Places for all abilities to be who they are

Often the crowds, noise and unpredictability that come with outings to local museums and businesses can be overwhelming for children with special needs. Yet these children deserve to be exposed to the same fun and adventures.

Luckily, more local museums, theaters and businesses realize that inclusion is important and are continuing to step up and accommodate families with special needs. Many even offer special times and events just for special needs families.  

Check out these places where your kids are free to be themselves.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Held on the second Saturday of every month, Play for All at Chicago Children’s Museum invites children and families with disabilities to experience the inclusive and multi-sensory exhibits. The museum opens early for a private hour at 9 a.m. for pre-registered guests and the first 250 receive free admission. Families are welcome to stay once the museum opens to the public. 

700 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier, Chicago; (312) 527-1000

Brookfield Zoo

For the past few years in April, Brookfield Zoo has partnered with Autism Speaks, the leading autism advocacy organization, to take part in the annual Zoos Go Blue campaign. There are special Zoos Go Blue activities for families with children on the autism spectrum. With quieted carousel rides, tailored zoo chats with animals and designated areas for quiet time geared towards special needs families, the zoo becomes an easier place to manage. If visiting outside of Zoos Go Blue, Brookfield always offers a free BZ Care Kit that includes noise-reducing headphones, hard copies of visual schedules, stickers, safety alert badges and ID bracelets.

8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield; (708) 688-8000

Continue reading on page 25 of our digital edition.

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