Sensory Friendly Holiday Activities in Kansas City

The holiday season can be a wonderful time to celebrate as a family, but if you have one or more children that are sensitive to sounds, lights, or large crowds, it can become challenging to find holiday activities that work for everyone. Fortunately, there are a few activities in the Kansas City metro that are specifically tailored to you and your loved ones.

Sensory Friendly Holiday Performances in Kansas City

Kansas City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
6 p.m., Dec.13

Image of a nutcracker standing in front of a blurred lighted Christmas tree background

Available for one showing, the sensory friendly Nutcracker performance is for families, and adults with sensory sensitivities, autism spectrum disorder, or other special needs. This includes:

  • Reduced sound levels, including loud and surprising noises
  • House lights will remain half-lit
  • Relaxed house rules…freedom to get up and move around, use of electronic devices is permitted, and permission to talk freely during the performance
  • Designated quiet spaces will be available throughout the evening
  • Trained staff, ushers, and volunteers to assist

The show runs two hours with an intermission. Tickets are $25 and can be ordered by calling 816-931-8993.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Noon on Dec. 14 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 15
The Coterie at Crown Center

4 people pose in front of The Coterie Theatre signThe Coterie Theater offers two sensory friendly showings, one afternoon and one evening.  Sensory Friendly Performances for neurodiverse audiences featuring technical adjustments, sensory supports, house lights on and flexible audience expectations. Tickets are $14-18/ticket. Purchase online or at (816) 474-6552.

Sensory Friendly Holiday Activities in Kansas City

Electric Glow at the Overland Park Arboretum

Nov 28-29, Dec 5-6, 12-13, 19-20; 4:30-8 pm (last entry at 7 p.m.)

If your children enjoy the bright lights of the season, but not the loud noises and crowds, Electric Glow provides a low-key version of the Luminary Walk where there are no musicians, trains running, or crowds. Capacity is limited, allowing for a quieter setting to wander and enjoy the lights. The cafe will be open selling hot beverages and snacks as well as adult beverages. Tickets are $10/person, children 5 and under free. Tickets available online or call 913-322-6467.

Sensory Santa Experiences in Kansas City

Sensory Santa – Lenexa

Sunday, Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
SOAR Special Needs
12201 W 88th St. Lenexa, KS 66215

This Santa event includes the following:

  • 20-minute appointment time including a low light, sensory friendly atmosphere.
  • One item that the participant will craft with the support of Santa’s Helpers. This craft item can be for them or can be used as a gift for someone else.
  • One holiday gift for registered participant chosen from Santa’s Toy Box.
  • Photo with Santa. You can also request a photo without Santa. The whole family can join in the photo, if desired. Photos will be emailed.  

Tickets are limited and cost $20/main participant, $10 each additional participant.vRegister online for best time.

Sensory Friendly Santa Photos at Zona Rosa

Sunday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m.-noon
The Grove at Zona Rosa (8600 N. Dixson Ave)

They will be offering sensory-friendly Santa Photos on two dates this holiday season in Santa’s Winter Wondering. Children with sensory sensitivities can visit with Santa in a calm, quiet setting one hour before the set opens to the general public. A$20 deposit is required per group, and all money will be applied to your photo or digital download purchase. Tickets available online. 

Sensory Friendly Santa Experience – Shawnee

Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Shawnee Civic Centre, Shawnee, KS

Waiting in line to see The Man in the Red Suit is often a challenge for little ones with sensory needs. They’ve arranged for Santa to make a special stop at the Shawnee Civic Centre for just that reason! You’ll schedule your time for a private visit and photo with Santa, and then enjoy some holiday treats and winter activities in our semi-private North Pole Lounge! Tickets are $15, and 12 time slots are available.

Sensory Santa Photo Event – Blue Springs

Sunday, Dec. 3, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Grid on Main – 803 W Main St. STE C. Blue Springs, MO 64105

The Autism Society of the Heartland presents this free event. Parents can sign up for 1 15 minute appointment for your child/children to visit Santa in a private, stress free environment. You will receive access to your photos for free and they will be emailed to you. In addition, during registration, you can provide your child’s name and holiday wish list in advance and Santa will read these in advance before photos!

Rachel Schulte
Hi! I'm a former English Literature teacher and Kansas City transplant with 3 boys - 8, 6 and 3. I've fallen in love with the city and its people and enjoy exploring the area's coffee shops, libraries, art museums, and gardens when I'm not wrangling my three little ones. Raising a child with autism has given a passion for connecting with and providing resources for other moms with neurodiverse children. On a regular day, you can find me with my nose in a book, coffee in hand, and probably trying to take on WAY more than I have time for. I'm passionate and love finding other moms who are here to do life together and make the world better.