Sensory Friendly Places to Play this Summer


For East Valley families with children who experience sensory processing challenges, finding suitable places to play can often be a daunting task. 

However, there is a silver lining – an increasing number of sensory-friendly play spaces are emerging, designed to accommodate the diverse needs of all children. 

Today I’m sharing some sensory-friendly play spaces to explore some of the best destinations for inclusive play.




AMC Theaters

Sensory Friendly Films

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Please check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes, and don’t forget to share your family fun with #AMCSensoryFriendly.

Arizona Museum of Natural History, Downtown Mesa 

The Arizona Museum of Natural History provides comprehensive sensory guides for each gallery, offering essential details about lighting and noise levels to assist families in planning their visit effectively. 

Additionally, visitors can request noise-canceling headphones and light-sensitive glasses for added comfort. The museum includes quiet zones, tactile elements, and the Exploration Station, offering interactive hands-on activities. Moreover, to promote accessibility, the museum offers complimentary American Sign Language self-guided tours. Guests can access tablets at the front desk or embark on a virtual 360-degree tour from the comfort of their homes. Learn more at


i.d.e.a. Museum, Downtown Mesa

The i.d.e.a. Museum, located within Mesa Arts and Culture, is another exceptional destination dedicated to meeting the needs of all visitors. Throughout its gallery spaces, the museum provides sensory guides containing valuable information to enrich the visitor experience. For added convenience, a limited number of sensory backpacks are available for checkout at the front desk, and guests can also request lap desks. Thoughtfully incorporated quiet spaces throughout the museum cater to those who benefit from reduced noise levels. Explore more at

Elevate Mesa

On Sunday mornings, the music and lights get turned down, but the amount of fun you’ll have is still out of this world! 9-10 a.m., $10/jumper with one free caretaker. Elevate requires all guests to have Elevate grip socks ($3 + tax).

Sky Zone Chandler

Chandler, Arizona

Sensory time will have the music off and all lights dimmed – $12 for 2 hours during sensory time, which is every Sunday morning from 9-11 a.m. 

Aspire Open Gym: Sensory-friendly open gym 

chandler, Arizona 

Quiet music will be played in the gym, but families can request any adjustments before to better accommodate their child. Parents need to check in at the front desk for sensory friendly open gym! Children 5 – 6 years old can attend on Mondays from 4: 30pm – 5:25pm with invitations only !

Sensory-friendly play spaces play a crucial role in fostering inclusivity and accessibility for children of all abilities. By creating environments that accommodate sensory sensitivities, these spaces empower children to explore, learn, and play in ways that support their unique needs. 

Whether it’s swinging on a sensory gym swing or discovering new worlds in a sensory-friendly museum exhibit, every child deserves the opportunity to play and thrive in an environment that celebrates their diversity. Let’s continue to advocate for more sensory-friendly play spaces and create a world where every child feels welcome and included.


Mesa Arts Center festivals 

Mesa Arts Center has recently expanded its designated sensory spaces for festivals, aiming to enable more guests to fully participate. As part of this initiative, the Día de los Muertos Festival introduced a Relaxed Hour on Sunday last year from 9-10 a.m. This dedicated hour provided a welcoming and inclusive environment for individuals and families with sensory sensitivities. For further details about the offerings from each organization and to plan a visit tailored to your interests, or if you require specific accommodations not mentioned, we encourage you to reach out to the organization directly. They are committed to supporting you and your family’s needs and continually enhancing the accessibility and inclusivity of their facilities and programs. You will find valuable resources and information to ensure a memorable experience for your family.


Mesa is the nation’s first Autism Certified City

Mesa is the nation’s first Autism Certified City, and there’s more than 60 businesses that have gone through the Autism Certification the City offers. From hotels to restaurants and attractions, these businesses have committed to welcoming families on the spectrum to experience Mesa and fully enjoy all the city has to offer. 

Visit Mesa has created a passport that offers a prize if families visit five or more Autism-certified businesses.  More about the passport here.



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