Sensory Friendly Afternoons


The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County hosts free quarterly Sensory Friendly Afternoons exclusive to families of children with special needs. These Tuesday afternoons are great times for children and families to play with our hands-on exhibits, explore the Art Studio, and enjoy family time in a safe, accessible and welcoming environment.

Staff goes through the Museum ahead of time to turn down lights, limit loud sounds and add extra signage to our exhibits to help create a safe and less stimulating environment. 

*Pre-registration is required for this free event*

Upcoming Sensory Friendly Afternoons:

From 12 pm - 5 pm on:

  • Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

  • Tuesday, January 28, 2020

  • Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What to Expect

The Museum is made more accessible for children with special needs, and their families, by:

  • Adjusting sounds and lighting in exhibit areas

  • Offering a sensory friendly map and guide to the Museum - see below to download

  • Offering additional signage to assist in navigation and aid in understanding Museum rules and expectations (Print out Museum Rules here).

  • Providing additional staff support from Anova and The Early Learning Institute

  • Visiting therapy dogs for additional support

  • Offering ear defenders, weighted scarves & sunglasses to use while you’re visiting

  • Access to calming bins

  • Two quiet zone areas (in Science and Imagination Gallery, and The Dow Event Center)

CMOSC Story Guide

We offer a Children's Museum Story Guide to help prepare your child for their visit to the Children's Museum of Sonoma County.

Pre-registration required

We require pre-registration in an effort to better serve our visitors. Pre-registration enables us to communicate directly with families about expectations and updates.

Sensory Friendly Afternoon FAQs

  • Why are you offering Sensory Friendly Afternoons?

    The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County welcomes all families of all abilities anytime. Sensory Friendly Afternoons allow:
    •Children with special needs, and their families, additional time and space to acclimate to the Museum without extra stimulation.
    •Museum staff to provide additional support to families while they visit.
    •Community partners to provide additional programming and support.
    •Parents and caregivers time among peers to support each other, and create connections. transport gifts

  • How does this effect your operation hours? Are you open all day on these Tuesdays?

    Our Sensory Friendly Afternoons do not effect our regular open hours, we are closed on most Tuesdays, and will not be open prior to 12 pm for these events.

  • Do I need to provide documentation for my child with special needs?

    We will not require any documentation of a special need for you to enter the museum for this event. We trust you know your child and their abilities.

  • What safety precautions will you be taking for this event?

    Safety is first at the Museum. Our main exhibit areas are all wheelchair accessible. Staff has been trained on emergency procedures with guests of all abilities.

    The Museum has a lift to help visitor’s comfortably access the Mezzanine in the Science and Imagination Gallery.
    The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is trained to look for and reunite lost children with their families as quickly as possible. Our staff members are easy to identify in their neon green aprons. If a parent becomes separated from a child, they should alert a staff member as soon as possible. The Museum has procedures in place to send information out to individuals staffing the Museum exhibits to look for lost children. 
  • I’d like to plan another visit, what are ways to do that?

    You and your family are welcome here at anytime! If you would like to plan a visit during regular operating days outside of our Sensory Friendly Afternoons, a quieter time is weekday afternoons (the Museum is closed on Tuesdays).

    We also offer Group Visit discounted pricing, with pre-registration. See our Group Visit webpage: for more information and to request a date.
    If sound in the galleries becomes too much, ear defenders are available in our Parent Resource Center in the Calming Bins. If your child has light sensitivities, we suggest bringing along a pair of sunglasses for them to wear, or finding a pair in our Calming Bins.

  • How can I support Sensory Friendly Afternoons?

    We want to make Sensory Friendly Afternoons the best they can be. Here are ways you can help us: We appreciate feedback or suggestions for improvements. Is there another organization that should be present? Tell us who it is and who we should reach out to.