Lots of play spots around town have times blocked off for kids with special needs that include attention to details like lighting and volume control. Check out this list to get you started on a fun time with your special needs child.
JUMP AND PLAY TIME
7082 Columbia Road, Maineville, 513-339-1030
1335 Donaldson Road, Erlanger, 859-371-5729
Players with special needs can bring a friend or family member to play free laser tag or jump in the trampoline park with the purchase of their own admission ticket (jump socks not included and are $2 per pair). Reservations are recommended for Special Needs Night, held on the first Thursday of each month.
Big Shots Sports Training
885 St. Rt. 28, Milford, 513-831-7383
7267 Yankee Road, Liberty Township, 513-469-1333
Swish Spirit offers basketball instruction to children and young adults with disabilities – participants will meet on Sundays from 6 – 7 p.m. to learn fundamentals such as dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense as well as get to be part of a team within a basketball league.
The Red Balloon Café and Play
6200 Montgomery Road
513-620-8328 or redballooncafe.com
If your child has an aversion to water, head here on Wednesdays for Water Free Wednesday, when the water table is left empty for a different sensory experience!
Scene 75 Entertainment Center
876 State Route 28, Milford
513-965-4045 or scene75.com/about/special-needs-program/
Head to Scene75 on the first Thursday of each month (be sure to RSVP online in advance!) for good times in the interactive gaming room complete arcade games, dodge-cars, mini-golf and more.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
7522 Beechmont Ave., 513-815-5400, skyzone.com/cincinnati
11745 Commons Dr., 513-671-1333, skyzone.com/springdale
Sensory Hours featured a dialed-down version of a typical Sky Zone experience for families with special needs children. Sensory Hours at Springdale are 5 – 8 p.m. the last Monday of each month. Visit the web site for a schedule of upcoming dates and times at the Beechmont location.
YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
The Y offers adapted swim lessons for ages 3 and older with a disability. Lessons can be offered as an individual or small group and instructions are based on participants’ needs.
ACCESSIBLE PLAY SPOTS
Adventure Station in Sharon Woods
11450 Lebanon Road
513-521-7275 or greatparks.org/Sharon-woods/adventure-station-indoor-playground
Ages 2 – 12 can enjoy a fully accessible indoor playground that features safety play surfaces that are ODA inspected and certified.
Duke Energy Children’s Museum in Cincinnati Museum Center
1301 Western Ave.
513-287-7000 or cincymuseum.org
You can’t go wrong with an outing here – the Duke Energy Children’s Museum is loaded with fun sensory experiences for children, whether they visit the Energy Zone, Kids Town or join a planned program.
STORY TIMES AND MORE
Boone County Public Library, Main Branch
1786 Burlington Pike, Burlington
859-342-2665, ext. 8143 or bcpl.org
A story time for children with sensory sensitivities will be held on Nov. 10 and 17 at 10 a.m., and Sensory Playtime will meet on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Drop by for play and fun designed for children with sensory sensitivities.
Campbell County Public Library
Enjoy Family Fun for the Deaf Community on Nov. 11 at the Newport Branch (901 East 6th St.), as well as Sensory Science Story Time on Nov. 25. A special Baby Sign Story Time is held at the Cold Spring Branch (3920 Alexandria Pike) on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Also, for events requiring registration, parents can add special requests to the online form and the library will do their best to meet them!
2692 Madison Road, 513-396-8960
2785 Dixie Hwy., Crestview Hills, 859-912-7860
Regular story times (10:30 a.m. on Mon, Wed and Fri, and 11 a.m. on Sat) feature songs, games and stories and can be adapted to accommodate your child’s needs. Just give a call with any questions or concerns.
Kenton County Public Library, Covington Branch
502 Scott Blvd.
859-962-4000 or kentonlibrary.org
A sensory-friendly playgroup meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. for toys, books, a snack and coffee for the grown-ups.
MOVIES, PERFORMANCES AND MUSEUM TOURS
AMC teamed up with the Autism Society to offer movie screenings with brighter lights, reduced volume and the chance to get up, walk, dance, sing or what-have-you. Films are available on the second and fourth Saturdays for kids and Tuesday evenings for mature audiences.
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati
Season performances held at Taft Theater, 317 East 5th St.
TCT offers sensory-friendly performances this season, aimed at audience members on the autism spectrum as well as those with other special needs. Adjustments to sound and lighting will be made and special effects will be minimized. In addition, specialists will be in the downstairs theater lobby should your child need a break. These performances will take place during the 9:45 a.m. Monday performance for each MainStage at the Taft production.
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Dr.
513-721-2787 or cincinnatiartmuseum.org
The CAM hosts two programs: Autism Family Exploration, which lets children with autism explore the museum before public hours, visit sensory stops and join an art-making activity (free, RSVP not required); and Connect, which is designed for persons with developmental disabilities and their caregivers and includes a multi-sensory exploration of art and an art-making activity (free, RSVP recommended). Get a complete schedule online.
Cobb Liberty Luxury Theatre
7514 Bales St., Liberty Township
513-463-0470 or Cobbtheatres.com/libertyluxury15.aspx
Sensory Friendly Films feature brighter lighting and a reduced volume while audiences are invited, and even encouraged, to interact with the film and each other without worrying about disturbing others, so dance, sing and enjoy! Held this month on Nov. 11 and 25 at 10 a.m., visit the web site for a complete schedule.
Contemporary Arts Center
44 East Sixth St.
513-345-8400 or contemporaryartscenter.org
Free, specialized tours for visitors with disabilities can include an activity if requested in advance (contact Shawnee Turner at email@example.com). As well, Thursday Art Play programs can be adapted for families with special needs, just give a call before visiting!