Special Events for Children with Special Needs {Updated}

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Here is our BIG LIST of upcoming events specifically designed for local families in Hampton Roads with special needs. Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach
 
When you have a special needs child or family member you aren't always able to plan family activities in the same carefree way that others do. Many local businesses and museums have begun to recognize that there is a need to allocate time for families who may need extra time, or less stress about noise and behaviors, to enjoy all that they have to offer.
 
Here is our list of upcoming events specifically designed for local families in Hampton Roads with special needs. Some events are ongoing, and some are one-time events. Please check links to confirm information and to RSVP if needed. Additions to our FREE Listings can be Submitted HERE.
 
 

  • Dates: November 10, 24 and December 1 and 15, 2019
  • Location: Yankee Candle 2200 Richmond Rd Williamsburg VA
  • Santa welcomes children of all ages and abilities! Children and families affected by autism and other developmental differences can enjoy the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa, in a more subdued environment, prior to public hours. Appointment times from 8am-9:30am BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Call 757-258-1002, ext 1070134 to reserve your spot! Bring a camera to take photos!

  • Date: November 24, 2019 from 8:30-10:30am and December 8, 2019 from 8-9:30am. Reservations required.
  • Description: We are pleased to partner with Autism Speaks and other local special needs organizations at select locations to provide the Santa Cares program this year. The program is for children and adults with special needs and abilities who would like additional assistance, extra time, or a quieter, less stressful environment in which to visit with Santa.
 
  • Date: Sunday, November 24, 2019 from 1-3pm Price $10
  • Written by Mo Willems Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma A rockin' show about being comfortable in your own skin - or suit! This rock 'n roll parable has a significant message for today's audiences, based on the hit children's book by Mo Willems. Wilbur and all his fellow naked mole rats in the Tunnel have always been well...naked. Wondering what other possibilities are out there, Wilbur discovers a love for clothing and style. When word of his new passion turns the Tunnel upside down, he proves to everyone that there's no need to be just like everyone else. A special lesson and rock show all in one, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed has energetic songs, quirky characters, and a story unlike any other. Don't be afraid to stand out, and come see this fun musical live and on stage! Free parking is available in Garage D, 1070 W. 45th Street 
 
Private Jump For Children With Special Needs at Bounce House (Chesapeake)
  • Upcoming Dates: December 1 & 29, 2019 from 9-11am
  • Location: 4300 Portsmouth Blvd, Chesapeake, Virginia 23321
  • Description: Join us for our monthly private jump designated for special needs children. The admission per child is $7 and adults are free. Adults may accompany children inside of the inflatables if need be. The event will be private from 9am-11am but all families may stay to play after we open to the public as well.
 
  • Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 from 7-8pm. Lobby doors will open at 6pm and theater doors will open approximately 6:30pm
  • Location: Sandler Center for the Performing Arts 201 Market Street Virginia Beach, VA
  • Description: Please join us as the Sandler Center Foundation hosts its second sensory-friendly performance on December 3, 2019. Experience Have You Filled A Bucket Today? The Musical at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. The play will be approximately one hour in length with no intermission; however, there will be a break room available for those who may need to leave the performance. With slight production modifications applied, the performance supports an enjoyable patron experience for those with sensory-input disorders, autism, or other developmental or cognitive disabilities and their families or caregivers.
  • Cost: The performance will be general admission ticketing with no reserved seating. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. 
 
  • Dates: December 7-8, 2019 from 9am-2pm
  • Location: Location: YMCA JT's Camp Grom, 1181 Prosperity Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
  • Description: Spend your day kayaking, climbing the 50 foot Alpine Tower, floating in our lazy river, fishing and more! All of the activities offered at Camp Grom are designed to be inclusive and adaptive! The YMCA JT's Camp Grom is a 70 acre beach style family camp that serves as an accessible, outdoor activity center for everyBODY. We are happy to service our families and children with differing abilities, Gold Star Families, and Wounded Veterans.
  • Cost: $20/per person, scholarships available. Register today at www.ymcashr.org!
 
MILITARY FAMILIES: Sensory Friendly Santa (Virginia Beach)
  • Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 1-3pm
  • Location: Gator Theater (JEB Little Creek), Virginia Beach VA
  • Description: EFMP Families! Come enjoy this free sensory-friendly event in a safe and understanding environment for you and your family and take a picture with Santa.  For more information, call your EFMP Liaisons at Fleet and Family Support Center. Register by calling 757-462-7563 
 
Santa Cares at Pembroke Mall (Virginia Beach)
  • Dates: Sunday, December 8, 2019
  • Location: Pembroke Mall, 4554 Virginia Beach Blvd, Suite 201 Virginia Beach, VA 23462
  • Description: Children within every spectrum of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session, to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa Claus during dedicated hours. Please reserve your complimentary ticket on Eventbrite - ONE TICKET per group/family, please.
  • Cost: Visits with Santa are free. Photo packages that capture holiday memories
 
Santa Cares at Greenbrier Mall (Chesapeake)
  • Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019 from 9-11am
  • Location: Greenbrier Mall, 1401 Greenbrier Parkway South, Chesapeake, VA 23320 
  • Description: People within every spectrum of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa. Please reserve your complimentary time slot. ONE TICKET PER GROUP/FAMILY, please. Families are encouraged to arrive at any time during their scheduled 15-minute time period. Upon arrival, one of Santa's helpers will provide you with a number, so that your family doesn't have to stand in a line until they are ready for you. The event will be held at Santa's Workshop. 
  • Cost: Free to visit with Santa, photo packages available for purchase. RSVP to ensure your free spot at this event.

  • Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019 from 9:30am-12pm 
  • Location: Patrick Henry Mall, 12300 Jefferson Ave. Newport News VA
  • Description: Children within every spectrum of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session, to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa Claus during dedicated hours. Please reserve your complimentary ticket on Eventbrite - ONE TICKET per group/family, please. 
  • Cost: Visits with Santa are free. Photo packages that capture holiday memories will be available for purchase at the event, pricing varies by location.
 
Santa at the Ice Palace at MacArthur Center (Norfolk)
Where: MacArthur Center, 300 Monticello Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510 
What: Visit with Santa! Visitors are transported to a winter wonderland when they step inside the spectacular holiday Ice Palace. Featuring a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, a light show and interactive fun for all ages. 
Cost: Free Visit with Santa. Photos available for purchase.
  • Calming Santa
    Sunday, December 8, 2019 from 9 – 11am
    Santa knows some children need extra patience and quiet time when visiting this year. MacArthur Center is pleased to host "Calming Santa" as an opportunity for children with autism and other special needs (and siblings) to visit with Santa in a more soothing and sensory-friendly environment during the Holiday Season.  All children who visit Santa will also receive a special gift. Reservations required and space is limited. Click here to register online.


Special Day for Special Needs at The Children’s Museum of Virginia (Portsmouth)

  • Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019 from 9-11am
  • Location: The Children's Museum of Virginia, High Street, Portsmouth VA
  • Description: Join us for a special holiday edition just for our special guests. We’ll open the museum early with time to explore the exhibits, holiday crafts, special guests, and back this year is Sock Skating. Be sure to visit the first floor for fun, games, and “skating” in your socks!
 
  • Dates: December 14 (Cat in the Hat) at 1pm This event date has been canceled.
  • Location: Barnes & Noble TCC at MacArthur Center, Norfolk
  • Description: Join Barnes & Noble for a very special story time where all books will be read aloud and signed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Children will enjoy a storytime, a character meet and greet, milk and cookies, and a craft! 
 
Christmas Respite (Virginia Beach)
  • Date: December 14, 2019 from 1-8pm
  • Location: First Baptist Norfolk 312 Kempsville Rd, Norfolk, Virginia 23502
  • Join us at First Baptist Norfolk for a fun-filled respite day designed for children & teens who have special needs and their siblings! This event runs 1-8pm, so wear your favorite pajamas! Pizza for dinner and snacks will be served. We will play with toys, [weather permitting] go to the playground, play games, decorate cookies, learn about the true meaning of Christmas, make crafts, and close with some chill time watching a Christmas movie. Parents are encouraged to attend Christmas at First, a free Christmas concert in the sanctuary at 7pm.
  • Cost: $15
 
  • Date: Saturday, December 14, 2019 from 7-10pm 
  • Location: DoubleTree by Hilton 1900 Pavilion Dr, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451 
  • Description: All teens & adults with autism are cordially invited to our Annual Winter Gala. Come enjoy the buffet, music, dancing, games, and more. Music by DJ J-ROC. 
  • Cost: Tickets required. $12 per ticket   

Sky Zone Cares (Virginia Beach)
  • Dates: Sunday, December 15, 2019 from 10am-12pm. January 19, 2020 from 10am-12pm
  • Location: Sky Zone Virginia Beach 2029 Lynnhaven Pkwy, 100A, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456  
  • Description: Sky Zone Cares is our monthly sensory-friendly event for guests with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder and special needs. This is an all ages, all bodies, all abilities event.
  • Cost: Guests with special needs get 60-minutes of jump time for $8 and one caregiver jumps free. We strongly encourage all jumpers to fill out their waivers on our website prior to arriving at the park.
 
  • Date: Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 2pm
  • Where: Naval Station Norfolk MWR 9475 Bacon Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23511 
  • Description: Don't miss out on our Sensory Friendly, Family Movie Day! This month we will be watching, The Polar Express, so come in your PJs and enjoy the movie! Doors open at 1pm and the movie begins at 2. Hot cocoa will be served. 


ONGOING EVENTS
 
Sensory Friendly Movie at Cinema Cafe (Hampton & Chesapeake)
  • Location: Greenbrier Mall, 1401 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake, VA / Hampton Riverdale, 1044 Von Schilling Dr, Hampton, VA
  • Description: We keep the lights up, turn the sound down, and avoid 3D. It is a show where people with sensory disorders can jump, shout, and move about, without fear of judgment.
  • Upcoming Dates: 
    • First Saturday of each month. Check the link for current showing!
 
  • Description: AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to bring you unique movie showings where you can feel free to be you! We turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!
  • Upcoming Dates: 
    • Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Check link for current movie schedule.

  • Description: AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to bring you unique movie showings where you can feel free to be you! We turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!
  • Upcoming Dates: 
    • Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month. Check link for current movie schedule.
  
  • Dates: Second Sunday of each month from 9-11am. November, December 2019.
  • Location: The Mariners' Museum, Newport News VA
  • Description: Have a family member, friend, or loved one that needs a tailored museum experience? Join us for Friendly Hours on the second Sunday of each month. Friendly Hours is an inclusive time where guests with mobility, cognitive, or physical challenges can experience the Museum in a less crowded environment with reduced sound and lighting. 
  • Cost: Free with $1 Museum admission! Friendly Hours will be from 9:00 – 11:00 AM, before the Museum opens to the public. Space is limited, so please register in advance to let us know you are coming.
 
Sensory Open Play at Virginia Beach Library (Virginia Beach)
  • Date: Regularly scheduled at a variety of VB Library locations
  • Location: Rotating Virginia Beach Library locations
  • Description: This program is designed to allow children ages 3-10 to explore a variety of sensory play experiences. While fun for all children, this program is appropriate for children with specialized sensory processing needs to explore sensory stimulation through games, activities and more. Not all activities are appropriate for every age and ability. Caregivers, please plan to assist your child in safely exploring the materials and activities. Online registration is required.

Funville Cares Day at Funville Virginia Beach (Chesapeake & Virginia Beach)
  • Date: The last Sunday of the month from 9-11am
  • Location: Funville Virginia Beach & Funville Chesapeake
  • Description: FunVille would like to invite you to a Judgement Free Morning for Kids with Special Needs. We will be opening our doors the last Sunday of each month from 9am - 11am and offering a calm and safe environment for kids with disabilities. We will also provide a private room for guest that need a few minutes of downtime to rest from all the fun. The admission rates will be $1 off and parents are welcome to enjoy the fun with their kids free of charge. For more information check out our Facebook page or call us at (757) 963-8683
 
Special Needs Day at Pigtails & Crewcuts (Chesapeake, Virginia Beach)
  • Date: All day on the first Wednesday of the Month 
  • Locations: 
    • Pigtails & Crewcuts: Haircuts for Kids, 1554 Laskin Rd, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
    • Pigtails & Crewcuts, 725 Eden Way N, Chesapeake, VA 23320
  • Description: We have decided to not only offer appointments before we open, for our kids with special needs, but we offer them all day on the first Wednesday of the month. Special Needs Day will allow us to have more availability and be able to designate our party room just for special needs haircuts. This way we can focus on your child and whatever accommodations they need, like no noise, low lights, special movie, etc. We have limited space, so call for an appointment today! VB: 757-422-8888 Chesapeake: 757-549-4900
  
Sensory Sunday at Chuck-E-Cheese (Chesapeake, Hampton & Virginia Beach)
  • Date: First Sunday monthly from 9-11am
  • Description: We open 2 hours early on the first Sunday of every month, specifically for children with autism and other special needs. Reduced lighting and noise. Food and games offered. Trained and caring staff
 
Here is our BIG LIST of upcoming events specifically designed for local families in Hampton Roads with special needs. Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach 
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