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 the information and to RSVP if needed. Additions to our FREE Listings can be Submitted HERE.
 
 
Featured Listings:
 
 
 
 
SPECIAL EVENTS
 

  • Do you have a school-age child or teen who has special needs? Bring all of your children for a fun-filled day at camp, while you get 7 hours to Recharge! Kids will run through a bounce house, make crafts, pet a donkey, play games in the gym, build in the toy room, explore sensory bins, eat two meals*, and learn a Bible lesson. Registration is $15 per child, with scholarships available as needed. We are also looking for buddies to pair 1-on-1 with the friends who attend and kitchen volunteers to help prepare meals.
 
Sensory Friendly Time at Build-A-Bear (Virginia Beach & Hampton)
  • Date:  Sensory-Friendly Tuesdays are currently planned to occur on the first Tuesday of every month at all Build-A-Bear Workshop locations for the first open hour of the day. To ensure the BEARY best experience, please talk to an associate to check store hours and plan your visit.
  • Location: Build-A-Bear, Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach and Peninsula Town Center in Hampton, VA
  • Description: Build-A-Bear Workshop means fun for everyone! We’re proud to support children with autism and other special needs by providing sensory-friendly events at all Workshop locations. Sensory-Friendly Tuesdays are designed to provide a less-stimulating Workshop experience that’s still fun-filled and unforgettable. Our Bear Builders are here to make sure each Guest goes through the Build-A-Bear experience in a way that’s comfortable for them. All ages and siblings are welcome.
  • Dates: March 21, 2020, April 25, 2020, and May 23, 2020 at 3pm (pre-show activities start at 2pm)
  • Location: Varies by date (Sandler Center, Ferguson Center or Kroc Center)
  • March Event Description: Join us as we put melodies in motion! Familiar tunes will be performed by a VSO string quartet, while participants are led through fun and engaging movements including dancing, moving with scarves, and playing small handheld instruments. Board-certified music therapists from Tidewater Music Therapy will lead a fun, interactive, hour-long program for individuals of all ages and abilities. Mixed Abilities in Motion from TRDance Center will also lead a short, participatory demonstration.
  • April Event Description: Explore the many ways music makes us feel and helps us understand our emotions during this one-hour chamber music performance. The musicians will speak about how each piece makes them feel or inspires them, while board-certified music therapists from Tidewater Music Therapy assist participants in activities to engage their own emotions and creativity.
  • May Event Description: Celebrate Memorial Day with the Virginia Symphony! This one-hour, full-orchestra concert will include patriotic favorites alongside recognizable American classics. The program will feature works from beloved composers including John Phillips Sousa, John Williams, Aaron Copland, and Harold Arlen (“Over the Rainbow”). Featuring baritone Larry Jay Giddens and a short dance performance by Mixed Abilities in Motion from TRDance Center.
 
Bunny Cares at MacArthur Center
  • Date: Sunday, March 29, 2020 from 9-11am
  • Location: MacArthur Center, Norfolk VA
  • Description: The Easter Bunny understands that some children need extra patience and quiet time when they visit. Bunny Cares is a welcoming environment for children with autism and special needs to visit with the Easter Bunny in a more soothing and sensory-friendly environment. Reservations are required. Register by calling (757) 314-4402. Limited to 50 families.  
 
  • Date: Friday, April 3, 2020 from 4:30-6pm
  • Location: iFly Virginia Beach, 2412 Pacific Avenue Virginia Beach, VA 23451
  • Description: Everyone in the special needs community is welcome to participate! Event package includes a pre-flight training session, all the necessary flight gear (suit, helmet, goggles). Each flyer will be assisted by specially trained Flight Instructors during the event with extra attention and accommodations based on participant needs. 
  • Cost: Each flyer receives 2 flights (1 minute each) for only $39.95 and a FREE video! Space is limited and Reservations Required.
 
 

Athletics/Open Gym

 
  • Dates: Tuesdays from 6:00p-8:00p and Wednesdays from 1:00p-3:00p through March 2020
  • Location: The YMCA JT's Camp Grom, Virginia Beach VA
  • Description: The YMCA JT's Camp Grom will be offering sports for everybody in 2020! This open gym time is designed to engage the senses; and with equipment, space and time available for all. Serving our Wounded Veterans, Gold Star Families and those with differing abilities; adaptations will be made to the activity to ensure all are able to participate. Sports activities include, but are not limited to: Basketball Flag Football Archery Volleyball Soccer Kickball
  • Cost: $5 per participant per visit; your first two visits are FREE!

Bounce House, Trampoline Parks & Playspaces

 

Private Jump For Children With Special Needs at Bounce House (Chesapeake)
  • Upcoming Dates: April 19, & June 28, 2020 from 9-11am
  • Location: 4300 Portsmouth Blvd, Chesapeake, Virginia 23321
  • Description: Join us for two hours of private jump specifically for children with special needs, the admission cost is $7 per child. The event is from 9am-11am however, admission is good for all day so you may stay and play while we are open to the public as well.
 
  • Date: 1st Monday of each month (check their calendar for holidays/changes) from 6-8pm
  • Location: Rebounderz Newport News
  • Description: Low volume Disney music. Fewer distractions (arcade games will be off). All Access for 90 minutes. One parent/caretaker/therapist is admitted for FREE with each sensory-friendly participant’s $16 paid admission. Parent/caretaker/therapist is permitted to assist child while on the jumper. Only one person is permitted to jump per square. Rebounderz Grip Socks are required for anyone going out on the trampolines.
  • Cost: $16.00 per person for the 90-Minute event. Parent/caretaker/therapist is admitted at no charge for 90 minutes of jump time. Additional Adult: $12. Additional Child (4 and under): $6. Required Rebounderz Grip Socks are not included and are available for $3.25 per pair and are reusable on future visits.

Sky Zone Sensory Hours (Virginia Beach)
  • Dates: The third Sunday of each month from 10am-12pm (check their calendar for updates/changes)
  • Location: Sky Zone Virginia Beach 2029 Lynnhaven Pkwy, 100A, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456  
  • Description: Enjoy the freedom of jumping. Sensory hours provide a quieter, toned-down jumping experience for those with special needs.
  • 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.
  • Dates: Every Sunday from 12-1pm
  • Location: Sky Zone Hampton, 2055 Executive Dr, Hampton, VA 23666
  • Description: Enjoy the freedom of jumping. Sensory hours provide a quieter, toned-down jumping experience for those with special needs.
  • Cost: Guests with special needs get 60-minutes of jump time for $9.99. We strongly encourage all jumpers to fill out their waivers on our website prior to arriving at the park.

Surge Adventure Park (Newport News)
  • Date: First Wednesday of each month from 6pm to close
  • Location: Surge Adventure Park Newport News 14346 Warwick Blvd Suite 402 Newport News, VA 23602
  • Description: If you have a child or loved one on the Autism Spectrum please come join us on the first Wednesday of every month from 6 PM til close for Sensory Night. Dim lights, no strobes, no music just FUN!

Funville Cares Day at Funville Virginia Beach (Chesapeake & Virginia Beach)
  • Date: Every second Sunday at Chesapeake. Every last Sunday at Virginia Beach. From 9-11am.
  • Location: Funville Virginia Beach, 4318 Holland Road & Funville Chesapeake, 4300 Portsmouth Blvd Suite 270B
  • Description: We want everyone to know that FunVille truly cares - that’s why we’re opening 2 hours early on select Sundays so all of our extra special FunVillers can have some private time to play in a fun and safe environment! And the icing on the cake? Everyone receives $1 off of one General Admission! 
  
Sensory Sunday at Chuck-E-Cheese (Chesapeake, Hampton & Virginia Beach)
  • Date: First Sunday monthly from 9-11am
  • Location: Check here for participating locations.
  • 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
 
 
MOVIES 
 
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.
  
MUSEUMS

  • 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.
 
  • 2020 Dates: March 18 (5-7 pm) April 19 (7:30-9 am) May 20 (5-7 pm) June 17 (6-7:30 pm) July 19 (7:30-9 am) August 19 (6-7:30 pm) September 16 (5-7 pm) October 18 (7:30-9 am) November 18 (5-7 pm) December 13 (7:30-9 am)​​
  • Location: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center 717 General Booth Blvd. Virginia Beach, VA 23451
  • Description: We will open early exclusively for individuals and families wanting a quieter Aquarium experience with soft lighting, limited sounds, and other modifications. We hope that this special event will allow guests to enjoy the animals and exhibits at their own pace and ensure a comfortable visit for everyone, before the doors open to the general public.​ Advanced registration is suggested and regular admission rates apply. 
  • Please note:  One caretaker is admitted at no charge if they are working with a guest who is visiting the Aquarium. A caretaker is defined as a required attendant without whom the guest could not tour the Aquarium. The disabled guest may request an additional caretaker be admitted at 50% of the regular admission. 
  • Cost: Free for Members; $24.95 Non-member adults; $19.95 Non-member children
 
  • Dates: Sensory Friendly Sundays take place the third Sunday of every month at PFAC from 1-2pm
  • Location: Peninsula Fine Arts Center 101 Museum Drive Newport News VA
  • Description: Event for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and sensory processing differences to have a fun, enjoyable and learning experience in a comfortable and accepting environment! Our Sensory Friendly days are a great way to explore exhibitions, during quieter times. You can also enjoy self-guided art activities in our Hands On For Kids Gallery. Gallery Guides are available. A quiet sensory zone is available with noise deafening headphones.
 
LIBRARIES 
 
Sensory Storytime and/or 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.

HAIRCUTS
 
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
 
 
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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