Kids Spot

Kids SPOT now has new locations in Miami and West Palm Beach. Please check out our locations page to find a clinic near you.



Supporting Children With Autism in Raleigh

For families with children on the autism spectrum, you might be constantly searching for activities and locations that are enjoyable and accommodating to their needs. Raleigh is packed with plenty of sensory-friendly places you may not have heard of, each featuring calm, soothing elements and hands-on activities your child is sure to love.

Keep reading to explore the various creative, nature and play-based spaces and autism programs in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Autism-Friendly Spaces in Raleigh

Here are just a few of the venues in Raleigh that offer sensory-friendly programs and activities for children with autism:

Durant Nature Preserve

Durant Nature Preserve’s Sensory and Nature Play Garden offers a calming space to bring your child and explore beautiful gardens. Its colorful plants, whimsical murals and other nature play elements create a sensory-friendly experience perfect for the warmer months. Your child can enjoy the park’s play features while strolling the trails and learning about the different plants. Catch glimpses of dragonflies and frogs along the paths and ponds, and stop for a picnic at any of the tables or benches along the way.

Greystone Recreation Center

Greystone Recreation Center is a great place to take your child to enjoy the free indoor play area and meeting rooms for socializing, games and dancing. The rec center is also home to Sensory Friendly Sunday, an event featuring arts and crafts, music, a quiet area, sensory-friendly accommodations and limited capacity in the playground to reduce overstimulation.

Sertoma Arts Center

Sertoma Arts Center features Sensory Friendly Creative Saturdays, which offers accommodations for those with autism. The free drop-in format series allows your child to sit and paint in the setting of their choosing, with a quiet room, modifications made to sound and lighting and noise-canceling headsets. The creative program is open for all ages on the second Saturday of each month.

Raleigh Little Theatre

The Raleigh Little Theatre offers sensory-friendly performances for each production in its Family Series. The theater aims to create a welcoming, relaxed environment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities and other disabilities. Sensory-friendly performances include:

  • A reduction of loud or jarring sounds.
  • Modifications to the house lights.
  • Reductions in flashing or strobe lights.
  • Rules allowing audience members to move around and talk during the show.
  • Extra staff and volunteer support.
  • A designated “Take a Break Space.”

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh offers various autism-friendly activities, including sensory-friendly exhibits, films, and educational programs. When you visit, grab a sensory map that shows the sensory-friendly spaces within the museum, stop by the designated quiet area and pickup a backpack with noise-canceling headphones, visual aids and fidget toys.

Specific sensory-friendly events are also held throughout the year, where visitors can enjoy the museum in a calmer, quieter atmosphere. These events feature museum scientists, live animals and a myriad of other fun activities.

Marbles Children’s Museum

Marbles Children’s Museum is a fun and educational play space for kids of all ages. Featuring hands-on exhibits and award-winning programs, the museum prioritizes inclusivity and acceptance in its pricing, play experiences and sensory-sensitive events. During Sensory Friendly Playtime and IMAX screenings, the lights are kept on while the sound is turned down, and guests are encouraged to get up and dance around.

Autism-Friendly Activities in Raleigh

Other spaces in Raleigh that are great for children with autism and sensory sensitivities include:

Play Areas

Play is critical for children, especially those on the autism spectrum, as it contributes to greater physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being. Reap the benefits of play by visiting these playgrounds and parks in Raleigh:

  • Notasium: This music-themed indoor play space is an excellent space for children to listen to play, dance and experience the many benefits of music. The 3,000 square foot space is open for indoor play and birthday parties, or you can enroll your child in group music classes or individual lessons like piano, guitar and drum.
  • Angel Island Fun Park: This indoor play park features large ball pits, trampolines and multi-slides for hours of fun.
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport Observation Park: If your child is a fan of planes, this is the place for them. Entry is free, and the park features a small playground and a covered observation deck overlooking the Raleigh-Durham airport.

Additionally, you can find various mall play areas throughout Raleigh, including Crabtree Valley and Southpoint, as well as two that include train rides — Cary Town Center and Triangle Town Center.

Nature and Animal Centers

Children with autism can experience many mental health benefits from being around animals and getting into nature. Explore these nature and animal centers in Raleigh:

  • Winterpast Farm: This 10-acre family farm features an animal sanctuary for goats, sheep, emu, donkeys, guinea pigs and various other creatures. Children are encouraged to pet, feed and learn more about the animals on this eccentric farm.
  • Schenk Forest: Schenk Forest features beautiful walking trails, streams and horses along the way. The shady and quiet paths offer a space to relax, get away from noise and sensory overload and enjoy nature.
  • Prairie Ridge Ecocenter: This free outdoor play space features a native plant garden and tree arboretum, ponds, vernal pools and a trail system through the prairie and forest. In the Nature PlaySpace, your child can enjoy experimental play and programs to learn more about science and the surrounding ecosystem.

Arts and Crafts

For children with autism, engaging in art and pottery has been shown to reduce stress and promote self-expression. Enjoy arts and crafts with your child at the following spaces in Raleigh:

  • Little Doodles Play Cafe: This unique cafe features kid-friendly snacks and an art studio open daily. Unwind with a cup of coffee as your child explores a play space with books, crafts and plenty of toys and fun activities.
  • Wild at Art: This art studio provides a nurturing environment for kids to explore their creativity. The RainForest Room includes a large movement room for dance, yoga and art parties, while other rooms provide pottery and ceramics as well as classes and workshops to learn a range of art mediums.
  • Klaystation: This popular paint and pottery studio offers hundreds of pieces to choose from for your child to sit and create their own masterpiece. With small and large pieces, you can easily spend hours enjoying the serene environment and creating art.

Visit Effective Interventions for Autism Services in Raleigh, NC

From play areas and hands-on activities to soothing nature and animal centers, Raleigh is full of accommodating spaces for children on the autism spectrum. If you are searching for autism therapy services for your child, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), visit Effective Interventions, which is part of the Kids SPOT Family of Companies.

Our medical professionals and therapists have specialized training, providing autism ABA therapy in Raleigh, North Carolina. These sessions prioritize play, where your child can relax and open up so we can determine a personalized treatment plan to teach them essential skills. We’ll help them learn basic hygiene, communication and identifying and regulating emotions.

Contact Us

To learn more about our services or schedule autism therapy in Raleigh, fill out a contact form today.