sensory friendly holiday


In Events, Fun, by Healthy Family Living TeamLeave a Comment

All kids should have the chance to experience the holiday magic and to visit Santa. We have gathered the sensory friendly Holiday events and Santa visits around Metro Vancouver & the Lower Mainland.

Metro Vancouver is full of Holiday magic! Tree lightings, special holiday events and Santa photo's are a yearly tradition, a wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas and make special family memories.

These events are especially designed to reduce the sensory stimulation overload that can make holiday events, such as a trip to see Santa, just too overwhelming.

Sensory Friendly Holiday Events Near Vancouver 2019:

sensory friendly holiday

Santa Cares: Sensory Friendly Santa Photos

Santa Cares is held in partnership with Autism Speaks. This one-of-a-kind Sensitive Santa Experience is arranged specifically for individuals with autism and their family members. This experience involves smaller groups and fewer sensory triggers. Click the times below to book your spot. 

Surrey at Central City 

Nov. 24 – 9AM-11AM

Dec. 1 – 9AM-11AM

Vancouver at Oakridge Centre 

Dec. 1 – 8:30AM-10:30AM

Dec. 8 – 8:30AM-10:30AM

Dec. 15 – 8:30AM-10:30AM

sensory friendly holiday

Sensory Friendly Polar Express

Polar Express is a magical Christmas train ride that re-enacts the movie The Polar Express. Now there is a sensory-friendly option for families on November 24th. Tickets include a 50-minute train ride with hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. Then after the ride you can enjoy Santa’s village with indoor mini rail, gingerbread decorating, train building and much more!

Sunday, November 2410:00 am ONLY
39645 Government Road, Squamish
Reserve your seats HERE.

sensory friendly holiday

City of Surrey’s Tree Lighting Festival

The City of Surrey has partnered with the Canucks Autism Network to offer a Sensory Space for anyone looking for a quiet, comfortable space during the event. This is located in room 1E inside the atrium.

A sensory friendly space is a calm and quiet area designed to create a supportive environment for individuals who have autism spectrum disorder, anxiety or other sensory-processing needs. These spaces are quieter, may have dimmed lights, quiet activities, comfortable seating and sensory toys such as stress balls and noise-canceling headphones.

Saturday, November 23, 2019
12 Noon - 8:00 PM / Tree Lighting 6:30 PM
Surrey Civic Plaza | Free Admission

sensory friendly holiday

Sensory Friendly Morning at Science World

Sensory Friendly guests can enjoy these amenities:

  • Access to galleries and exhibits before the general public enters at 10am
  • Light and sound modifications
  • Designated sensory break room
  • Centre Stage show with reduced noise
  • Additional signage

They will also be playing a sensory friendlier screening of Great Bear Rainforest. Learn more.

Sunday, January 25,  8:00am - 10:00
1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver

sensory friendly holiday

Celebrating Accessibility at the Vancouver Aquarium

Discover the facilities at the Vancouver Aquarium and enjoy additional services in celebration of accessibility and our oceans. As part of the Vancouver Aquarium's commitment to accessibility, guests with disabilities can take advantage of the following services and amenities every day:

  • 50% off admission rate or a free attendant when paying full admission price
  • Accredited Service dogs are welcomed in their galleries
  • Wheelchairs, walkers, noise-reducing headphones and autism comfort kits are available for loan on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Adult change table located in the underwater Arctic washroom
  • Learn more about their everyday accessibility offering here:

On December 7th, the Vancouver Aquarium will also be offering additional programming including:

  • Guided Tours offered for the Wet Lab experience at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm (register for this tour at the Guest Services desk upon arrival as space is limited)
  • Canuck Autism Network is hosting an interactive display that is engaging and fun for all ages
  • Meet the Pacific Assistance Dog Society (PADS) team who breeds, raises and trains fully certified dogs. You may see a puppy in training!
  • American Sign Language interpreters from Douglas College will be in galleries and at selected shows
  • In time for the holidays, a visit with Scuba Claus! Watch the jolly old man in the red suit dive in the Strait of Georgia exhibit
  • 4D-Theatre includes wheelchair spaces, closed-captioning and assistive listening devices.

Saturday, December 7,  9:00am - 5:00pm
845 Avison Way, Vancouver

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