Summer is a great time to get children outside and involved in fun and engaging activities. However, it can be a challenge to find sensory-friendly activities for children on the autism spectrum. Our team has compiled a list of fun community outings and events for the family, including peaceful hiking spots, sensory-friendly movie experience, fun camps for kids, and more. See our list below for several summer hot spots and community events to get on the calendar.

Monthly Sensory Friendly Movies – AMC Barton Creek Square

AMC and the Autism Society have partnered together to bring unique movie showings where guests can feel free to be themselves. AMC turns the lights up and the sound down so kids can feel comfortable and at ease. Movie-goers can get up, dance, sing and walk around! The Sensory Friendly Film program has expanded to four showings per month.

  • The second and fourth Tuesday and Saturday
  • Check your local theatre listings for specific showtimes on these days!

*For questions directed to The Autism Society of North Austin, contact Heather Van Horn at (512) 479-4199 Ext 1.

Dates and Times:

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2019. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 22, 2019. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday, July 13, 2019. 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • More on the website

Location:

AMC Barton Creek Square
2901 Capital Of Texas Hwy
Austin, 78746, TX

 

Sensory Storytime – Cedar Park Library

Sensory Storytime is geared for children ages 8 and under who are on the autism spectrum, have sensory overload or sensory integration issues. This class features stories, songs and movement activities along with sensory playtime to enhance cognitive and social development. *Registration is required. Call the Children’s Desk at 512-401-5632 for more information.

Dates and Times:

  • Monday, June 10, 2019. 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Monday, June 24, 2019. 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Monday, July 8, 2019. 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Monday, July 22, 2019. 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Monday, August 12, 2019. 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Monday, August 26, 2019. 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Location:

Cedar Park Library
450 Cypress Creek Road
Cedar Park, 78613, TX

 

Summer Camp – We Rock The Spectrum Kid’s Gym – Austin

We Rock the Spectrum Austin is an indoor play place for kids and young adults. They host birthday parties, camps, field trips, private playdates, an after school club, and classes. WRTS is committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and fun environment for all children/teens. *Pre-registration for camp is required. Call 512-687–4443 to book or if you have any questions! Contact: Milan Helm or email info@werockthespectrumaustin.com

Dates and Times:

Time: 9:00am-12:00pm

Price: $39/day $175/week

Ages: 2-3 years 4-5 years 6-8 years 9-12 years

Dates by Week:

6/10 – 6/14; 6/17 – 6/21; 6/24 – 6/28; 7/1 – 7/5; 7/8 – 7/12; 7/15 – 7/17; 7/22 – 7/26; 7/29 – 8/2; 8/5 – 8/9

Location:

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym – Austin

7010 Highway 71 Suite 200

Austin, TX, 78735

 

Jumpstreet Special Needs Hours

Jumpstreet accommodates special needs families with exclusive early hours from 8:30 am – 10:00 am on the FIRST Saturday of each month. This allows children to take their time going through each activity at their own pace. Jumpstreet is open to all ages as well as parents/guardians. Plus, all are invited to stay after doors open to the general public at 10 am!

Activities: Main Trampoline Courts, Trampoline Dodgeball, Earthquake Kids Zone, Arcade Area, Stunt Jump, Walking Sticks, Trampoline Basketball, Mechanical Bull

Cost: Ages 4 and over – $8.00
Ages 3 and under – $4.00
Parents/Guardians are free.

Dates and Times: Starting June 1, 2019 and the first Saturday of each month following
@ 8:30 am – 10:00 am: 6/1, 7/6, 8/3, 9/7

Location:
Jumpstreet
12617 Ridgeline Blvd
Cedar Park, TX 78761

 

Alamo for All – Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo for All is a movie program for families and guests with special needs.  

All shows starting before 2 pm on Tuesdays follow Alamo for All rules, with more shows on the weekends.  Schedule may vary during the holidays.

  • The most notable features of the program are that the lights are turned up, the sound is turned down, and talking/noise is allowed! All ages are welcome (including infants). Guests are welcome to get up and walk around. Latecomers are also still welcome into the movie. Feel free to bring adaptive technology, but games and iPads must be left at home.

Dates and Times: All shows starting before 2 pm on Tuesdays

Location:

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema 
Check website for location showing times and address.

 

Round Rock Express: Autism Awareness Night

Date and Time: Tuesday, July 23rd – 7:00-10:00 PM

The Round Rock Express and the Autism Society of Texas have teamed up again to bring us a night of fun at Dell Diamond on July 23rd as the Round Rock Express take on the Omaha Storm Chasers! The ticket purchases directly benefit the Autism Society of Texas.

Action Behavior Centers will host a booth with fun prizes, swag bags, and staff will be present to answer any questions!

Purchase tickets HERE. *Purchase deadline: July 22nd at midnight.

Location:

Dell Diamond
3400 East Palm Valley Blvd.
Round Rock, TX

 

Swimming

  • Pace Bend Park
    • Pace Bend Park covers over 1,360 acres and is located on Lake Travis. This park offers a range of outdoor activities including camping, boating, and swimming. There are three designated locations for swimming, and safety rules are in place to help maintain a peaceful environment for all visitors. This large park is perfect for a relaxing day playing in the water or coasting around the lake in a boat.
  • Krause Springs
    • Krause Springs is home to over 30 springs that are great for cooling off and relaxing on a hot summer day. The springs have several trees that offer shade, as well as a beautiful butterfly garden – ideal for a calm walk. To avoid the crowds, it is best to go during the week since weekends are known to be the busiest time.
  • Deep Eddy Pool
    • Deep Eddy Pool is fed by spring water, and it’s a great place to escape the summer heat! The pool is not chlorinated, so it is gentle on the skin. There are separate sections for young kids and lap swimmers, along with shady grass areas for relaxing.

Hiking

  • Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
    • The Mayfield Nature Preserve includes over 20 acres of plants and wildlife. It is known for being home to several peacocks. There are historical buildings to explore and several walking trails throughout the park. This is a wonderful spot to walk around, explore nature, and get a chance to see some vibrant birds.
  • Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
    • The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve includes about 230 acres of land. The 2-mile-long hiking loop is surrounded by trees, plants, and a waterfall. There are no bikes, dogs, or smoking allowed on the trail, which makes it perfect for a leisurely stroll with children. The trail often offers a quiet environment and is not overcrowded with large groups of hikers.
  • McKinney Falls State Park
    • Onion Creek Hike is a mostly-paved trail in McKinney Falls State Park, making it easily accessible for a casual stroll with kids. The park offers a large range of scenic views and spots for fishing and swimming. Arrive at the park early to avoid running into crowds!
  • Walnut Creek Metro Park
    • The bike trail at Walnut Creek Metro Park is a fully paved trail. The trail is great for walking, pushing a stroller, or riding a bike. The trail runs along a small creek and is mostly shaded with trees. There is also a playground along the trail, making it a perfect place for children to take a break and play!

Restaurants

ABC Pro Tips:

  1. Start with a diner or cafe with a calm atmosphere
  2. Look for restaurants that are able to make diet accommodations
  3. Look for restaurants with quiet music and fast service
  4. Check Google Maps for popular times and wait times
  • Napa Flats
    • Napa Flats offers California food with Italian influence. They offer a variety of pizzas, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and grill items as well as a kids’ menu. They offer gluten free options to accommodate most dietary needs. The restaurants are designed to show off lots of natural light and the buildings have acoustic ceiling tiles that are designed to absorb noise.
  • Kerbey Lane Cafe
    • Kerbey Lane Cafe has eight locations throughout Austin and is known for their pancakes and delicious queso. They have a variety of different food options, as well as a kids’ menu and gluten free/vegan options. The cafe can get busy and sometimes there is a wait for a table, so be sure to call ahead to get a wait-time estimate.
  • Brentwood Social House
    • Brentwood Social House offers several different rooms designed to meet the needs of all guests. The restaurant has a quiet area, a family area, and an area for children to play. Guests can enjoy items from the kids menu, vegan options, gluten free options, and many different pastries, sandwiches, coffees, and teas. This location is great for both finding a peaceful place to grab a bite to eat, as well as a place to let children play with others and release some of that energy!
  • Picnik
    • Picnik started out as a food truck and offers wholesome food that’s convenient and nutritious. Picnik began serving gluten-free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items, butter coffee, and bone broth, all with a focus on sourcing locally and using premium ingredients. The business now has two trailer locations, a brick-and-mortar location in central Austin, and also sells its butter coffee in Whole Foods/Central Market.
    • Their kitchen is gluten, soy, and peanut-free. Additionally, many of their meals can be customized to accommodate vegan eaters. Picnik is perfect for picky eaters or children with dietary restrictions.
    • At the Burnet Road brick & mortar location, Picnik does not take reservations ahead of time, so calling ahead is encouraged.
  • Flower Child
    • Flower Child offers a casual atmosphere with healthy food options for the family to enjoy. Guests can choose from dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Flower Child has two locations in Austin – one at the Domain and another downtown on 2nd street. The menu consists of a variety of wraps, salads, bowls, and plates. The kids’ menu boasts items such as gluten-free mac-n-cheese, sweet corn and quinoa, fruit, and smashed organic potato.

 

Museums and Entertainment:

  • Austin Zoo
    • The Austin Zoo offers a variety of attractions for children of all ages, including educational programs and a wide range of animals to see. This is a great all-day activity for children because families can walk through the zoo at their own pace, choosing which exhibits they’d like to visit.
    • There is animal feed available for goats, deer, llamas, alpacas, and sheep for sale in the Gift Shop.
    • Check out the list of “Things to know before you visit”
  • Austin Aquarium
    • The Austin Aquarium is open every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. At the aquarium, children can see fish and animals, engage with interactive exhibits, and participate in educational activities. The Aquarium is home to sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, tropical fish, reptiles and birds. Guests are able to feed several animals by purchasing feed throughout the exhibits. If children need to take a break from the animals, there is a playground area where kids can run around and let loose. Snacks, pizza, and popcorn are available for purchase at the concession stand.
  • The Thinkery
    • The Thinkery is certified by the Autism Society as an Autism Friendly Business. This children’s museum has many hands-on exhibits that foster learning and creative problem solving. The Thinkery’s website has a sensory guide that can be used to prepare for a day at the museum. Guests can also check out sensory-friendly packs at the front desk upon arrival. These packs include noise-canceling headphones, light-reducing glasses, and more. There is a playground nearby, as well as Lick ice-cream shop, coffee shops, and restaurants around the corner in the Mueller neighborhood.
  • Zilker Theatre Productions
    • The Zilker Theatre offers free outdoor musical productions. The Zilker Theatre Productions was originally created in 1959 and has remained a non-profit organization since its foundation. In addition to free musical productions, the theatre also offers free audition workshops and entertainment for children before the shows. Families can bring snacks and beverages to enjoy. The Summer 2019 show is Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
  • Hill Country Science Mill
    • The Hill Country Science Mill is designed to create an interactive experience for the entire family. Some of the exhibits offered are a colossal robotic hand, a cell phone disco, a 3D theater, and a banana piano. In addition to the regular exhibits, the Science Mill hosts a variety of interactive events. The Bullock Museum is perfect for children who enjoy hands-on learning and playing.
  • Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
    • The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year. Sculptures are showcased from a variety of artists, which includes a permanent collection of art and rotating temporary exhibits. The museum hosts “family days” once a month that include activities for families and children of all ages. Check out Umlauf’s website for more info.
  • TILT Performance Group
    • TILT Performance Groups casts adults with and without disabilities. They offer a range of different productions suitable for all ages. TILT is proud to offer auditory described, ASL interpreted, and sensory-friendly performances this summer.
    • Auditory described performance – June 6, 2019
    • ASL interpreted performance – June 9th, 2019
    • Sensory friendly performance – June 15th, 2019

 

Haircuts

Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids

Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids is designed with every child’s needs in mind. Their seats resemble cars, and each spot has a television screen where kids can be entertained with games and videos. The staff members are trained to work with special needs children. Cookie Cutters will do whatever is needed to make the haircut experience enjoyable for the child and their parents.

 

Summer vacations planned? Check out our Autism Travel Guide.