Holiday Attractions + Shopping Meet Special Needs

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Many local attractions have added accessibility efforts to be inclusive this time of year!

The holiday’s are a wonderful time of year… but with bright lights and loud holiday music playing, some kiddos may get overwhelmed. Lots of local attractions have special needs children in mind this time of year (and beyond, too!). Check these inclusive attractions out, below. Then, keep scrolling for some great special needs gift ideas, too!  Happy Holidays to all! 

AN OLD KENTUCKY CHRISTMAS
6080 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington, Ky
anoldkentuckychristmas.com/specialneeds-event; 859-586-4673
The free attraction opens early to special needs families on Saturday, December 14 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. with added ramps into shops, extra helping hands in the stores and less crowds. A calming area will be available in the church.

 

HOLIDAY JUNCTION
Cincinnati Museum Center
1300 Western Ave., Cincinnati, Oh
cincymuseum.org/holiday-junction; 513-287-7000
Four quiet zones are located throughout the museum, equipped with minky covered weighted blankets, fidgets and more.

 

PNC FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, Oh
cincinnatizoo.org/plan-your-visit/zooaccess-or-all; 513-281-4700
Check out a sensory bag filled with chewy tubes, fidgets, bubbles, noise cancelling headphones and more. At Visitor Services, you can obtain a sensory map which highlights sensory-friendly bathrooms, the new Calming Room and also the zoo’s calm, loud, smelly, dark, interactive and crowded locations.

 

SCUBA SANTA

Newport Aquarium

1 Aquarium Way, Newport, Ky; 1-800-406-3474

https://www.newportaquarium.com/Visitor-Tips/Accessibility

Head to the Aquarium for a soothing and calming underwater sensory experience. Check in with Guest Services to borrow a pair of noise cancelling headphones, a magnifying glass or audio assistance (an ear piece which can be used during dive shows).  

More year round sensory-friendly family fun…

CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM

953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, Oh; 513-721-2787 

https://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/access

Families can prepare for a visit to the CAM with social narratives, available at the website above. At the museum, check out a See Play Learn Kit with critical thinking questions, a puppet, soft story cube, books, magnetic puzzle and more. Check out monthly Sensory Saturday programs (available the 4th Saturday of the month from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m./ No program in December, resumes in January) which are designed so families can enjoy the CAM in a relaxed environment. 

 

CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER

44 E. 6th St., Cincinnati, Oh; 513-345-8400

contemporaryartscenter.org/visit/accessibility

At the front desk, check out a sensory bag filled with fidgets, noise cancelling headphones and a sensory map. Many of the art installations in the UNmuseum include interactive and sensory stimulating components. This free museum offers two quiet spaces- the lower lobby and the 5th floor Contemplation Room. 

 

KINGS ISLAND

6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, Oh; 513-745-5700

https://www.visitkingsisland.com/help/accessibility

Dedicated to “Fun for All”, Kings Island Guest Services can help your family get the most out of your visit! 

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN:

Playing is learning! These sensory based holiday gifts will surely be a hit…

Puzzle Pieces

11912 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati 

https://www.puzzlepiecesohio.com

Find nesting swings, compression clothing, fidgets, chewies, weighted blankets, weighted stuffed animals and so much more at this interactive, judgement-free store. Head to Puzzle Pieces to test out toys and see what your child likes best! Puzzle Pieces also has shipping available at their online store and seasonal events in store, so be sure to follow them on Facebook for updates. 

 

Sensory Theraplay Box Subscription

https://www.sensorytheraplaybox.com

Monthly, 3 months or 6 months subscriptions

$39.95 per month 

Created by a pediatric Occupational Therapist. Children can engage in play and learn to self-regulate with fun new sensory toys each month! Have fun unboxing a package chocked full of goodies designed to help kiddos with sensory needs. NEW! Teen and adult sensory boxes available at sensorybox.com ! 

 

 

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).

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