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3 Sensory-Friendly Downtown Des Moines Attractions

Sensory-Friendly Attractions

Several attractions in are taking strides to provide a welcoming environment for individuals on the autism spectrum or those with special sensory needs in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). If you are interested in planning an event or outing with someone who doesn’t like large crowds, loud music or bright lights, these inclusive venues and inclusive things to do in Downtown Des Moines are worth considering.

Sensory Friendly at Downtown Des Moines' Science Center

Science Center of Iowa provides free admission during its Sensory-Friendly Hours in Downtown Des Moines where visitors can find a less-crowded and more quiet experience intended for families of children with autism. Taking place from 4 – 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, special signage will provide additional guidance to indicate audio, visual and activity stimuli throughout the facility. Additionally, an in-depth Sensory Guide and Social Story providing a visual walk-through of the building to aid parents and caretakers in planning before they go. Sensory Backpacks are also on-hand to checkout at the Box Office, including tools to help guests tailor their sensory experiences (for example, noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses, weighted stuffed animals and fidget materials). Of note, these sensory resources are also available during regular operating hours, as well.

Sensory Sensitivity Support at Des Moines Performing Arts

Des Moines Performing Arts now offers dedicated performances of their Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Family Series suited for persons with sensory sensitivities. These Downtown Des Moines inclusive performances provide all the joy of a typical theater setting, but with a few adjustments to help those with special sensory needs to feel more comfortable (for example, this could include alterations to light, sound, seating option variety, encouraged movement and breaks, ASL interpretation and more). A Social Narrative and Picture Schedule is available on their website to help prepare for and guide the experience.

Sensory Equipment

Photo Credit: Iowa Events Center

Iowa Events Center's Sensory Inclusive Services

The Iowa Events Center, including all of its facilities — Wells Fargo Arena, Hy-Vee Hall and the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, all located in Downtown Des Moines — are now Certified Sensory InclusiveTM through a partnership with KultureCity. Visitors can learn more about what to expect by reviewing the facility’s Social Story. Additionally, quiet spaces are available in four different locations throughout the venue including a Sensory Room. Sensory Bags are available for checkout from the Wells Fargo Arena Guest Services or the Iowa Events Center Main Office. Through KultureCity training, staff are also prepared to communicate and provide support to individuals experiencing sensory overload.

Headphone Zone

Photo Credit: Iowa Events Center

For these upcoming events and more, find tips on Downtown Des Moines parking and navigation. For additional upcoming events, visit the Downtown Des Moines events calendar. Plus, follow @downtownDSMUSA on Instagram for more epic, things-you-just-can’t-miss happening around Downtown.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.