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4 Sensory-Friendly Amusement Parks in the NY Metro Area

4 Sensory-Friendly Amusement Parks in the NY Metro Area

“I’m bored.” It’s the most common two words any parent hears during the summer months. And to stay ahead of that boredom, many families plan trips to beaches, pools, and local amusement parks. But many of these classic summertime locales present challenges for parents that have kids with sensory issues and other special needs.

Amusement parks and other venues are loud, crowded, and full of bright lights and unfamiliar stimuli, which can be triggering and overwhelming to some children. Fortunately, theme parks across the country are beginning to recognize this. Some amusement parks are creating special policies, areas, and even days to accommodate kids with various sensory issues.

Here are some great sensory-friendly amusement parks and play places in the NY metro area.

Sesame Place

Sesame Place was the first theme park in the United States to be officially designated by The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as a Certified Autism Center (CAC). The theme park offers specialized services to guests with autism and other special needs, including trained staff, quiet rooms, noise cancelling headphones, low sensory areas and parades, dietary exceptions, and a ride accessibility program.

100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA
Distance from NYC: 1.5 hours

Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor Water Park

This indoor water park is open year-round, and offers four sensory-friendly evenings per year called Special Evenings at Sam’s, or SEAS. These events provide fun, judgement-free evenings for kids and adults with special needs and their family and friends. At just $15 per person, a limited amount of steeply discounted tickets are sold to reduce overcrowding and noise. Lights are also dimmed, arcade games are turned off, and a quiet room is available. Special SEAS birthday parties and packages can also be purchased.

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535 NJ-73, West Berlin, NJ
Distance from NYC: 2 hours
 

Hersheypark

Guests with special needs are encouraged to fill out the amusement park’s ride accessibility questionnaire, which provides specialized ride recommendations and qualifies them to avoid crowds by skipping the line and entering the ride from special entrances.

The park also offers several quiet locations throughout the complex to provide relief from sensory stimulation.

100 Hersheypark Dr., Hershey, PA
Distance from NYC: 3 hours

Air Trampoline

This trampoline park hosts a dedicated, private special needs hour on the first Sunday of every month at 10am. During this time, the environment is less crowded, quieter, and less stimulating. Special needs birthday parties are also available.

1850 Lakeland Ave., Ronkonkoma
Distance from NYC: 1 hour