As a parent, you want to take your children to places that are fun and will make them happy but also be beneficial to their emotional and educational growth. Many museums and attractions are actively working to make visits more accommodating to those who have special needs. The best way to tell if a particular museum will be ready for you is to pre-plan the trip and do some research online.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis would like to help prepare your family ahead of time for some of the sights and sounds they will experience. For example, if you have a child with ASD or sensory issues, you have no doubt learned that he or she often benefits from knowing what to expect when they are facing a new and unknown experience such as visiting a museum. Prior to your visit, you may want to read about sensory stories with your child. These stories will help prepare you and your child for some of the sights and sounds you will encounter in the museum and let you determine any areas that may be over-stimulating or anxiety-producing. Printing the pages in advance, bringing the book with you and using it as a “visual agenda” for your visit may help your child with transitioning from one area of the museum to the next.
Feel free to download a sensory map or pick one up when you arrive. These maps include symbols to help guide you through your visit. The symbols indicate if a particular area is loud, quiet or bright. Designated quiet areas may be found on each floor of the museum. Fidget toy kits and noise-reducing headphones are also available to check out from the Concierge Desk.
The Children’s Museum also works hard to provide barrier-free access for visitors in wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are available for free in the coat check area on a first-come, first-served basis. There are only a handful of areas in the 500,000 square foot building that are less accessible due to the historic nature or natural habitat of certain artifacts, but the museum strives hard to ensure that visitors can experience a wide range of offerings that allow everyone to participate.
Lilly Theater productions include at least one ASL performance during the run of each show and assisted listening devices are available on a first-come, first-served basis. American Sign Language (ASL) Performances and ASL interpreters are also provided for select Lilly Theater performances.
A complimentary admission ticket to The Children’s Museum can be issued to a licensed care provider for visitors requiring medical assistance to visit. To receive a ticket, the care provider must provide an employee badge from a licensed facility and a matching photo ID.
Another convenience some folks appreciate is that families are allowed to bring their own lunches and snacks into the museum to eat in designated areas. The Food Court offers a number of allergy-friendly menu options. Please keep in mind that most museums do not allow food in various exhibits or galleries out of respect for visitors with severe food allergies and to protect artifacts.
If you are planning a trip to the museum and need special accommodations beyond those mentioned above, you are encouraged to make arrangements in advance by calling (317) 334-4000.