Pittsburgh’s Sensory-Friendly Family Activities

Some little ones have special needs when it comes to playing and the way they respond to their environments.

Some little ones have special needs when it comes to playing and the way they respond to their environments. Children with autism, sensory issues, or anxiety may have trouble enjoying traditional family activities and play. We’ve compiled a list of sensory friendly events throughout the city to explore with your special little ones.

If you’re seeking a thoughtful gift for a family with a special needs child, consider getting them a GiftYa to one of the wonderful venues below to use at their sensory friendly events. With GiftYa you can purchase gifts to nearly anywhere and send their to the recipient right through your phone via text.  The best part is there’s no gift cards to lug around, as it synchs up to you debit card for easy spendings.


Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Experiences that delight and inspire children with sensory accessibility
Little girl playing with sand wearing noise-canceling headphones
Image courtesy of  @pghkids IG Offering lower volumes and sound reducing headphones during sensory friendly activities.

Pittsburghkids.org | (412) 322-5058

Northside | 10 Children’s Way

Sun-Sat 10am-5pm

Sensory Friendly Play: 2nd Tuesday of the Month

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is a nationally recognized museum for children. It’s a delightful experience for all children ready for fun, hands on learning. They offer a sensory friendly afternoon which occurs the second Tuesday of every month. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Sensitivities can enjoy a fun, friendly experience in a comfortable and accepting environment. Announcement and exhibit sound volume will be reduced, and sound reducing headphones will be available.

The Carnegie Science Center

The ultimate fun-filled attraction for family adventure
Little girl playing with water wheel at Carnegie Science Center
Image courtesy of @carnegiescictr IG There’s lots to do at the Science Center but many exhibits can be overwhelming for kids with sensory issues, so they offer special sensory friendly events throughout the year.

Carnegiesciencecenter.org | (412) 237-3400

Northside | One Allegheny Avenue

Sun-Sat 10am-5pm

Sensory Friendly Events throughout the year

At any visit to the Carnegie Science Center noise cancelling headphones and sunglasses are available for visitors to borrow at no cost, on a first-come, first-served, basis. But the museum also offer various Sensory Friendly hours throughout the year. Pittsburgh museum for family fun with hands on exploration and exhibits. On March 17th, June 16th, and October 20th 2019, sensory science hours are from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The Science Center’s Sensory Friendly Science Hours will have modified exhibits throughout the Center. Lights have been adjusted in numerous exhibits including the Miniature Village and Railroad. Noisy exhibits like the “Air Hockeybot” in Roboworld will be turned off or have their sounds reduced. Other exhibits that have been modified are the “Rock-topus Reaction Challenge” in Sportsworks, the “Button Wall” in the Early Learner’s Clubhouse, the Rocket Launchers in Space Place on the First Floor, and “Can My Eyes Fool My Brain” in BodyWorks. In addition to the modified exhibits, the Science Center also creates tactile exhibits during these special hours.

AMC Theatres

The ultimate movie going experience for the whole family
Family sharing popcorn in movie seats
Image courtesy of amctheatres.com Movies can overwhelm the senses, which is why AMC has partnered with the Autism Society to offer monthly Sensory Friendly screenings.

amctheatres.com | (412) 462-6550

Multiple Pittsburgh Locations

Daily 11am-11pm

AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where they turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Their Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) of every month. Check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Premier Ballet Theatre Offering Performances for the Whole Family
Female ballerina jumping with male dancer
Image courtesy of @pittsburghballettheatre IG Enjoying a dance performance can be intimidating for children with sensory needs, but the PBT offers sensory friendly performances with many accommodations throughout the year.

Pbt.org | (412) 281-0360

Various Performances Throughout the Year

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to offer sensory-friendly performances for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities or other special needs. Shows are available throughout the year. These performances feature a friendly, supportive environment for families with a loved one with special needs. Adaptations to the performance are slight, including lower sound levels, elimination of potentially startling special effects and lighting, and house lights on at about 20%. They also relaxed the house rules- so you are free to get up, move around, and leave whenever you need to and allowed use of iPads and other electronics for therapeutic uses. They provide volunteers scattered throughout the theater to assist and direct audience members as needed, quiet areas and activity areas in the lobby for taking a break, and fidget objects and ear plugs.

Flight Fit n Fun

Indoor Family Entertainment Facility
Kids jumping on Flight Fit n Fun trampolines
Image courtesy of @flightfitnfun IG Flight Fit n Fun offers great ways to get kids active with sensory friendly nights twice a month.

FlightFitnFun.com | (412) 564-0560

Sensory Friendly Jump 1st and 3rd Tuesday 6-8pm

Facebook | Instagram

There’s so much to explore in this indoor adventure park for all ages that features trampolines, ninja warrior courses, dodgeball, climbing structures, laser mazes, ice skating, virtual reality games, and so much more! For those who prefer a quieter, less intimidating environment, they reserve the park on the first and third Tuesdays of every month from 6-8pm to provide a sensory-friendly atmosphere with calmer music and lower lighting.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Pittsburgh’s World Class Symphony with Sensory Friendly Shows
Flyer for Disney in Concert "Tale as Old as Time" featuring Disney Characters
Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Each year the PSO hosts a one major sensory friendly concert.

PittsburghSymphony.org | (412) 392-4900

Various Performances Throughout the Year

Facebook | Instagram

Each year, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hosts a sensory friendly performance that is customized especially for those with autism spectrum disorders or who have other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. In addition to their annual sensory friendly concert, all Fiddlesticks and Schooltime concerts also have sensory friendly accommodations available.

Modifications typically available at sensory friendly performances include:

Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera

Musical training for Children and Adults
Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Logo
Image courtesy of Pittsburgh CLO Pittsburgh CLO offers the New Horizon Program for children with Autism.

PittsburghCLO.org | (412) 281-3973

Program details here

Facebook | Instagram

Use the power of drama to help with teaching social skills, body language, and the mechanics of social interactions. The CLO Academy’s New Horizons Program offers classes for children on the Autism Spectrum that are staffed with qualified and experienced teaching artists, this program also features a compassionate and creative instructors for a safe and nurturing environment.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Storytime: Sensory Discoveries
Shelf of books at the library
Image courtesy of @carnegielibrary IG Enjoy a special story time designed for children with sensory needs.

CarnegieLibrary.org | (412) 921-1717

Rotating Locations Each Month

Have your child with developmental disabilities build their early literacy skills by interacting with stories, songs, and activities that will engage with all the senses. Caregivers, children, and their peers will interact in a calm, supportive environment. Each month a different location hosts the Storytime: Sensory Discover event.

It can be challenging to find fun family activities when your child has special sensory needs, but fortunately Pittsburgh has several special venues and events for these families to enjoy. If you know a family like this, gifting them tickets to one of these venues or events will surely be appreciated!


Back