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Sensory Friendly Attractions in Ontario

Sensory friendly attractions are designed for visitors with sensory processing disorders (SPD). People with SPD can be over- or under-sensitive to outside factors, such as bright lights, loud sounds, tastes, and touch. Indeed, SPD can make a trip to the local movie theater or trampoline park overwhelming. However, as businesses have learned about SPD, they have worked to become more inclusive.

Below is a list of some sensory friendly attractions in Ontario that the whole family can enjoy, especially those with SPD.

Sensory Friendly Attractions in Ontario

Open Doorz Club – Richmond Hill, Ontario

To begin with, the Open Doorz Club is an indoor play and wellness centre. It welcomes people with all levels of cognitive and sensory processing needs. The Open Doorz Club has something for all visitors, such as:

  • Therapeutic swings
  • Calming sensory room
  • Trampolines
  • Steamroller slide
  • Ball pit

Skyzone Trampoline Park – Various locations

Another location is Skyzone. Skyzone is a trampoline park with locations all across Ontario. It offers sensory night events that are designed for children with autism and their caregivers. But all families with children with special needs are invited. The events offer:

  • A less crowded environment
  • Reduced or no music, depending on Skyzone location
  • Reduced lighting

Cineplex Theaters – Various locations

Next on our list is Cineplex theatres. Cineplex offers sensory friendly movie screenings for viewers, especially for people with autism to view new release films. People with autism can enjoy watching a movie with sensory friendly features, such as:

  • Increased house lighting
  • Lower speaker volume
  • Nearby calm zone for people who need a break from the movie
  • Movies in 2D format

The Factory Indoor Adventure Park – London, Ontario

The Factory is Canada’s largest indoor adventure park. It runs a sensory night the first Tuesday of every month so people with sensory needs can enjoy the attractions more comfortably.  The sensory events offer:

  • A less crowded environment
  • Reduced music
  • Reduced lighting

Upper Canada Village – Morrisburg, Ontario

Upper Canada Village is a hands-on village dating back to the 1860s. In fact, it is one of the largest living-history sites in Canada. It offers Sensory Friendly Sunday Mornings for people with SPD. People with SPD can enjoy learning in a number of ways, such as:

  • Being in a less crowded environment
  • Having hands-on opportunities
  • Talking with staff
  • Being in a comfortable environment

Chuck E. Cheese’s – Various Locations

Likewise, Chuck E. Cheese’s offers a free sensory-friendly experience on the first Sunday of every month. They also have trained and caring staff to make sure each guest has a fun visit. These events are open to all ages and do not have an admission fee. Sensory Sensitive Sundays have a wide range of sensory friendly features, such as:

  • A less crowded and quieter restaurant environment
  • Dimmed lighting
  • Quieter music and shows, or none at all
  • Limited appearances by Chuck E

Additionally, visitors are able to order off the full menu and have access to all games and rides.

Young People’s Theatre – Toronto, Ontario

The Young People’s Theatre offers relaxed performances which are well-suited for anyone who will benefit from a more relaxed environment. Additionally, the theatre has created a video and a visual guide that describes what it is like to visit the theater. The performances offer a number of comforts for those with SPD, such as:

  • Adjusted house lights
  • Relaxed attitude towards noise and movement from the audience
  • A quiet area that can be used to take a break or watch the performance on video

Toronto Zoo – Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Zoo supports an app called MagnusCards. The app is designed to help people with cognitive special needs manage daily tasks. When using the app, people with autism are better prepared for their time spent at the zoo. It is a step-by-step guide, as well as a game. The app also helps with learning. The zoo has five cards that users can download to the app, such as:

  • Entering the Zoo
  • Visiting the Indo-Malaya pavilion
  • Visiting the African Rainforest pavilion
  • Getting help at the Zoo
  • Visiting the Tundra Trek exhibit

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) – Toronto, Ontario

Lastly, the Royal Ontario Museum has increased accessibility by partnering with organizations, such as Autism Ontario and Magnusmode. A ROM visit is accessible due to:

  • Trained staff and volunteers
  • Quiet spaces throughout the museum
  • A free app to support visitors with cognitive disorders, such as Autism
  • A guide for visitors with Autism and their families

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires businesses to provide accessible customer service to people with all abilities. However, these sensory friendly attractions are taking it one step further by creating a safe and accepting environment for everyone to enjoy.