First of all (stands up tall on kitchen chair), EVERY PLACE in San Antonio should be inclusive for families and children with special needs. In my experience, I have found that our city is an inclusive mecca: less stares, more holding the door open, and just an overall willingness to be accepting. We are the proud citizens of the first all-accessible theme park, a place people all over the world come to check out. As a parent of a child with a disability, safety concerns and accessibility are a priority when we explore our city.
Here is a list of seven San Antonio gems for families that have some extra worries, such as children with sensory needs, those who like to stim loudly/have self-injurious behaviors/run away, and those who may need extra space to accommodate wheelchairs, because ALL children deserve to have a blast in this wonderful city of ours!
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. As the only kid’s gym that offers an inclusive philosophy, children benefit from their uniquely designed sensory equipment that is specifically designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders. However, all children are able to benefit greatly from this equipment, and by allowing children of all ability levels to play together they are able to learn a great deal from each other and become the best motivation for success on every level.
The Magik Theatre offers sensory-friendly performances for patrons on the autism spectrum or with other cognitive disabilities. During a sensory-friendly performance, house lights are kept on, sound levels are lower, audience members are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance, a designated quiet area is provided, outside snacks are permitted, and audience numbers are kept smaller, to offer an experience that will be both enjoyable and comfortable.
The DoSeum’s exclusive sensory-friendly hours allow children in need of sensory modifications to visit the DoSeum without some of the noises, effects, and crowding that hinder their ability to engage with and learn from all of the fun exhibits. These sensory-friendly hours are for any child in need of sensory modifications. This could include children on the Autism Spectrum (ASD), children with sensory processing disorders, or any child who would benefit from exhibit modifications. For some children, sound and light effects can be highly uncomfortable and too harsh. While many families bring their own, the DoSeum is happy to provide sunglasses and earplugs to make touring the DoSeum more comfortable!
iFly’s All Abilities Day is a unique event that makes the dream of flight a reality for those in the special needs community. This program has been custom designed for those with physical and cognitive challenges to create an environment of support and inclusion, while focusing on making what seems impossible, possible. Each ticket includes pre-flight training, gear rental, and access to the All Abilities Event Mixer! Private space, snacks, and soft drinks will be provided for all attendees. The standard flight process takes an average of two hours, and all guests are required to wear iFLY approved safety gear. For safety purposes, exposed metal cannot be allowed inside of the wind tunnel. Contact Anna Griffin at (210) 593-3218 or [email protected] for more information.
Santikos Sensory-Friendly Screenings are a specially designed movie experience to serve guests with intellectual special needs or other challenges, who seldom get to attend a movie night out. These family-friendly films are presented twice a month on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6:00 P.M. at Santikos Silverado, Mayan Palace, Embassy, Rialto, and Casa Blanca theaters. The auditoriums feature brighter lighting, lower sound, shorter previews, and most importantly it provides an accepting environment for families needing extra accommodations.
Our pride and joy, Morgan’s Wonderland is loads of fun for everyone! Their inclusive playground, rides, and newest park, Inspiration Island, have been created with inclusion for all in mind. Even with crowds, my fellow moms of kids with special needs agree that they feel safe with the added personnel and design of the park. Here is an excellent recap of the fun that awaits at Morgan’s Wonderland: https://alamocity.citymomsblog.com/2016/03/02/morgans-wonderland-ultra-accessible-fun-for-everyone/.
Recently, Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park was nominated in USA Today‘s 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award competition as a contender for Best New Attraction. Morgan’s Inspiration Island features five major tropically themed splash pads, the River Boat Adventure ride, and support facilities such as the Wheelchair Valet, where guests can transfer out of their battery-powered wheelchairs into waterproof wheelchairs for maximum aquatic fun. Read our review on the newest park here: https://alamocity.citymomsblog.com/2017/08/07/splashing-inspiration-island-morgans-wonderland/.
It’s nerve-wracking to explore new environments when you worry about your child’s special needs. But we are brave and fierce mamas who deserve to venture out to places where we can find acceptance and our children can have fun.