Sensory Friendly Events

The Museum opens early on Sundays for families of children with autism, sensory sensitivities & special needs.

During any visit, noise-cancelling earphones are always available free of charge at the front desk.
Sensory Friendly Hour

Sensory Friendly Hour 9-10 a.m.
Join popular teacher Lahela Peterson before the museum opens to the public for a special hour of play. Explore the museum during a less stimulating time & connect with other families who may share similar life experiences.

New Sensory Friendly Kits
The Museum now offers free Sensory Friendly Art Kits to our sensory program families. Each week your child will be able to choose a different kit from our selection (all materials are included). Pick one up during Sensory Friendly Hour. If you are unable to attend the event and would still like a kit, please email Amanda Wilkening at to schedule a touchless pickup.

Special Program Rate!
Members: FREE Admission
Non-members: $7.50 per person, ages 18 months & older
Babies are free
No pre-registration required
*Sensory Friendly Hour excludes special event days and some holidays

Online Reservations Required
Reserve Your Sensory-Friendly Hour Tickets

Presented by:

Premera logo

Supported by:

Agostinho Rodrigues Trust

Mary Bridge Children's


May 8 Alternate Entrance Reminder

On May 8, the Museum will be hosting the Mother’s Day 5K run outside near the front entrance. Please enter through the rear entrance in order to avoid a potentially overwhelming crowd. You will still have exclusive access to Museum exhibits at 9 a.m. The lobby will be available again at 9:30 a.m.

Come in from East Bay/Plum St. Turn left on Olympia Ave. Turn right onto Marine Dr. Take a left on Jefferson and left into the HOCM parking lot.

Important note: Most of the runners will have finished by the time of your arrival. The awards ceremony will be happening by the front entrance resulting in a larger than normal crowd.

We created a video and social story to help your child prepare for the change in routine.


Sensory-Friendly Events 1


The Hands On Children's Museum Social Story

The story below is written from a child’s perspective and can be helpful in planning which exhibits to visit and in which order.

Social Story

When I get to the Hands On Children’s Museum I will go through the front door and wait while my grown-up checks in.

I will see happy staff members in blue shirts. If I get lost or have a question, I can ask them for help. There will also be Museum volunteers wearing aprons, some of their aprons are red and some are blue.  I can ask them for help too.

I will see lots of different things at the Hands On Children’s Museum. I can look at my map and choose where I want to play.

I must remember to use my walking feet and stay with my grown-up at all times.

After getting my hand stamp, I can hang up my coat in the coat room.

In the Good For You area I will see a garden and shops where I can buy and sell pretend food. There is a truck and a house that I can play in.

In Our Puget Sound I will see a water table where I can make a boat. I can also load cargo on the ship and explore on board.

In the Emergency area I will see a place that looks like a small city to play in. There is a fire truck, a police car and an ambulance. There is a helicopter where I can pretend to fly and bring people to the hospital. There is also a Nursery where infants are cared for.

I will see a blue slide and the Tides to Trees climber that I can go in if I want to and if my grown-up says it is OK. Upstairs I can play at the wind tunnel or put on a show in the Fabulous Forest. I can build a house in the Build It! gallery or play in the Move It gallery nearby.

Some things might make sounds. Some things might have bright lights. I can use my words or show a picture saying I need a break.

There are many places to take a break. I can go to the quiet space (ask Museum Staff) to read a book or I can do an art project in the Arts & Parts Studio.

If I need to go to the bathroom, I can tell my grown-up and they will take me.

The grown-up I am with will tell me when the Hands On Children’s Museum is all done. We will hear a message on the museum speakers. It will be time to go.

This Social Story was developed by Scotty Jones, a former museum educator, and modeled after the Children’s Museum of Houston.