From animals and America’s favorite pastime, to nature and performance art, Rochester, NY has so much to see and do. Many area attractions have made considerations for children and adults who have autism spectrum disorders or other sensory, social, and cognitive needs so everyone can have a comfortable and enjoyable time exploring Rochester.
Here’s a list of some locations with sensory friendly activities and events to keep an eye out for!
The Rochester Red Wings
One Morrie Silver Way, Rochester, NY 14608
The Rochester Red Wings has made sure that every fan has the opportunity to comfortably enjoy a game with their new, sensory friendly suite. Located along the first base side, the suite includes interactive activities and displays, two mounted iPads, and a smart TV. Soft paint tones, muted Red Wings logos, and comfortable seating work together to provide a calming atmosphere for game goers. This room may be reserved at a reduced rate of $260/game.
The Autism Nature Trail
6787 County Rd. 38, Castile, NY 14427
Within Letchworth State Park , just a 45-minute drive from Rochester, is the Autism Nature Trail, specifically designed for visitors with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. Along the one-mile looped trail sits eight activity stations, such as the Design Zone – natural building materials to construct your own structure, Music Circle – with nature-inspired instruments and an accessible stage, and Sensory Station – a variety of outdoor items that can be touched, counted and categorized.
Seneca Park Zoo
2222 St. Paul St., Rochester, NY 14621
Certified as Sensory InclusiveTM by KultureCity, the Seneca Park Zoo campus offers comfort through quiet areas and headphone zones. Guests can also take out a sensory bag on loan, available at the Zoo shop, which includes noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, and more.
The Strong National Museum of Play
One Manhattan Square, Rochester, New York 14607
The ultimate play destination for all ages, the Strong Museum of Play holds “Sensory Friendly Sundays” during exclusive hours designed for children with special sensory, developmental, or physical needs. From 8–10 a.m., the museum will have fewer guests, reduced lights and sounds, extra visual safety signage, and designated quiet areas. The next “Sensory Friendly Sunday” is TBD, but be sure to check their calendar for future events.
Mendon Ponds Park
95 Douglas Rd., Honeoye Falls, NY
Within Mendon Ponds Park (behind the Nature Center), the largest Monroe County Park, is Sharon’s Sensory Garden. Designed for visitors with visual or physical disabilities, it features a small, constructed waterfall and raised plant beds with plant labels in both raised text and braille. With over 170 feet of plant exposure in various colors, textures, and fragrances, visitors are encouraged to touch, tear, and smell the plant life.
Look Before You Go
As you’re planning your visit to Rochester, visit the websites of these partners to see if they have any sensory friendly events planned:
Rochester City Ballet
1326 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14607
Keep an eye out for sensory friendly productions by the Rochester City Ballet, which welcome all individuals to experience the joy of live dance. These performances include an elimination of jarring sounds or special effects, allowed use of electronics, dimmed lighting, and many other exceptions which create a welcoming, judgement-free environment.
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
255 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14604
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is dedicated to introducing new people to the wonder of live symphonic music and building an audience of music lovers. In doing so, they offer sensory friendly programs throughout their season, including partnerships with local dance ensembles.
The RMSC Museum & Science Center
657 East Ave., Rochester NY, 14607
The RMSC Museum & Science Center’s “Sensory Sundays” provide activities, fidget toys, and adaptive equipment to enjoy exhibits in a safe, controlled environment. Keep a look out for future Sensory Sundays or other sensory friendly events at the RMSC, by visiting their website.