Fourteen Tips for Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World

Fourteen Tips for Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World pin

Disney World with its five parks is vast, and there’s so much to experience. No parent wants to deal with a meltdown on vacation, let alone at Disney World where admission tickets are so pricey. In reality, chances are the intense activities of theme parks might kids with autism into sensory overload. To help parents mitigate such an occurrence here are our tips.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World plant

Plan a Longer Vacation

Parents of kids with autism may find that visiting the parks over the course of a few days is much less stressful for everybody. Though it might sound less budget friendly, there are plenty of great deals on multiple Disney tickets as well as lodgings. At a minimum, parents should try to allocate one separate day for each park.

Rest Well

For the lodgings, even those on a budget should try to get their kids a good night’s sleep. Parents could pay extra for a rollaway or, if possible, getting the kids their own room. Sleeping in beds with siblings or parents can get in the way of an optimal night’s sleep. If kids are more rested in the morning, they’ll be more able to handle their emotions at the park.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World castle

Take Frequent Breaks

Plan snack and lunch break times during the day. Parents of younger kids or those not used to spending the entire day at a theme park should schedule more frequent breaks and see how it goes.

Stay on Property

If at all possible, parents should find lodgings on the property for easy access to the park. For parents looking for a cheaper alternative to the Disney pricey hotels, the Wyndham has a property near Disney Springs that is affordable and still gives its guests access to the complimentary Disney transportation.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World red

Avoid Crowded Areas

Parents should avoid crowded areas, like the parade thoroughfare during the shows.In fact, they should skip the shows since they tend to be crowded anyway and try to go on typically full rides during that time since they’re mostly empty. Moreover, families should also eat meals on off hours, meaning before or after traditional lunch or dinner times.

Limit Shopping

Limiting the shopping adds to time spent enjoying the park itself and reduces arguments with kids. Parents should tell their child before entering the park that they are going to shop at the end of the day for a set time or online as an alternative.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World alice

Plan Outdoor/Indoor Rides

Parents need to know that the weather in Orlando is usually warm and humid no matter the month. Though Disney accommodates autism on many of their rides, there are often still waits. These waits can be challenging for kids who are temperature intolerant.

Parents should do the indoor rides in the middle of the day, then try to do the outdoor rides in the early morning or late evening when the temperature cools down and the crowds are gone.

Stay Hydrated

This advice applies to all parents traveling with kids but is of particular importance in a theme park situation where there’s a lot of walking involved.So, parents should either purchase several beverages for their kids during the day or bring refillable water bottles to fill up at water fountains in the parks.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World sky

Avoid Sugary Snacks

Most theme parks, especially Disney, have sugary snacks available for purchase literally at every corner of the parks. Pumping kids on sugary snacks and driving them into a sugar rush is seldom a good idea. Parents should discuss ahead of time with their kids what snacks they are allowed to have every day to avoid disappointments and meltdowns later.

Wear Comfortable Clothes

If kids get wet or sweaty, they might react adversely. It is a good idea for parents to make them as comfortable as possible. Since staying in a theme park for ten hours in a stretch is enough of a challenge for most kids,  parents should bring a change of clothes for emergencies.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World dumbo

Bring Headphones or Earplugs

Some noise sensitive kids will react to sounds and noises in the park. These sounds can include screaming, shots, or explosions from fireworks. It is, therefore, important to bring headphones or earplugs for these situations. It is important to note that some rides will not allow kids to wear headphones while riding for safety reasons.

Don’t Use Park Hoppers

It is better, especially for younger children, to spend the entire day in one park. Also, using the Disney Transportation from park to park can add a layer of stress for some kids due to the waiting time and buses that might be crowded.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World car

Get a Stroller

Renting a stroller for younger children or those who can’t walk much is best for families. Visiting the Walt Disney World parks involves a lot of walking, and no parent wants to argue with children or try to force them into anything. So, even for older kids, a stroller may be a good place to relax if they get tired or cranky.

Keep your group small

Going in a large group to a theme park can be overwhelming, and the needs of a child with autism might be overlooked. Kids with autism might want to explore at a certain pace or adhere to specific mealtimes. The best ratio is two adults per kid so the adults can alternate taking care and helping accommodate their needs.

Fourteen Tips For Preventing Sensory Meltdowns at Disney World teacups

Clothing Tips for Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World

Clothing Tips for Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World pin

Unknown to many, clothing choices can be quite important for a theme park visit. For those who deal with sensory issues, clothing can make a day visit unpleasant and lead to meltdowns. Here are our tips for making good clothing choices for Walt Disney World.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World train

Shoes

Visiting Walt Disney World involves a lot of walking throughout the four large parks. Even groups who set themselves to one park a day can expect a lot of walking. Also, the parks have areas with water attractions, and Florida often has lots of afternoon showers. As a result, the ground frequently gets slippery, which can be dangerous for kids running around.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World walt

Non-slip shoes, like crocs, are essential. Parents can use fabric on/off shoes for the best results. Everyone in the family should avoid flip-flops, heels, or wedges. They should especially avoid leather or suede shoes, as they can get ruined by rain and shrink.

Pants

Choice of pants is of particular importance for those who want to go on the water attractions. Thick denim pants will not dry out easily, leaving kids with wet denim sticking to their legs for the duration of the trip.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World water

The best option is pants made of thin, lightweight material that quickly dries. Parents can find pants like these in most travel and camping stores. Alternatively, parents can bring a change of clothes for their kids.

Colors

Bring colors that stick out in a crowd is best, especially for little kids. Parks get crowded, and kids can easily slip away. In this situation, he or she would be easier to find if they’re wearing, for example, a bright orange jacket.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World car

Ponchos

As we mentioned before, at Walt Disney World it frequently rains in the afternoon. Ponchos are the best option for people who don’t want to have to stay indoors for the two to four hours these afternoon rains last.

Long ponchos are best, and parents can either bring them from home or buy them from the parks. We like buying them from the parks because they double as an excellent souvenir for kids to get from Disney. We suggest not buying expensive ponchos since ponchos are an item that one can easily lose. Also, if someone forgets their poncho in a bag, these expensive ponchos can develop mildew.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World clock

For the most budget friendly option, parents can buy a one time use poncho from the dollar store.

Jacket

Easy to dry, thin jackets are best for theme parks. The jacket should preferably have a hood that it easy to take off. The jacket should also zip, not button.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World rest

While it may seem like a good option, parents shouldn’t take heavy coats. The kids are not going to be wearing them the entire time, and nobody wants to walk around with a jacket all day for miles.

Pockets

Clothes with multiple pockets are always helpful. Parents and kids can either wear cargo pants or a jacket with many pockets. There’s a lot of knick knacks that parents will want to store, such as phones, wires, wallets, and small water bottles.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World red

Expensive or favorite items

Parents and kids should not bring expensive clothing or items into the parks for many reasons. These items can get snagged on rides, lost, or stained by food items. Jackets can especially get easily lost or misplaced between attractions.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World gaston

Bags

While tempting, parents shouldn’t bring large bags into the park. Many of the rides will not allow riders to carry large bags. And dragging these bags through the park gets tiring quickly.

Instead, parents should either wear clothing with lots of pockets or wear a fanny pack for small items.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World butterfly

Tight fitting

Mini skirts and tight pants might be fashionable, but they’re not optimal theme park attire. Being confined in tight clothes for an entire day can be challenging to many.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World building

Loose fitting cotton clothes that breath are best for these environments. Dressing in layers is also crucial since the temperature can be highly variable throughout the day.

Costumes

Although the idea of letting the little one walk around in a princess dress might seem fun, having kids dress up in costumes is not the best idea.

Clothing Tips When Taking Kids with Autism to Disney World sign

The costumes are often pricey and can easily get ruined in a theme park environment. In some cases, the costumes are long, such as with princess dresses or capes, and can get caught in ride mechanisms or doors.

After reading our tips it is your turn to chime in! What are your clothing tips when visiting the theme parks?

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum

 

 

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum pin

The Broad Museum in Los Angeles is a museum of modern art that all members of the family can enjoy. When we first heard of the museum, we thought it would not be the best destination for little kids since it wasn’t interactive. However, after visiting, we highly recommend it for all ages.
It seemed like every room was filled with whimsical elements that will fascinate visitors of all ages.

And as a trailblazer in its field, the Broad also has a fun smartphone app. This app features audio guides with talks from the artists and a kid-friendly guide narrated by LeVar Burton. Visitors can also look on the app’s map for specific pieces of art or nearby bathrooms as well as plan their next trip.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum america

What You Will See

The escalator into the building carries passengers through an impressive tunnel. One of the first things we saw when we got to the top was a see through glass elevator from the ground to the second floor. While most elevators have the wires on top, this elevator had the wires on the bottom. Our son said it looked like it was straight out of the Willy Wonka movie.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum tulip

The third floor displaying the art is built in a circular fashion, meaning guests will start and end at the same place no matter what direction they walk.

A huge theme of many of the exhibits here is that viewers have to take a second look. For example, one of the first sculptures guests see is a giant “balloon” sculpture. If one walks around the sculpture, they will see these “balloons” are giant metallic tulips.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum color

On the wall in the entrance, room is a huge eighty-two-foot long painting, called In the Land of the Dead Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow by Takashi Murakami. This picture covers two walls and has lots of interesting details put together.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum curve

The museum features plenty of abstract and political paintings. Several of the featured paintings are highly abstract, made up of only colored shapes. Some of the displays are collections of items that have no meaning individually, but in a group setting creates art.

Some areas show more political art, such as one art piece made up of several provocative essays displayed on the walls in different colors. Parents should be aware that a few of the art pieces are more macabre and adult, like Kara Walker’s African’t.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum art

The building itself features lots of spacious rooms which let in natural light through a series of giant “honeycomb” windows. These windows ensure the rooms get a lot of light without actually reflecting directly into the chamber.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum stairs

Kids will love the giant balloon animal in the Jeff Koons room. This entire place is lively and colorful, featuring such interesting art pieces as a metallic train set and Michael Jackson with his pet monkey Bubbles.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum room

Another great art piece for kids is Robert Therrien’s Under the Table, a giant table with several large chairs that guests can walk under.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum pink

Fans of the artist can visit the Andy Warhol Area with his depictions of Elvis and Jackie O. There’s also a Roy Liechtenstein area with several pieces, including Full Fishbowl.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum warhol

Finally, when we went, we got to enjoy Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room temporary exhibit. This area is a fully mirrored room lit with several LED lights. It feels like walking in space among hundreds of stars. They only allow one person in for a minute at a time for safety reasons and since it was so popular..

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum stars

Location, Hours, and Cost

Visitors can find The Broad 221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Admission to The Broad is free. However, those wanting to see the Infinity Mirrored Room need to make a free separate same-day reservation after arriving at the museum.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum dog

Visitors can park either in the garage under the museum for $12 for three hours or at the California Plaza Garage for $8 with validation from the museum.

The Broad is closed on Mondays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the museum is open from 11 AM to 5 PM. Thursdays and Fridays, the museum is open from 11 AM to 8 PM. On Saturdays, the museum is open from 10 Am to 8 PM. And on Sundays, the museum is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. The Broad Museum is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Taking Kids to the Los Angeles Broad Museum chair

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should talk to kids about not touching the art since many of the pieces are inviting to feel.
  • Visitors can always ask a volunteer to explain various pieces to them. The museum is well staffed with dozens of volunteers.
  • We recommend making a reservation to avoid a wait.
  • The museum has lots of areas to sit and observe pieces or take a selfie.
  • Some of the art in his museum is more adult oriented. Some of the pieces also display frightening images. Therefore, parents of younger kids should keep this in mind while exploring.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus pin

With 250,000 inhabitants calling the place home at the height of its popularity, Ephesus in Turkey was once a prominent city in its own right. The town was also the epicenter of the cult of Cybele which later produced one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Ephesus was additionally a seaport and a prominent trading stop, but the ruins are now located several miles inland.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus sea

Time and the forces of nature have clearly worked their combined powers on this destination and, as a result, it has taken over one and a half centuries to bring this once thriving place back to life. Archeologists have currently uncovered less than 20% of the city. However, there is plenty to see here for traveling families who love history.
Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus ruins

 

What You Will See

Library and Terrace House

Impressive restoration efforts have taken place at the library, once home to a vast collection of documents, and Terrace House, which houses some beautiful mosaics. Travelers should also keep an eye out for one of the oldest advertisements still in existence and what passed in those days for upscale bathroom facilities. Another point of interest is the town’s theater. It dates back to 200 B.C. and until recently bands used it as a venue for large rock concerts. Nowadays, only smaller acts can use the facility in keeping with the ongoing preservation efforts at the site.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus entrance

 

Seven Sleepers

Travelers might find interest in the plight of the legendary seven sleepers imprisoned in the nearby hills. According to legend, as a result of their beliefs, the local emperor forced these individuals to leave town. Unfortunately, the emperor also decided to imprison them in the cave they now called home. The only reason they didn’t notice their imprisonment is because their nap lasted almost two hundred years. Upon waking, they found their entire town had become Christian. The sleepers died shortly after this revelation. The cave on the slopes of Mont Pion where they supposedly slept remains a tourist attraction to this day.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus rest

 

Mount Nightingale

The house where the Virgin Mary possibly spent her final years sit on Mount Nightingale (a.k.a. Mount Koressos). A Catholic nun rediscovered this site in the nineteenth century, claiming she saw the place in a vision. While the Catholic Church has issued no official verdict on the matter, several Popes have visited the site, and the ruins do date back to the time of Christ. Even travelers who aren’t religious frequently mention in Trip Advisor reviews that they found the place “peaceful.”

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus candles

 

The building itself is comprised of a small chapel area and a room off to the side where the lady is believed to have slept. Of course, the ground’s well-kept gardens contain a well whose holy waters are said to have miraculous healing powers. It stands to reason that those who choose to have a drink do so at their risk. This site nonetheless makes an excellent stop for travelers heading back to Selçuk after a day’s sightseeing at Ephesus.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus mary

 

Location, Hours, and Admission

From May to October, Ephesus is open between the hours of eight am and seven-thirty pm. The rest of the year the ruins shut down at five pm. New guests are admitted until an hour before the site closes, so there is plenty of time to get here.
Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus mosaicAdmission prices are currently thirty Turkish liras for adults and twenty for students. Of course, the best place to stay for those who plan on seeing the ruins is the nearby town of Selçuk.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus home

Ephesus sits in Turkey’s Central Aegean region. Although taxis to the site can be arranged for about fifteen Turkish liras, it is still much cheaper to use the minibusses available for about four lire per person during the busier portions of the year.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus pottyThese conveyances leave from Selçuk every fifteen minutes. Travelers who bring their vehicles should also know that parking at the site costs approximately eight lire.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus table

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Ephesus is home to many vendors selling food and drink. However, these services are expensive when compared to what is available nearby. Travelers should instead bring beverages and snacks.
  • It is a good idea to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes so that everyone can walk around the city with ease.
  • There is little shade on the site. Therefore, parents may want to take along items that will protect them from the sun’s rays. We recommend broad-brimmed hats, parasols, and high-powered sunscreen. Parents can also arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat.
  • Visitors to Ephesus may want to hire a guide to avoid missing out on anything.
  • Ramps to the house on Mount Nightengale are provided for disabled guests. However, anyone who attempts to get up the mountain in a wheelchair will probably need assistance from another member of their party.Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus statue

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey

 

 

taking-the-family-to-istanbul pin-turkey

As a city that has sat at the crossroads of Western and Eastern civilization for centuries, Istanbul has a lot to offer visitors. The sprawling metropolis now exists in both Asia and Europe on either side of the Bosphorus Strait. Of course, the city once known as Constantinople used to be at the forefront of Christianity until the Ottoman Turks conquered it and subsequently converted the inhabitants to Islam. However, travelers of all faiths are welcome these days.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey fresco

Grand Bazaar

An incredibly popular spot with visitors to the city, this undercover market, started in the mid-1400s. Today, it is one of the world’s oldest still operating markets. The Grand Bazaar took three hundred years’ worth of work to complete.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey sky

The marketplace remains in much the same shape today as it was in those days. The narrow lanes still form a labyrinth that houses a wide variety of merchandise. Shoppers can easily spend hours or even days perusing the goods. Bargaining over tea is still the fashion here, though it has gone out of practice in other places.

The Grand Bazaar is open between eight-thirty am and seven pm on a daily basis except for Sundays and on holidays. Travelers arriving via public transportation should get off at the Vezneciler metro station or the Beyazıt-Kapalı Çarşı tram station.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey cat

Turkish Baths

There are five historic Turkish Baths or hamams in the city of Istanbul as well as numerous modern equivalents. The traditional baths include a fifteen-minute scrub administered by a staff member of the same gender as the one bathing. This experience costs around eighty Turkish Lire in public bath houses but will cost a bit more at local hotels. Of course, guests should bring some cash to tip the attendants upon departing the premises.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey blue

Men can often get away with wearing nothing but the towel hamam visitors are given as long as they avoid flashing anyone during their trip. Ladies should leave on their swimsuit bottoms for the entire process but be aware that going topless is typically considered acceptable behavior. In some hamams, it is deemed acceptable to bare more and in others covering up is encouraged.

Topkapi Palace

Once the Ottoman Turks took over the city, this is where they made their home for the next four centuries. Eventually, the rulers moved out, but the site functioned as an auxiliary unit with the royal mint, the library, and the Treasury remaining present in the building for some time after that. The palace is now a museum and a UNESCO site.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey ceiling

Although the palace has hundreds of rooms, only a few important ones are currently accessible to visitors. As is the case with many former royal residences, a lot of history took place here, and there is subsequently much to see. Some but not all of the gems from the royal treasury are on display in the public areas of the palace. Other treasures found here include the sword and cloak said to have belonged to the prophet Muhammad.

To visit both the palace and the harem area is thirty-six Turkish Lire for those over the age of twelve. Admission is free for children. The museum is open from nine am to six pm from the middle of April to October. It closes two hours earlier than the times above between the months of November and mid-April.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey interior

Hagia Sofia

Although the present structure dates to 532 AD, earlier churches had been built on the same spot. The current building started off as a Byzantium church in and continued as such for a little over a thousand years. After the conquest of the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the Ottomans turned it into a mosque. Hagia Sofia became a museum in the 1930s and remains so to this day.

The former religious house is known for its ancient mosaics and other works of art that date back centuries. Travelers should plan to spend several hours taking in everything this place has to offer, but they should also keep in mind that that the museum can be crowded at times.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey castle

Buying online tickets is a good way to avoid the lines upon entry. Admission is free for children and 30 lire for those over the age of twelve. The site is open from nine am to four pm from October to the middle of April. From then until September, the building remains open until six pm.

Blue Mosque 

Also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, this religious edifice was constructed between the years 1609 and 1616. While many of the opulent decorations from earlier years have since been removed, the building retains a great deal of its original charm.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey building

It is also still used as a fully functioning mosque. Therefore, women that want to view the site will be required to cover their heads with a scarf to obtain entry. Travelers of all faiths and genders should also keep their arms and shoulders covered as well. Cover-ups and veils are provided for those that have arrived without them, but anyone that is worried about the cleanliness of these garments may want to bring clothes to wear instead.

There is no admission charge for visiting the mosque, but the site often gets crowded, and travelers will want to plan accordingly.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey floor

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The most difficult part of planning a trip to Istanbul is finding a time when the weather is pleasant. The city is known to fluctuate between temperature extremes. The months of September, October, May, and June are considered the best time to visit.
  • Travelers will want to bring along warm clothing and an umbrella any time they visit.
  • Those making their way to the city should double check the weather reports and adjust their packing lists accordingly.
  • Those at the Turkish baths who find the prospect of being bathed by someone else alarming can always scrub themselves. This choice will also save around 25 lire per trip.
  • The events and attractions that have lines offer no accommodations for autism.
  • The food in Istanbul might be spicy, which can be a problem for kids with food sensetivities.
  • The Topkapi Palace features a lot of walking areas. Parents should make sure everyone wears comfortable shoes.
  • The Topkapi Palace can get crowded. Parents should try to arrive at times when it isn’t as busy, usually early in the morning or late in the day.
  • At the Blue Mosque, parents should make sure kids stay quiet out of respect.
  • Most of the areas in Istanbul are not interactive. Parents should make sure kids know what they can or cannot touch.
  • Topkapi Palace is vast, so parents might just want to see the highlights.
  • Haggling is a way of life in Istanbul, so parents should check prices before buying anything.

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism pin

 


Hello Margalit,

My name is Dondria, and I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana.
We are traveling to Madrid, Spain next month and my husband, and I were trying to decide on something. Our twin fourteen-year-old sons have autism. We have taken them places and done road-trips, and they have flown before, and we survived.
Now for this trip, they are older, and we think they will be able to cope even better. We were wondering whether we should take them to a Flamenco show or not since everybody that I spoke to seems to recommend it. Have you been to Spain? Did you go to a Flamenco show? I know so little about that country and the shows so I was hoping you could give me some tips and pointers.

Thanks in advance,

Dondria

Dear Dondria,

I’m so excited for you.
There is so much to see and do in Spain so be sure to read our posts. With the increase in the interest and popularity of Flamenco recently, there has been a new awakening to this art and dance form. About five years ago, it was declared to be one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In fact, there are dance academies dedicated to teaching Flamenco all over the world.

Because of this, I have to agree with your friends. If you are going to be in Spain, you should try to go to a Flamenco show. It is authentic and a real cultural experience at the place where it all began.
I will share what I know and one of my personal experiences so it will be easier for you to make an informed decision regarding taking your sons along.

 

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism man

Booking and Length of Time

As you can imagine, Flamenco shows are very popular with tourists visiting Spain – in particular for the first time.
Flamenco shows typically happen during the evenings and can last anywhere between two to four hours depending on if they include a dinner. The best show need to be booked ahead otherwise you will struggle to get in, especially during the holiday season.
I’m glad you mentioned the age of your boys since shows like that are not necessarily recommended for children younger than the age of 10.

Specific Autism Concerns

With that said, though, taking children with autism to shows, may prove quite challenging. Scheduling can prove to be difficult since no parent can know for sure how their child is going to feel on that day.

Given the nature of the performance, the show can be quite loud. You should consider this if one or both of your sons has any sensitivity to noise.

The shows can be quite pricey anywhere between 50 to 100 euros. You don’t want to unnecessarily waste that money by not attending as planned or by leaving because your children are overwhelmed by the sensory experience.

Another issue is the fact that many of the most up-scale venues require a dress code. This fact can be a difficulty with a person who has sensory problems and might not be comfortable wearing button-down shirts or even a jacket.

One of the shows we attended was four hours long.! The venue had very few food choices coupled with uncomfortable seating close to the dancers. The room itself was also somewhat crowded and dark. The tables were placed close together forcing people to sit close to one another. It was almost impossible to move or get up to take a break.

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism ladies

Recommendations

Here are my recommendations for if you DO  decide to take your children.

Explain to them in advance what Flamenco is all about. You could show them a few clips on YouTube so that they can get an idea of what to expect.

Get a table that is not too close to the stage so that the experience is not as intense. Also, if you do have to leave early, it is easier and less disruptive to move.

Plan to go to one of the shorter shows. If they can sit through a movie, they will be able to sit through a shorter Flamenco performance.

Have a meal before attending the show. This way, the kids won’t get hungry or deal with food that they don’t want to or can’t eat.

I hope you have a wonderful time of making memories and that this will be the first of many good experiences for your boys.

Margalit

 

 

 

 

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids pin

Philadelphia was the heart of the American Revolution, the location where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. There is so much to this city for traveling families to experience, even aside from its historical value. Here are our best destinations in Philadelphia for families with autism.

Philadelphia Zoo

This zoo is most known as America’s first zoo ever, located in the Centennial District of Philly. The zoo opened on July 1, 1874, with 1,000 animals. The city of Philadelphia takes pride in their zoo for being one of the premier zoos in the world for breeding animals that are difficult to breed in captivity. With forty-two acres, home to more than 1,300 animals, the Philadelphia Zoo welcomes visitors to explore and learn about endangered animals and how we can help them.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids cow

This zoo features a total of fifteen permanent exhibitions. One of these is the much loved First Niagra Big Cat Falls. Here, guests can walk through a naturalistic habitat and come face to face with endangered big cats around the world like Snow Leopards, pumas, lions, and jaguars. Visitors can also experience the Treetop Trails which is the first component to the zoo’s zoo360 animal exploration system. The Treetop Trails is a campus-wide network of see-through mesh trails that allows animals to leave their traditional enclosures and explore more of the campus.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids item

Franklin Square

Parents looking for something fun for the kids to do outdoors should head to the Franklin Square. William Penn planned Franklin Square along with five other open-spaced parks when he laid out the city in 1682. Also, this location is called Franklin Square to honor the founding father, Benjamin Franklin. In the beginning, the square was used as an open common use for grazing animals, storing gunpowder during American Revolution and drilling soldiers during the War of 1812. Local legend also states that this square is where Benjamin Franklin performed his famous “kite and key” experiment in 1752. While there, guests can take a ride on the Liberty Carousel, play a round of mini golf, visit the Franklin Square Fountain or run around at one of the two playgrounds.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids building

Independence National Historical Park

At Independence National Historical Park, visitors can see the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and the Ben Franklin Museum. The park comprises much of the Philadelphia’s most-visited historic district. Visitors can also stop at the Liberty 360 3D show. The show is located in the PECO Theater inside the Historic Philadelphia Center. The screen is 360 degrees and stands fifty feet in diameter and eight feet high. The show is about fifteen minutes and uses the most modern technology to tell a story led by Ben Franklin about our nation’s symbols of freedom from the bald eagle to the Statue of Liberty.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids street

Betsy Ross House

Travelers who have the chance should go on over to the Betsy Ross House. At this house, visitors get to see where the seamstress lived and sewed the first American Flag. Guests can tour the house and learn about Betsy and her life or meet her themselves in her upholstery shop. There, visitors can ask “Betsy Ross” in person about her life and work as well as learn firsthand how to use the upholstery tools she used herself.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids interior

Rodin Museum

This art museum features the largest collection of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works. It was originally founded by Jules Mastbaum, who started collecting Rodin’s works in 1923. While Mastbaum didn’t live to see the museum’s opening, it opened in 1929. Here, travelers can see Rodin’s most famous work, The Thinker, sitting in the entry courtyard. Other works such as The Kiss, The Age of Bronze, and Eternal Springtime can be found here.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids rodin

The Franklin Institute

This museum, named after Benjamin Franklin, is one of the oldest centers of science education in the United States, having been founded in 1824. Here, visitors can see many of the interesting permanent exhibits. These include Electricity, showcasing Franklin’s discovery of electricity and how it is used today, The Giant Heart, a replica heart built in 1954, and The Train Factory with a real, moving Baldwin 60000 steam locomotive. The Franklin Institute sits at the intersection of 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids tree

Please Touch Museum 

One of the best museums in Philadelphia for kids has to be the Please Touch Museum. The Please Touch Museum has been opened since 1976. It was the first museum in the nation that intentionally targeted families with children seven and younger. The mission of the foundation is to “enrich the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play” as stated on their website. The museum is famous for being an area where children can freely play and touch whatever they like. Meaningful interactive play-based experiences encourage imaginative thinking.

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids inside

Autism Travel Tips:

  • In 2013 the zoo opened the KidZooU for the special needs communities. KidZooU includes Braille, sign language and a picture exchange system for children on the autism spectrum. Furthermore, on selected days the zoo has autism awareness days so parents should check the zoo website for the dates.
  • The Please Touch Museum is a highly interactive museum that kids will love.The museum offers a quiet Space for children and families who need a  break , Quiet Kits containing items and special events for families with autism.
  • Kids on the spectrum interested in science will enjoy the Franklin Institute particularly on Sundays when the venue offers their sensory friendly Sundays.
  • Franklin Square Na Independence Park are great outdoor places to take kids to burn off some energy.

 

Exploring Philadelphia with Kids

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts pin

Everyone who grows up in the United States hears about Plymouth, Massachusetts. Often called “America’s Hometown,” Plymouth was the site where the Pilgrims on the Mayflower famously arrived in 1620, “discovering” America. It was the location of the first Thanksgiving and remains a port city for the area. Plymouth makes for a great day trip from Boston, and there are two main attractions of historical significance to see: the ship and the plantation.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts sky

Historical Significance

Before the Pilgrims settled in the area, Plymouth’s location was a village of over two thousand Wampanoag Native Americans called Patuxet. European explorers visited the area twice prior to Plymouth’s establishment. In 1614 and 1617, two plagues possibly transmitted from visiting British and French fishermen killed about 96% of the local population. The tribe abandoned their cornfields and cleared areas that the Pilgrims later occupied.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts boat

As mentioned, Plymouth was founded in 1620 by the passengers of the Mayflower, the pilgrims. The pilgrims were separatist Puritans who broke away from the Church of England because of their belief that the Church did not complete the work of the Protestant Reformation. The town was named after the English city where the Mayflower departed. It is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States and served as the capital of the Plymouth Colony until the Colony merged with the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1691.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts item

What You Will See

At Plymouth, there are two main attractions: the Ship, and the Plantation. We’ll discuss each attraction separately below. In addition to these main attractions, there are many other things to do, such as checking out a cranberry farm, the 911 memorial, historic sites, museums, and different fun events.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts inside

The Ship

The ship is a full-size replica of the original Mayflower, called the Mayflower II. Travelers can explore two layers with in-character docents who tell visitors about what it was like to sail a ship in that time.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts shipGuides also inform travelers about the history of the Mayflower and the Mayflower II. Currently, the Mayflower II is at Mystic Seaport getting a full restoration until 2019. However, visitors can still see many of the shops nearby. Those interested can actually donate to help with restorations for the ship here.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts wood

Of course, visitors get to see the great Plymouth Rock, allegedly the one the first settlers stepped on upon arrival. Nearby, active kids can run around the beautiful beach front park.

The Plantation

This plantation is otherwise known as the “Plimoth Plantation.” It is a living history museum with acting volunteers and replicas of different sites.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts outside

Upon arrival, visitors first watch a movie about the settlement, detailing the history and daily life of the settlers. Only after watching the video are visitors allowed to explore the rest of the site.

The area is divided into a replica of a Wampanoag village and a Plymouth settlement. Volunteers in costumes reenact daily tasks like cooking, weaving, making posts, and making a canoe. After that, travelers can visit the artisans. Here, the volunteers show visitors how to make traditional items such as candles, clay pots and bread.
Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts bull
There is also a separate area that shows how the settlers lived – their homes, a church and even the backyards with livestock such as cows, sheep, goats, and hens. What is fascinating about these animals is that they are actual rare direct descendants of specific breeds actually used by the original settlers. These breeds include Kerry cattle, San Clemente Island goats, Tamworth Pigs, and eastern wild turkeys. Plimoth Plantation does its part to help save the genetic diversity of these rare, endangered breeds.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts native american

Location, Hours, and Admission

Travelers can find Plimoth Plantation at 137 Warren Avenue. They can locate the ship at the nearby state pier. The sites are both open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts man

To get to Plymouth, travelers can take the train from Boston, then take a cab from the train station to the ship or plantation. Travelers can also drive or take the bus from Boston’s South Station.

Taking Kids with Autism to Plymouth Massachusetts ship

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There is a cafeteria onsite. The cafe serves various foods, including “settler’s grub” and Native American staples.
  • Families can enjoy the special events throughout the week.
  • Much of the area is outdoors, so parents should take weather issues into consideration. Parents should also make sure everyone’s wearing comfortable shoes.
  • There are no wheelchairs or strollers available. However, the staff does offer golf carts to transport visitors to various sections on a first come, first serve basis.
  • There is a handy Parent’s Guide available on the website that has some great tips and educational information.

 

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families

 

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families pin

Located on the eastern coast of Denmark, this tenth-century fishing village has turned into a famous cultural city for all of Scandinavia. There are a variety of museums and even the two oldest amusement parks in the world in Copenhagen! Check out this list of what to see when visiting the city of spires.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families cake

Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park

Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park opened in 1843 in central Copenhagen, making it the second oldest amusement park (behind Dyrehavsbakken). Visitors can enjoy a roller coaster, Rutschebanen, built in 1915. They can also ride the oldest Ferris wheel still in use, built in 1943.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families skull

There are also new rides, like the Star Flyer, that gives visitors a 360-degree view of the city. However, those who don’t want to go on the rides can still enjoy many other attractions. Tivoli regularly holds various shows at the Concert Hall. Also, the staff lights up parts of Tivoli with festive lights during the holidays, including the lake.

Dyrehavsbakken (Bakken) Amusement Park

The oldest amusement park in the world, founded in 1583, is surrounded by 400-year-old trees and thousands of deer in the forest of Jægersborg Dyrehave. There are thirty-three rides and attractions at Bakken, more than any other amusement park in Scandinavia. The park also boasts several restaurants, pubs, and live music, so there’s something for everyone in the family here. Due to its location and historical value, no big name brands can set up in Bakken, and all neon signs are banned.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families street

The Little Mermaid Statue

Many of Copenhagen’s visitors make their way to Langelinje Pier to see the sculpture of the Little Mermaid. She is over 100 years old and was a gift to the city from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen. The sculpture was inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson tale about a mermaid and is made of bronze and granite. The mermaid has been vandalized several times but is always restored because it is such a popular tourist sight.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families statue

Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg Palace, made up of four identical buildings, was constructed in the 1700s.  The Amalienborg Museum has rooms dedicated to the traditional and modern royal family. This museum displays history going back 150 years to Christian IX and Queen Louise, known as “the in-laws of Europe” because four of their many children ruled England, Greece, Russia, and Denmark. The rooms of these monarchs still stand intact to this day, reflecting the period’s tastes and personalities of the kings and queens.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families water

Beside the Amalienborg Museum, the Palace also features an event for the changing of the guards. Each day at noon, the guards march from their barracks by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen to Amalienborg Palace.

Rosenborg Castle

Finished in 1633, Rosenborg Castle was one of Christian IV’s many lots and became his favorite summer spot. The palace was built in four phases in the early 1600s and was used as a royal residence until 1710. Guests can see artifacts from the kings and queens that lived at Rosenborg throughout the years, such as, sculptures, furniture and more. These objects represent the history of high Danish culture from the late sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. Of course, everyone wants to see the exclusive Crown Jewels displayed on a Schatzkammer, as well as the Throne Chair of Denmark.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families ride

Hans Christian Andersen’s Childhood Home and Museum

Hans Christian Andersen and his parents lived in a small house close to St. Knud’s Cathedral for just over ten years. The exhibit in the home helps remake the interior in the image of the description Anderson gave in his autobiographies. Here, guests can see the simple rooms where the world-renowned fairy tale writer found inspiration.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families ship

Next to the home is the Hans Christian Andersen museum, opened in 1908 and one of the oldest poet museums. It celebrates Andersen’s life, inspiration, and writings.

Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale House

This museum focuses on what Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Here, visitors can see hand-written manuscripts as well as a trip to Andersen’s study to hear “him” speak about his life and travels abroad. Families can also enjoy the live fairy tale exhibit which boasts advanced lighting effects and a sound system translated in Danish, English, and German.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families statues

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Tivoli joined the Accessibility Label Scheme in 2005, meaning parts can find info on the park’s accessibility online.
  • Public accessible parking spaces are available for Tivoli by the main entrance at the Glyptotek entrance. Wheelchair users can access all entrances.
  • Visitors who bring electric wheelchairs can recharge them at various charging points by the lockers near the Pantomime Theatre and near the Nurses’ Station.
  • Parents can book tickets for the Concert Hall and Glass Hall Theater in Tivoli.
  • Support companions are admitted to Tivoli for free.
  • Bakken houses absolutely no big name brands regarding vendors. Parents of kids who want something familiar ought to eat before going to the park.
  • The Bakken amusement park is free to get into, but parents will need to pay extra for a multi-ride pass.
  • The Hans Christian Andersen childhood home is not wheelchair accessible.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families shore

 

Taking the Family to Boston’s JFK Presidential Library

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library pin

Boston is a city full of interesting historical places for traveling families to see. However, a fascinating place every family in Boston needs to experience is the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. This library is the perfect place for families to know more about the life of this noteworthy president. Traveling families can also enjoy the nearby Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library view

 

What You Will See 

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum honors the life and legacy of the President through exhibits about his public and personal life, as well as events that occurred during his presidency.
Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library office

The museum is focused on both John F. Kennedy’s public and private life. Permanent exhibits include coverage of his campaign, how he effectively used the television to get his message to Americans, the “Space Race” to the moon, furnishings from the Oval Office and exhibits about his wife, Jackie, and their family. The museum also features special exhibits about a variety of Kennedy-related topics (Presidential getaway to Cape Cod, the Cuban Missile Crisis, his Inauguration, and more).

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library appliance

Our son loved the slabs from the Berlin Wall that he had also seen in the Reagan Library. He commented on how both a Republican and Democrat president had a slab in their respective libraries. He was also fascinated with how the Kennedy family, JFK in particular, led the advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. One of JFK’s sisters was mentally disabled, so the topic was close to his heart. Furthermore, our son liked seeing JFK’s office with a replica of the ship he was on while he was in the Navy. We also saw all the gifts sent to him and his family while they were in the White House, including a small Japanese doll for his daughter.

One of the best things to see in this museum is the artifacts and memorabilia from the JFK election period. Visitors can see an extensive collection of newspapers, TV clips, costumes, dresses, hats, and pins. All these items get guests to relieve the tense environment of the election.

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library hat

Edward M. Kennedy Institute

Located near the JFK Library and Museum, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute is a tribute to the influential senator’s 47-year career. It also educates the public about the Senate and encourages visitors to participate in the democracy of the United States.

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library posts

 

At the entrance to the Institute, visitors first see impressive granite pillars carved with the names of the fifty US states and the year each was accepted into the Union.
Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library hall

The Institute boasts interactive exhibits to help both children and adults gain a better understanding of this governmental body. Visitors can get a real experience of being in the United States Senate in the full-scale replica of the U.S. Senate Chamber. They can also learn all about what the Senate is, who works there, how a bill becomes law and how we can all make a difference. In fact, kids can create their own bill and try to convince fellow congress people the importance of what they’re presenting in the Senate Chamber. The Institute also features an issue of the day, rotating between Immigration, Health Care, and Civil Rights.

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library ship

Visitors can also learn about Edward M. Kennedy’s legislative battles, where he stood on a variety of issues and can hear some of his speeches. Also not to be missed is his office, which includes a bust of his brothers RFK and JFK. Here, visitors can see his paintings, since Edward Kennedy had a talent for landscapes.

 

Location, Hours, Cost 

The JFK Library is located at Columbia Point, 220 Morrissey Boulevard. The Edward M. Kennedy Institute is next door at Columbia Point 210. Both are roughly a 20-30 minute drive out of Boston. The JFK Library is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, and the Institute is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library display

Admission to the JFK Library is $14 for adults and $10 for children 13-17. Children under 12 get in for free, and there are various discounts for seniors, college students, and veterans/active military.

Admission to the Institute is $16 for adults 25-61, $14 for adults 18-24, and $8 for children 6-17. One can get discounts for seniors, veterans, and MA residents, and children under 6 get in for free. Visitors can enjoy a $2 discount if they show a same-day ticket for the JFK Library.

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library tv

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The JFK museum features a free educational iPad app for children called the JFK Challenges. This app focuses on astronauts and the moon landing, as well as the Peace Corps created during JFK’s presidency.
  • There are some great resources on the website to help prepare children or adults who might not know what to expect at the museum. These sites include photos and recordings of speeches from John F. Kennedy, a family tree that starts all the way back with Joseph P. Kennedy (born in 1888) and the many legacies that JFK has left behind (the Peace Corps, Green Berets, different funds and charities).
  • Families should attend a family friendly docent-led tour to learn more about the highlights of the museum.
  • Both institutions are ideal for older, school-aged children. However, younger ones might have a tough time staying interested.
  • The website recommends 1.5-2 hours to visit the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
  • Visitors can enjoy a café, gift shop, and coat check at the Institute.
  • The Institute is wheelchair friendly.

Taking the Family to Boston's JFK Presidential Library variety

 

 

 

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