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.
In this Guide
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ANYBodies Playground – 1350 Capital Ave NE, Battle Creek MI 49017
This playground in Battle Creek is fully fenced and features accessible equipment.
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.
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.