Special Needs Family Outings – Updated!

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“I’m so sorry.  So sorry.  Excuse me.  Honestly, I apologize.”

Did Declan just push a child over in his excitement to go down the slide?  Did he butt in line?  Is he screaming in a movie theater?

Not this time!  This time it was another little guy who ran into me on his way to get to the trampolines.

“No problem!” I called to the woman who apologized as she ran to keep up with her son.

We were at our local trampoline park for one of my favorite things.

Special Needs Family Outings!

I love special needs family outings.


  • to see organizations think about the special needs population and to create an environment that allows for inclusion.
  • that as a caregiver, I am with other caregiver’s, providing understanding and support to one another.
  • to see the smiles on the faces of the people who are there to engage in an activity that they may not be able to enjoy otherwise.

The sound is turned down, there are low sensory areas, characters at parks do not approach people, yet wait to be approached.    Really fantastic awareness of different needs!

Here are some new outings and some of our favorites to look out for!

Urban Air Trampoline Park

If your house is anything like this house, you have a small trampoline somewhere to help a sensory seeker have a nice rhythmic bounce to meet sensory needs.  So, how cool is it that Urban Air Trampoline Park has special needs evenings?  In our town, the evenings are the first and third Tuesday of every month.  Lots of jumping, supportive environment and free pizza = one fun night for the whole family!

Bounce U

Another fun special needs family outing for us is our local bounce house, Bounce U.  The first Wednesday evening of every month is dedicated for the individuals with special needs.  Bounce U has put this info on their website for the sensory friendly event:

Sensory Bounce is a program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), and other disabilities with a sensory component, and their families. Bouncing is a fun, play-based activity in a sensory-rich environment. At Sensory Bounce, children can get a fun-filled workout, bounce, and socialize with other families in a supportive environment. We turn the music off for this event.

Special Needs Night at the Ball Park

Special Needs Families are treated to a special night at the Philadelphia Phillies.  Declan and I went and it was great.  We sat with other special needs families.  Declan must’ve changed rows and seats 4 times in one inning.  No one complained; everyone helped.  When Declan started making sounds just to make sounds, no one stared.  We were in a safe place.  It was wonderful.




Do you have an AMC near you?  We do, and take Declan to AMC Sensory Friendly Films. The lights are turned up, the volume is turned down.  Declan moves around a lot.  And it is all A-OK.  Lots of people in the room were talking, moving – no big deal.  There is so much support and understanding.  They are perfect!


The Variety Club

We are members of our local Variety Club.  The Variety Club is fantastic.  It provides information, resources and coordinates events for Special Needs Family’s to attend. We have gone to many events with the Variety Club, including Sesame Place, Adventure Aquarium and The Please Touch Museum for a couple of years now.  These events are geared towards the special needs population and allow special needs families different outing opportunities.


MLB Autism Awareness Nights

The MLB has made a special night for each MLB team during Autism Awareness month.  Declan got to go to his first MLB game this year.  He loved it!  Did he know there was a game going on?  I don’t know.  But he got to experience the ball park.  The sound, the smells, the food, the atmosphere.  And he loved it!   We only made it through about 2 innings in our section, but it was worth it to have the opportunity!


Taking Declan out can be very stressful. Sometimes the surroundings are too loud, too crowded, to bright.  Sometimes we don’t have understanding surrounding our family.  We may have thought we planned and prepared for everything, just to have the unexpected happen.  You hope that you have the support of caring people like Kelvin Moon Loh who wrote this after a boy with autism interrupted a performance on Broadway.

So it is always nice to be on the lookout for Special Needs Family Outings available in your area.  I hope this helps – I know we are always looking!


9 thoughts on “Special Needs Family Outings – Updated!

  1. was unaware such things existed! Thanks for enlightening these opportunities for the rest of us to be on the lookout for in our areas of the world!

  2. That’s wonderful! He’s able to run and jump and play and at the same time be understood and socially accepted.

  3. This wee post tugged on my heartstrings a tad..I loved that,I love how you and Declan have basically “no flaws” for one of those well spent days out..and everyone comes together,because we are all rocking that same boat..and yes we understand all the differences but we pass no remarks because it’s what we together live with and we will build each other up instead of knocking others down..wee Declan sounds like a real happy Chappy ❤

    1. Thank you! I love our outings – the special needs community is tremendous. He is a real happy chappy 🙂

  4. We belong to the NAS and have been able go on a number of autism friendly outings, notably The Science Museum in London and also LEGOLAND. We had a great time at LEGOLAND as the day was particularly for children with SEN. It was only marred by the usual fair ground type attraction, which in this case was trying to throw 3 balls into a bucket to win a giant doughnut cushion. It ended in complete meltdown for us – to be honest it would be better for me to buy one or make one. Organisations needs to think about this. We have a bowling alley near us which has an Early Bird session from time to time. During that time they also turn off the other attractions – the type of machine where you have to put in loads of money to try to win a cheap toy. At least then you can tell your child that the machine is not working.

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