The Lansing region prides itself on being a welcoming community and strives to provide the best experience to all guests that visit. It is our goal to be the most sensory-friendly city in Michigan! Therefore, the Greater Lansing CVB is collaborating with regional attractions to provide a supportive and welcoming environment for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental disabilities, sensory processing disorder, and other neurodiverse individuals and their families. Many attractions and hotels have undergone training to better meet the needs of our neurodiverse guests. Over 1,000 people have been trained and that number continues to grow! The facilities listed below offer sensory-friendly performances, activities and events. The majority of these attractions also have sensory toolkits available to check out as needed. Please contact the attractions directly for details on their offerings.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the majority of the festivals and events listed in this calendar have been cancelled or postponed. If you have any questions, please reach out to the individual event directly to confirm it is still taking place.
Updated June 3, 2020
Wharton Center offers live Sensory-Friendly Performances (SFPs) throughout the season, with activities, quiet spaces, and trained staff -- all within a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment. The lights are not quite as bright, or as black; sound is adjusted to accommodate sensitive ears. The audience is welcome to bring comfort devices and sound-cancelling headphones if needed. Parsons Dance SFP takes place on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 2 p.m. Upcoming Act One Sensory Friendly Performances include Dogman: the Musical on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. and Miss Nelson has a Field Day on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. Find Wharton SFP information here.
Call 1-800-WHARTON for more information.
The Abrams Planetarium offers sensory friendly shows on the third Sunday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. These shows will run with the lights up, the sound down, and the theater doors open so people can move about as needed. A place to "chill out" is provided in the lobby. All shows include a live star talk about what is up in the sky that night which follows a short break between the main show and star talk. Information about what to expect during the show will be provided when you purchase tickets.
Click here or call (517) 355-4676 for more information.
Lights up! Sound down! Enjoy the BIG SCREEN experience in an accepting environment at Celebration Cinema. Developed in partnership with Family Hope Foundation, Sensory Showtimes make movies extra welcoming to guests with special needs. Click here for sensory showtimes.
Call (517) 272-9289 for more information.
NCG Sensory Friendly Movies are shown without previews, the sound lowered and the lights up. Talking, shouting, screaming and running in the theater is allowed. Certified by Special Need Communities. Find sensory friendly movies at NCG Cinema here.
Call (517) 316-9101 for more information.
The MSU Museum reaches a broad and diverse audience through strong, varied, and accessible collections. For visitors with sensitivities to changes in light and sound, please be aware of the following gallery characteristics, activities, and mechanisms. Feel free to contact the Education Team if you have any questions or need assistance. MSU Museum will provide a sensory friendly museum environment on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. – noon starting in September 2019 through May 2020. Note: Most spaces in the Museum are brightly lighted. Lower-light galleries include the Hall of Evolution, Hall of World Cultures, and Heritage Hall. Click here for more information.
Potter Park Zoo is the first Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoo in Michigan to become a Certified Sensory Inclusive Zoo!
FALCONERS (Families of Alternative Learners Connecting Empathy, Responsibility and Stewardship) is a program which gives children with autism and their entire families opportunities to have engaging and meaningful experiences in a safe, welcoming and inclusive setting at Potter Park Zoo (PPZ). Thematic FALCONERS events are held each month throughout the year and feature three hours of fun, educational and interactive activities with elements and options for all age and cognitive levels, are appropriate for guests no matter where they fall on the autism spectrum, and these activities are also designed to engage siblings and other family members in the fun and learning. Learn More!
Call (517) 342-2713 for more information. Join the FALCONER'S group on Facebook.
*Please note that events have been suspended for May-August 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation.
Enjoy the Impression 5 Science Center's special hours designed for an experience that limits the number of guests, includes sensory rooms and quiet spaces with select exhibits, altered to reduce sounds, scents, and lighting stimuli. Register online to reserve space for your family!
Check our calendar of events for upcoming Impression 5 dates!
Do you have a jumper with special needs? Join us for V.I.P Time every second Monday of the month from 6 - 8 p.m., when Launch in Lansing transforms into a quieter, private time that’s open exclusively for jumpers with special needs and their families. One parent or guardian gets to jump for free with each paid V.I.P. Time Admission. Siblings are welcome to join in the fun too at the discounted admission rate. You can learn more here.
For a list with virtual tours of even more of Greater Lansing's greatest spots and attractions, visit our partners at Able Eyes and take a look!
The Visitor Center at Fenner offers exhibits that accommodate a variety of learning levels , each with varying stimulation so all visitors can engage with the exhibits at their own level of comfort. The Center also recently installed sensory safe LED lighting and keeps its tablets/audio visual features at sensory safe volume levels.
Call (517) 483-4224 for more information.
The Michigan State Capitol Tour Guide and Information Service serves to share the Capitol’s extraordinary history, art, architecture and use with the public and to help visitors better understand how laws are made. Our goal is to make every visitor feel welcome in their Capitol. Please contact us if we can assist with any accommodations to make a visit to the Capitol as welcoming and easy as possible.
Preuss Pets is a Pet Store with a Purpose. We encourage meaningful connections between people and pets by providing healthy animals, quality pet products, and community education. Winner of the National Retail Educator of the Year award in Pet Product News, Preuss Pets strives to provide an educational experience for everyone who visits. Visitors will be greeted by an in-store river bursting with colorful koi fish and even have an opportunity to feed them! Other attractions include our classroom, a safari bus, and a fish department full of calming underwater fish. Guests can call our education coordinator in advance to arrange a private tour.
Call (517) 599-5656 for more information.
Woldumar Nature Center sits on 178 acres of woodland, prairie and wetland terrains, with over a mile of shoreline on the Grand River. Walk along trails and observe the new and exciting differences during each season of the year. Each family member can find something of interest here! Guests can call the Nature Center in advance to determine sensory friendly times to visit.
Call (517) 322-0030 for more information.
Throughout the Greater Lansing community, over 850 individuals have completed a customized training to have a better understanding of how to be prepared to serve and welcome our neurodiverse guests through specialized instructors from Residential Options, Inc., Michigan State University and the Mid-Michigan Autism Association. (Since 1984, ROI has specialized in evidence-based practices and therapeutic intervention for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related developmental disabilities. We have worked alongside families to provide real opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities. We know that a lifetime of support services that fit your family can make a world of difference.)
The following locations have had the majority of their team members participate in the local trainings:
The following attractions have a sensory toolkit available on site to borrow while you visit. The toolkits contain noise-canceling headphones and a variety of fidgets and are available to guests who may feel overwhelmed by the new environment.
The Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau has a Certified Autism Travel Professional able to assist with a specific questions about traveling to our community. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any further assistance that we can provide.
Below are links to some of the great news articles regarding this growing movement to become a more neurodiverse community:
- [VIDEO] Katlyn speaks with Juile Pingston of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau about the region's sensory-friendly offerings.
- See was Metro Parent has to say about Greater Lansing's exciting sensory friendly offerings!
- Here’s some great exposure in Grand Rapids on TV8 with sensory friendly information highlighted at about the 2 minute mark of the clip.
- Junie B. Jones and Beyond: How Wharton Center is Leading the Way in Cultivating the Arts for the Needs of a Neurodiverse Community.
- Capital Area Women's Lifestyle Magazine: AREA WORKS TO MEET NEURO-DIVERSE NEEDS
- ‘Most sensory-friendly city in Michigan’ continues opening activities to families
- Bill Geist with Destination Marketing Organization Univeristy speaks with Julie Pingston on Greater Lansing's commitment to a sensory friendly destination.