Sensory-Friendly Activities, Events and Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Locations in SWMI

Gull Meadow Farms Sensory Bags sensory-friendly activities

cover photo: Gull Meadow Farms

Discover Sensory-Friendly Activities near Kalamazoo

From museums to movie theatres and playgrounds, SWMI has a growing list of organizations that are accommodating and accessible for individuals with disabilities and sensory sensitivities.

This allows families of all needs and abilities to bond together through fun and learning while discovering things to do in Kalamazoo

Read on for activities, businesses and special events that put forth special effort into creating an inclusive environment for all visitors.

The KultureCity App Helps Find Sensory-Friendly Activities

KultureCity is nation’s leading nonprofit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities. They certify facilities as sensory inclusive, train organizations and provide sensory bags.

Download their app to find Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Locations near you and read their social stories.

App Store

Google Play

Air Zoo
Sensory bags and Headphone Zone at the Air Zoo in Portage MI

SWMI Sensory-Friendly Places to Play Indoors

We’ve found multiple spots around Kalamazoo that include sensory-friendly activities. Some offer specific events or times for play, while others provide sensory bags or tools to make your visit more enjoyable.

And, make sure to review specific sensory-friendly events happening year-round.

We’re thrilled to see such businesses take the lead and hope to see more places follow suit.

Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center

2255 W Centre Ave, Portage MI 49024

This non-profit, community haven offers support and resources for families and caregivers of individuals with developmental and learning disabilities. Their inclusive events and recreational, educational, and social clubs are open to everyone.

Their onsite Waves Sensory Hair Salon offers accommodating hair appointments for all ages and sensitivities.

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Ripple Effects Community Inclusion Center

Air Zoo

6151 Portage Rd, Portage MI 49002

The Air Zoo partnered with KultureCity to become a Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Location in 2021. They offer sensory bags and weighted lap pads to borrow during your visit (ask the ticketing desk or gift shop).

Air Zoo Social Story

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Air Zoo

~ Air Zoo Trip Planner

Grand Rapids Public Museum

272 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504

GRPM is a Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Location and partnered with KultureCity to train team members to assist guests with sensory needs. Sensory tools such as noise-cancelling headphones, weighted lap pads and fidget spinners can be checked out at the front desk.

The museum also has a quiet, private room available for any guest to use. During your visit, ask any GRPM staff member if you need to use The Quiet Room.

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Kalamazoo Valley Museum

230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo MI 49003

KVM provides sensory tools kits (fidget, bubble fidget tools, calming activity cards, and quieting earmuffs) at the front desk. Wiggle cushions, hearing protection, resistance bands, and a variety of lap and hand-held fidgets are available for use in the planetarium and theater.

For hands-on programs, a quiet space is set aside for children with sensory sensitivities to work on their crafts.

As a bonus, admission is always free to KVM, for all ages.

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Find sensory-friendly activities at the KVM

Kalamazoo Libraries

Kalamazoo’s public library branches are Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Locations, offering sensory bags, lap pads and headphone zones. You can also find their social stories in the KultureCity app.

Locations: Oshtemo, Washington Square, Central Library, Alma Powell and Eastwood branches

Kalamazoo Public Library
KPL Central Library, 315 S Rose St, Kalamazoo MI 49007 (image: KPL)

Kids ‘n’ Stuff Children’s Museum

301 S Superior St, Albion MI 49224

Kids ‘n’ Stuff in Albion hosts a Sensory Safe Playtime program once per month, on Sundays. During this time period, visitors are invited to play with limited crowds, low lighting and limited background noise.

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children's museums in Michigan

Movies & Live Performances

Many performing arts centers in SWMI have sensory-friendly showings and sensory kits available for visitors.

Celebration Cinema Crossroads

6600 Ring Rd, Portage MI 49024

Celebration Cinema Crossroads in Portage hosts Sensory Showtimes developed in part with the Family Hope Foundation. Lights are dim, but remain on. The volume is lowered and movies begin at showtime with limited previews.

Cheering, calling out, clapping, and strolling around the theatre is welcomed. 

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Center Stage Theatre Kalamazoo

2107 N 26th St, Kalamazoo MI 49048

Center Stage Theatre provides a sensory-friendly performance for their seasonal shows. This organization also works with a Disability Inclusion Committee. All shows take place at the Comstock Community Auditorium.

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Farmers Alley Theatre

221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo MI 49007

Farmers Alley Theatre is proud to offer sensory-friendly performances. Here’s what to expect:

  • Lower sound and light levels; all strobe light effects removed.
  • House lights on at a low level throughout the performance.
  • Audience members are welcome to stand, move around, and enter and leave the theatre as needed.
  • Designated quiet and calm spaces.
  • Sensory supports available (fidgets, earplugs).
  • Audience members are welcome to bring their own manipulatives, seat cushions, comfort objects, headphones, electronics, special snacks, and other support items to the show.
Farmers Alley

Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

329 S Park St, Kalamazoo MI 49007

The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre offers sensory-friendly performances for all of their Civic Youth Theatre productions.

The Civic is also part of the nationally recognized Penguin Project. They give youth and young adults with disabilities the opportunities to participate directly in the community theatre experience.

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Civic Theatre Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

359 S Kalamazoo Mall, Ste 100 Kalamazoo MI 49007

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra has sensory tools available for shows at their marketing table to make performances more comfortable. They offer headphones, sunglasses, earplugs and fidget toys to borrow. 

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Outdoor Play

These outdoor spots offer inclusive play equipment, activities or sensory kits for visitors.

Binder Park Zoo

7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek MI 49014

Binder Park Zoo has been a Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Location since 2020.

Sensory bags containing special KCVIP badges, fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, and other resources are available for checkout (at no cost by leaving an ID) at the Guest Services Booth at the zoo. Weighted lap pads are also available to borrow.

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Binder Park Zoo

~ Binder Park Zoo Trip Planner

Gull Meadow Farms

8544 Gull Rd, Richland MI 49083

Gull Meadow Farms partnered with KultureCity and became a Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Location in 2019. They offer sensory bags filled with noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, special badges, and weighted lap blankets by request.

Gull Meadow Farms

~ Gull Meadow Farms Trip Planner

John Ball Zoo

1300 W Fulton St, Grand Rapids MI 49504

Located in Grand Rapids, John Ball Zoo has been a Sensory Inclusive™ Certified Location by KultureCity since 2019.

Visitors can find sensory bags at the guest services desk near the admission booth. The bags include noise-canceling headphones, lap pads, fidget toys and a feeling card.

Headphone zones are located at the budgie aviary, the aquarium, the Natural Treasures building, and the chimpanzee indoor viewing area.

Quiet areas are located on the Waterfall Trail, Forest Realm Trail, chimpanzee viewing tunnel, and between the North American turtle and Canada lynx habitats.

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John Ball Zoo Tiger

~ John Ball Zoo Trip Planner

Southwest Michigan Miracle League

12733 US-131, Schoolcraft MI 49087

The Miracle League provides a safe and fun environment where kids with disabilities can enjoy themselves and experience the camaraderie of playing baseball in a field all their own. Players range from 5-19 years old.

Games are played on the SMML baseball field in Schoolcraft.

SWMI Miracle League
image: SWMI Miracle League (JT Photography)

Sherman Lake YMCA Camp

6225 N 39th St, Augusta MI 49012

A Certified Sensory Inclusive Venue, the Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center offers a sensory-friendly camp experience for kids ages 4-17. Sensory bags and quiet areas are provided, along with lots of fun scheduled activities.

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kids with sherman lakes staff member at camp

Full Blast Waterpark

35 Hamblin Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

During the Flash Flood Outdoor Water Park season, Full Blast hosts a Sensory Hour program. Every Monday from 10 – 11 AM, the park will have no music or flashing lights — making it a sensory-friendly safe space.

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Inclusive Playground Equipment

Many local parks and playgrounds in SWMI offer inclusive equipment to welcome all visitors to play.

We’ve highlighted a few local options here for boundless or inclusive playgrounds; there are also some traditional playgrounds that have added accessible equipment including Ramona Park in Portage, Flesher Field in Oshtemo and Milham Park in Kalamazoo.

Upjohn Park – 1000 Walter St, Kalamazoo MI 49048

Upjohn Park includes a boundless playground, skatepark, swimming pool (Kik Pool) and multiple sports courts.

Kalamazoo Park

ANYBodies Playground – 1350 Capital Ave NE, Battle Creek MI 49017

This playground in Battle Creek is fully fenced and features accessible equipment.

Families visit Battle Creek - playground
image: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau 

SWMI Miracle League Playground in Schoolcraft – 12733 US-131, Schoolcraft MI 49087

Located on The Dome’s campus in Schoolcraft, this inclusive playground invites all abilities to play.

This playground opened in June 2023 and is located next to the SMML’s baseball field.

Southwest Michigan Miracle League inclusive playground Schoolcraft MI The Dome

~ SWMI Parks & Playgrounds

Upcoming Sensory-Friendly Events

Find scheduled sensory-friendly play times or special events with local SWMI organizations here.

If we’ve missed one, please submit it to our calendar.