Loud noises and large crowds can sometimes be too much for children on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities. Several venues in the Frederick area offer special sensory-friendly experiences serving families in Frederick County. Frederick’s Child put together the following list of several local spots.
Walkersville Southern Railroad
The Walkersville Southern Railroad will host a Sensory Friendly Summertime Excursion from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on July 30. Closed to the general public, the event is open only to individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory processing disorder along with their families and friends. Reservations are available but not required for the event. Seating is not assigned for the 70-minute rain-or-shine ride so that folks can choose to sit in the open-air or passenger cars as well as the caboose. Be aware that the train whistle will blow when the train crosses a road.
34 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Walkersville
Summers Farm, which is moving to Middletown this year, is hosing a sensory-friendly event Sept. 26 during its annual fall season. Those on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities may come two hours before the traditional opening to enjoy smaller crowds, no music playing and lower line waiting times. This sensory-friendly event is not open to the general public. All activities are available except the apple cannon and pumpkin train. After the park opens for regular operating hours, event guests can stay to enjoy more time on the farm.
5620 Butterfly Lane, Frederick
Spinners Pinball Arcade
Spinners Pinball Arcade is a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The Frederick site is a safe space for social opportunities and enrichment for children with autism and sensory needs.
919-B N. East St., Frederick
Urban Air Adventure Park
On the first Sunday of every month, Urban Air Adventure Park in Frederick hosts Sensory Friendly Play. Offered during the early morning hours, the event provides those with autism and sensory processing disorders to come to the facility without the loud music playing and flashing lights pulsing. Be sure to check the Frederick location’s calendar each month for the times.
5830 Ballenger Creek Pike, Frederick
Warehouse Cinemas Frederick Towne Mall
Warehouse Cinemas in Frederick offers sensory-friendly movie events with past showings including “Toy Story” and “The Land Before Time.” Check the listings to see when a sensory-friendly show will take place. Regal Westview and IMAX does not offer sensory-friendly showings. At the Rockville and Gambrills Regal locations, these venues host the My Way Matinee series on select Saturdays and Tuesdays of each month. The program allows the guests to see a particular movie with the lights on and the sound down.
1301 W. Patrick St., Frederick
Chuck E. Cheese
Opening two hours before their regular time on the first Sunday of the month, Chuck E. Cheese provides a sensory-friendly experience for kids with special needs. The event offers reduced lighting and noise as well as food and games. The Frederick location has done this event in the past but is not currently listed as a Sensory Sensitive Sundays location on the main website. Call to confirm before you head out.
7210 Guilford Drive, Frederick