5 Sensory-Friendly Activities in San Diego
Where to find activities in San Diego for your child on the autism spectrum
San Diego Children's Discovery Museum
America’s Finest City is vibrant, busy, and energetic—all traits that can be overwhelming to our locals who are on the autism spectrum. With the holiday season upon us and memory-making to ensue, we’ve rounded up five sensory-friendly spaces and places for families seeking to explore San Diego in a peaceful, welcoming environment.
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is back onstage at The Old Globe and on December 1 at 10:30 a.m., there will be a special performance for those in need of a more toned-down version of the holiday favorite—fewer loud noises and flashing lights, a quiet area in the lobby for guests who need a break, and additional volunteers. The performance is just one part of a free day of activities, spectrum-friendly theater workshops, and a live musical performance by local band Jungle Poppins.
AMC Theatres forgoes its “Silence is Golden” policy during their Sensory Friendly Films at AMC Dine-In Poway 10, Mission Valley 20, and Palm Promenade 24. During these showings, the lights are brought up and the sound is turned down, plus you’re welcome to get up and sing and dance with your favorite characters! Family-friendly films show on the second and fourth Saturday, and films for mature audiences on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings.
Swing by the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum for their Sensory Friendly Mornings, a welcoming, quiet environment for families with children with sensory needs. Pick up a pair of noise-canceling headphones, or retreat to the designated Quiet Space if you need a little break. Sensory Friendly Mornings are every Monday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and the first Sunday of every month from 9 to 10 a.m.
With locations all over Southern California, ACEing Autism focuses on developing children’s motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and confidence through a five-to-eight-week tennis clinic. Each participant is paired with a volunteer who guides them through the learning process and at the end, they get a T-shirt and participate in an award ceremony.
Those in the autism spectrum community and their families are welcome to visit the Fleet Science Center for the special Autism Accessibility Mornings on the third Saturday of every month. Given an hour in the exhibits before the museum opens to the general public, a cool-off space, and tickets to a special Imax film screening with the house lights on and the sound turned down, it’s a chance to visit the museum in a quieter setting.