Sensory-Friendly Places in Chicago

The city of Chicago has so many family-friendly locations where you can take your children. However, finding a sensory-friendly environment can often be challenging for parents, as many of these places can be overstimulating for sensory kids. For instance, many of our children have difficulty with auditory processing, which makes it hard to go to the movies. Other sensory children may have difficulty with processing visual stimuli, while others might be tactile defensive and have a hard time in crowded atmospheres.  

The following list offers solutions for families with children with sensory concerns, as they offer sensory-friendly accommodations: 

  1. AMC theaters offers sensory-friendly showings on the second and fourth Saturday of the month. Children are welcome to walk around if needed, lights are turned up, and the volume is reduced.  
  2. Studio Movie Grill offers ‘SMG Special Needs Screening’ where the sound of the movie is lowered, and the lights aren’t completely dimmed. They offer free admission for children with special needs, as well as for their siblings.
  3. Legoland – located in Schaumburg – offers a sensory-friendly experience on the first Saturday of every month between 8:30 – 10:00 AM.  
  4. Chicago Children’s Museum and Navy Pier offers an event in the morning on the second Saturday of the month where families with children with special needs get the place to themselves.  
  5. DuPage Children’s Museum has ‘Autism Family Day’ every third Thursday from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.
  6. Blue Man Group – shown at the Briar Street Theatre in Lakeview – offers shows with modifications, such as dim lighting and comfortable seating using bean bags. They also provide noise canceling headphones upon request.
  7. The Field Museum opens its doors to the Crown Family Playlab an hour early on certain Saturdays, so it isn’t too crowded for children with sensory needs. 
  8. Brookfield Zoo incorporates care kits upon request for free that include noise canceling headphones and visual schedules, as well as autism stickers and ID badges in case of any separations that might occur.

Talk to your child’s Eyas Landing therapist today for more specific suggestions.