory-friendly events. The events, open to all ages, allow both children and adults who are autistic or have sensory processing disorders to explore the center in a reduced sensory environment. The sensory-supportive setting includes modified lighting, music, and sound effects. Tickets to these events, priced at $15.95 (children age three and younger get in free) are limited, allowing guests to explore the center without having to deal with large crowds. Guests are also welcome to bring sensory-soothing equipment with them, such as noise-cancelling headphones, sunglasses, pressure suits, toys, and blankets.
AMC, which has three locations in the Houston area, partners with the Autism Society to offer sensory-friendly movie experiences for both autistic children and adults. These are available every Wednesday evening (for mature audiences) and on the second and fourth Saturday of every month (for families).
The Houston Ballet
The Houston Ballet offers sensory-friendly performances every season, when their shows are modified for audience members with neurological differences. Trained staff are also on hand throughout the performances to ensure positive experiences for guests.
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
The Hobby Center offers sensory-friendly performances throughout the year tailored to the needs of autistic children and adults as well as others with sensory sensitivities. Accommodations include limited crowds, freedom to move during performances, low light levels, reductions in strobe lighting, the signaling of sudden loud noises and startling moments in advance, designated quiet areas, trained volunteers, and the free use of electronic devices during performances. The center also offers a social story titled “I’m Going to the Theatre” that parents can use to prepare their children ahead of their visit.