GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will open early for a sensory-friendly event designed for visitors on the autism spectrum April 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The “Museum for Me” event includes sensory maps with an accessibility tip sheet on what to expect when exploring the museum, as well as a separate quiet space to decompress or desensitize, if needed. Florida Museum volunteers and staff will also be available in the exhibits to provide assistance for visitors and family members.
“We want to make a comfortable and welcoming environment for autism spectrum disorder visitors,” said public programs coordinator Catherine Carey. “It’s really about enjoying the museum in a less-busy environment.”
Now in its third year, the Florida Museum hosts the event in April to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day.
“We’ve received a lot of positive responses from parents about this event,” Carey said. “Many visitors are happy that the museum is quiet so their children can sit down and explore at their own pace. Because of this event, they feel like they can come back and enjoy the museum again during regular hours.”
The event is free for visitors, but there is an admission charge for the “Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs” exhibit. The “Butterfly Rainforest” exhibit will not be available until the museum opens at 1 p.m.
For more information, visit www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/event/museum-for-me-autism or call 352-273-2064.