Birmingham has many fun things families can explore or do. Some families, however, may have a child with a disability, or one one the autism spectrum. Be that as it may, many places in Birmingham are sensory friendly and disability accessible, from museums to restaurants.
Kulture City is a company that creates and provides sensory inclusive businesses with packs and resources, so that those with disabilities or sensory sensitivities can still enjoy time with their families.
Below are the top five attractions in Birmingham that are sensory friendly and disability accessible.
1. Birmingham Zoo
The Birmingham Zoo is an outdoor attraction that is fun for the whole family. The zoo itself is wheelchair accessible throughout its entirety, including on both the carousel and train. They have also partnered with Kulture City to provide those with sensory sensitivities packs, which include noise cancelling headphones and fidget tools. The Birmingham Zoo also has weighted lap pads available for periods of time when sitting is required, including on the train, as well as during the “Wildlife Show” and “Red Diamond Sea Lion Splash Show.”
Throughout the zoo, there are quiet zones where there is not much activity and include spaces to sit and regroup if one becomes overstimulated. The indoor areas in the zoo are also labeled as “Headphone Zones,” as they are known to be much noisier than the outdoor areas.
Near the zoo entrance, there is a sensory room available for use to those who are overstimulated and may need a quiet place to regroup.
Overall, the Birmingham Zoo is a great place to visit if you or anyone in your party has disabilities or sensory sensitivities.
2. McWane Science Center
The McWane Science Center is full of interactive and educational events and things to do. On May 21, 2017 they announced their partnership with KultureCity to become a sensory inclusive organization, and held an event that day with educational classes and a sensory inclusive IMAX movie.
If you cannot visit the McWane Science Center in-person, they also have “Virtual McWane” which includes science activities and videos children can watch.
The McWane Science Center is KultureCity certified, and is another great, educational attraction for children to visit.
3. Birmingham Museum of Art
The Birmingham Museum of Art is another KultureCity certified organization that has many accommodations for visitors who use mobility equipment, have low or no vision, colorblind or have sensory sensitivities.
“Sensory packets provided by the Autism Society of Alabama are available upon request at both entrances,” Birmingham Museum of Art stated on their website. “Packets include ear plugs, sunglasses, and fidgets.”
This is another Birmingham attraction that is sensory friendly and disability accessible.
4. Vulcan Park and Museum
The Vulcan Park and Museum is another popular attraction in Birmingham that can be seen from miles away.
On July 23, 2018, Vulcan announced their partnership and kickoff event with KultureCity, with the goal to provide a positive experience to those with sensory issues. Sensory bags with noise cancelling headphones, earplugs, verbal cue cards, fidget toys and weighted lap pads are available in the Visitors Center.
“We are grateful to KultureCity for showing us how to better serve Birmingham and its metro area through sensory inclusivity,” Watts said in the press release.
The Vulcan is another popular Birmingham attraction that is also KultureCity certified and sensory friendly.
5. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a beautiful, calming area right next door to the Birmingham Zoo. Just like all the other attractions, this place is also KultureCity certified, and provides people with different activities to do while visiting the gardens. One of these activities is the Sensory Nature Trail, where you have to look, see and feel different things throughout the botanical garden.
Besides the sensory nature trail, this is a quiet outdoor area full of space for people to spread out and relax.
Outside of these popular Birmingham attractions, you can also visit libraries including the Homewood Public Library, which in the past has held Sensory Storytimes.
Courtney Fish who babysits for a child with down syndrome, said they visit the Brookwood Forest School’s playground.
“It has the accessible swings there,” Fish said.
In the future, we will check out popular restaurants in Birmingham that are sensory friendly, so stay tuned!