Sensory Friendly Guide to Kansas City Activities and Venues

Many family friendly spots in Kansas City are opening up sensory friendly days, offering sensory kits or sensory rooms to provide more inclusivity to all children (and adults). This guide highlights some of the best sensory friendly accommodations and opportunities for kids in Kansas City.

Special Sensory Sessions at Kansas City Attractions

Sensory Sunday at Union Station

Sensory Sundays are returning to Science City at Union Station from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This time is aimed at providing a more welcoming space for guests on the Autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities.

Sound effects will be turned off, and there will be only minimal lighting effects. Special sensory friendly activities will be available, and there will be designated quiet areas. At 11:30 a.m., our staff will begin turning on Science City’s regular noises, lights, and attractions, ready for opening to the general public at noon. Those attending in the morning can stay throughout the day until close at 5 p.m.

KidsScape at Joco Museum Sensory Friendly Monday

Come enjoy the Johnson County Museum and KidScape in a comfortable, low-sensory environment. Sensory friendly days are offered monthly on the first Monday of the month (unless closed for a holiday), from 9 a.m. to noon.

This limited-occupancy session is designed specifically for children with sensory processing differences and Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.Hand fidgets, comfort items, weighted blankets and vests, and mobility devices are welcomed.

This program is offered in partnership with Britain Development, a program of Advent Health Shawnee Mission. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Wonderscope Sensory Friendly Days

Wonderscope is making this new opportunity available to individual families with children that have a breadth of sensory concerns that would benefit from a more controlled play space.  In addition to free play across all of spaces and exhibits, pop-ups will be included and modified.

To ensure a positive experience for our guests with sensory concerns, it is important only families with children with sensory needs make a reservation for our Sensory Friendly Mondays, which is offered the second Monday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

Individual families will be able to reserve a spot the week prior to the event.

Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium

The zoo is such a great place for sensory sensitive children. Open spaces, quiet in nature and lots of calm areas. If it is going to be extra sunny, I always bring sunglasses and a hat to calm the bright light. For extra hot days, we have portable fans so they are in control of their temperature.

The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium is happy to check out sensory bags, which include noise-canceling headphones. Weighted blankets are also available at Guest Relations.

Before your visit, be sure to download the Sensory Friendly App for the Zoo. This is an excellent resource for planning your visit.

>> RECOMMENDED READ: The Mom’s Guide to the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium <<

Nelson Atkins Museum

Participants are invited to the museum an hour before the public in order to provide a quiet and low-stimulating environment where you can enjoy hands-on art making activities and art in the galleries. Visual resources, hand fidgets, a low sensory break room and other accommodations will be provided. This is an activity for families and care partners with children with autism or who have sensory sensitivities.

Nelson Atkins has created an incredible social story for you to go over with your child before your visit. Check it out here.

Sensory Friendly Resources for Live Entertainment in Kansas City

Arrowhead Stadium

Taking a sensory sensitive child to a Chief’s game is daunting, but Arrowhead Stadium does an excellent job at helping our sensory kiddos have an enjoyable time. Sensory kits are available during all major stadium events to help guests self-regulate to reduce the impact of sensory stimuli. Guests may visit Fans First 131, Fans First 341, Fans First 318 or the GEHA Concierge desk to check out a kit, free of charge.

Two sensory rooms are located just inside Gate G on the Plaza Level. These rooms create a safe space and calming environment for guests with sensory needs, allowing them to regulate and decompress. Each room is equipped with the proper items and tools best suited to help guests feel calm when overwhelmed.

Children’s Mercy Park

Sporting KC game

Variety KC Sensory Kits are available for check-out at First Aid Stations and the DJ Booth inside of the Budweiser Brew House. Each kit contains noise-reducing headphones, a weighted lap pad, and sensory toys.

Fans are welcome to use the Variety KC Sensory Room located on the east side of the stadium. Contact a Fan Service associate to be escorted to the room, which offers comfortable seating, a TV, sensory toys, dimmed lights, water features, and electrical wall outlets.

CPKC Stadium

Sensory Rooms are available for guests who are experiencing sensory overload. These spaces are located on the NW corner behind sections 110/111 and on the SW corner behind sections 131/132.

Sensory kits are available to help guests self-regulate to reduce the impact of sensory stimuli at the Guest Services Center.

Adult Changing Tables are available on the Northwest side of the stadium, behind Section 110 & 111, as well as inside the Premium area, adjacent to the Pitch Club.

Noise canceling headphones and assistive listening devices are available for checkout at the Guest Services Center. Headphones are permitted inside CPKC Stadium.

Kauffman Stadium

The Kansas City Royals have partnered with JE Dunn and KultureCity to make all events hosted at Kauffman Stadium to be sensory inclusive. There are two sensory rooms located on both the 1st (section 136) base and 3rd (section 119) base dugout concourses and are easily accessible through the wing elevators on both sides of the stadium. There are also eight quiet areas located around the stadium, and Sensory bags are available for check-out in both the plaza and view level guest services. The sensory rooms are full of comfy bean bags, cozy chairs, quiet environment to re-regulate and fidgets.

>> RECOMMENDED READ: Guide to Royals Games at Kauffman Stadium<<


The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts has teamed with Variety KC for sensory accommodations.

Patrons who would benefit from the use of a private, relaxing environment are invited to step into one of two Serenity Rooms, which offer comfortable seating and a monitor to view the live performance, plus sensory items, dimmable lights, and an electrical wall outlet. Patrons may contact a staff member or volunteer to access this space.

Patrons who would benefit from comforting sensory resources are invited to exchange an ID card for complimentary use of a Sensory Kit from Coat Check on the Plaza Lobby Level. Each kit contains resources such as noise-reducing headphones, a weighted lap pad, and a handheld sensory item.

Starlight Theatre

Starlight is a great spot to introduce your child to the world of theater. They have an expansive seating so you can go further back from the stage, shows begin under the stars so you don’t have to worry about the bright light of the sun, seat cushions available for a more comfortable chair and lots of areas to walk around.

Starlight offers sensory kits for guests in need of noise-canceling headsets, weighted blankets, and fidget toys, available for check out at the Guest Information Kiosk.

Mom Tips for a Successful Outing

Creating a plan before you take your sensory sensitive child to activities outside your typical schedule can be discouraging. You can plan and prepare but until you are in the new environment, you cannot anticipate your child’s reaction and responses. I have learned not to set expectations for new environments. Letting your child be involved in the plan, giving choices and being flexible are key.

If you attend a show, sporting event or new activity and the experience is short lived; give yourself a pat on the back for showing your child this new venture. I used to put myself down and say “I can’t believe I took them somewhere and made them so uncomfortable, I feel awful.”

I have since turned that around and when we leave early I encourage them in how brave they were to come somewhere new. I let them know I empathize with them on how going to new places can be overwhelming. Building them up so next time, maybe they will feel a little less dysregulation. I am thankful to be in a city where we have options to take our sensory sensitive children and am hopeful this list will continue to grow!

Emily Gafford
I am a mom of two girls, 4 & 6 and a baby boy who arrived in June as well as our fur-baby, Walter. I've been married to my southern raised, patient and silly husband for 8 years. Born and raised in Kansas City, I am naturally an avid Chiefs fan. I am the Director of E-Commerce & Retail at J. Rieger & Co. distillery and thoroughly enjoy being a full time-working mom. I am an open book and hope that my real stories of what works for our family and the raw emotions that come with each of life's curve balls helps guide other families along their journey. Being a Mom of two wildly active girls, one whose spirit needs some extra attention, I am currently navigating child advocacy and support for parents who lean on professional resources for children with behavioral disorders. I love getting lost in the kitchen or a book, going on walks and spending time with friends & family.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here