Inclusive and accessible family experiences in Ontario
From sensory-friendly experiences and trails and beaches with wheelchair access to special resources and services, find businesses, operators and experiences dedicated to creating a more accessible and inclusive Ontario.
Museums, galleries and theatres
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto
One of the largest museums in North America, the ROM is renowned for its diverse collection of natural history, art and world culture. Its distinctive architecture, notably the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which blends historic and modern elements has made it a Toronto landmark.
The ROM has partnered with Autism Ontario and worked with trained staff and volunteers to create a sensory-friendly guide for visitors with children with autism and other sensory processing disorders. Designated quiet spaces are located throughout the premises.
Download mobility-friendly and quiet zone maps in advance of your visit.
Location: 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto
One of Canada’s most distinguished art museums is home to an expansive collection of Indigenous, Canadian and international art, ranging from contemporary to modern style.
The AGO’s Relaxed Visit Events on designated dates and times welcome neurodiverse visitors, including those on the autism spectrum, those with sensory and communication disorders, people with learning disabilities and all other visitors who want a more relaxed and comfortable experience. Guest can move stim and make noise freely.
Download the sensory map with detailed information for navigating the gallery and the visual guide which helps reduce anxiety by detailing the AGO experience. Sensory kits are also available at the Multisensory Art Cart and include noise-reducing headphones, fidget toys, sunglasses and more.
Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Young People’s Theatre in Toronto
Each year Canada’s largest and most established professional theatre for young audiences presents a full season of entertaining and educational programming.
Designed to make the theatre-going experience more inclusive, Relaxed Performances offer adjusted sound and lighting levels, a calm area to watch the show on video if needed and additional accommodations and resources. Audio-described and American Sign Language (ASL) shadow-interpreted performances are also offered.
The Meet the Theatre program provides a behind-the-scenes tour of the theatre including technical elements like sound, lights, costumes, set pieces and props before attending a performance. This can be a great option for guests who feel nervous about attending the theatre, especially for the first time.
Location: 165 Front Street East, Toronto
London Children’s Museum in London
This unique museum aims to inspire creativity, curiosity and a love of learning through fun and interactive exhibits and programs for kids and families.
Special Sensory Friendly Evenings offer a quieter museum experience for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), physical or cognitive disabilities or sensory processing considerations and their families.
Noise, crowds and stimulation are significantly reduced with limited attendance. Attendance for kids and their families is free, but limited, so pre-registration is required.
Location: 21 Wharncliffe Road South, London
Science centers, zoos and aquariums
Canadian Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa
Interactive exhibits, historical collections and educational programs showcase Canada’s scientific and technological heritage and its impact on society.
The museum provides sensory guides and social stories to help prepare and support visitors with autism spectrum disorders or disabilities.
Location: 1867 Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa
Ontario Science Centre in Toronto
Dive into the world of science and technology with interactive exhibits, shows and programs dedicated to exploration, innovation and discovery at the Ontario Science Centre.
Assistive devices at the Ontario Science Centre include automated entry doors, film captioning and assistive listening devices, a limited number of wheelchairs onsite and accessible parking, elevators and washrooms.
Download large print guide maps.
Location: 770 Don Mills Road, North York
Science North in Sudbury
One of Northern Ontario’s most popular attractions invites you to explore science in a new and fun way with educational and entertaining exhibits, an IMAX theatre, a planetarium and more.
Sensory Friendly Sundays offer a quieter experience with sounds turned down, lighting adjusted, less busy and with designated sensory break spaces.
Location: 100 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto
Ripley’s extensive collection of marine life features aquatic habitats from around the world and its interactive exhibits offer a unique educational experience with marine ecosystems.
Ripley’s is also the first attraction in Canada to be designated a Certified Autism Centre by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This certification process included extensive training and an IBCCES guide at each exhibit with information on sensory impacts.
Monthly sensory-friendly hours provide altered lighting, music-free environments and quiet rooms.
Location: 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
The Toronto Zoo in Toronto
One of the largest zoos in the world, the Toronto Zoo is home to over 5,000 animals representing more than 450 species from around the world. The zoo provides visitors with an entertaining, educational and immersive experience.
Learn about the accessible facilities at the zoo and download the accessibility guide and social stories for helpful information and support for guests with diverse needs. Use the sensory maps to identify headphone zones and quiet areas. Visit the Accessibility and Rental Hub to borrow a sensory bag with noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys and visual cue cards. Wheelchair and scooter rentals are also available.
Location: 200 Meadowvale Road, Toronto
Amusement and theme parks
Canada's Wonderland in Vaughan
Canada’s largest theme park is well-known for some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in North America and entertaining shows, rides and attractions. It’s also home to the popular Splash Works water park.
The park provides accessibility programs and services for kids with special needs, including ride access passes, a dedicated quiet room for guests with sensory processing concerns, assistive listening devices in theatres, braille and large print guides, a family care centre, accessible facilities and wheelchair rental.
Rides are rated on a scale of “thrill” categories so parents can determine the best experiences for their family.
Location: 1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive, Vaughan
Storybook Gardens in London
Located along the Thames River in London, Ontario, Storybook Gardens is an outdoor, fairy tale-themed amusement park with rides and other attractions that focus on interactive play, nature and literacy.
During the summer, the park hosts Sensory Friendly Thursdays between the off-peak hours of 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. to avoid crowds and line-ups. Attractions remain open without music.
In addition, wheelchairs and strollers are available to loan and water wheelchairs are available for use at the splash pad. Reservations are encouraged.
Location: 1958 Storybook Lane, London
Sports programs and activity centres
CADS Ontario across Ontario
Founded in 1976, CADS is a foundation committed to developing teaching methods and equipment adaptions for children and adults with disabilities to enjoy skiing and snowboarding. The non-profit program works with dedicated volunteers and inspired skiers at eight participating locations in Ontario.
CADS programs are currently offered at Sir Sam’s near Haliburton, Searchmont near Sault Ste. Marie, and Ski Snow Valley and Horseshoe Resort near Barrie, as well as Caledon, Brimacombe in Oshawa and the Heights in Barrie ski clubs.
Note: a CADS membership is required before registration and capacity is limited.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Oakville
This centre provides a sensory-safe and fun environment for kids of all abilities to learn, explore and interact. In addition to sensory-based toys, special equipment and calming zones, there are suspended swings, crash mats and pillows, a zip line, an indoor play structure and an arts and crafts area.
Location: 245 Wyecroft Road, Unit #3, Oakville
Flying Squirrel Sports in various locations across Ontario
One of several facilities in Ontario, Flying Squirrel is a gravity-defying trampoline park and family fun centre with activities like a playground, rope courses, climbing walls and of course, trampolines.
Special discounts and services are offered to guests with special needs and on the first Tuesday of each month, the park invites parents and caregivers the opportunity to socialize in a sensory-friendly environment.
Locations: Ottawa, Hamilton, London and Whitby
Rogers Centre Stadium in Toronto
Famous for its retractable roof, this event centre hosts big-ticket concerts, and special events and of course, is home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.
The Rogers Centre worked with KultureCity, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating sensory accessibility and inclusion to develop a Sensory Room in section 212, behind the fan services. The space provided caters to the sensory processing needs of fans who may benefit from a calm, quiet retreat at all Rogers Centre events. Amenities include bean bag chairs, weighted lap pads, headphones, textured walls and sensory panels.
Location: 1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Wishing Well Sanctuary in Bradford
With a focus on humanity and compassion, this sanctuary provides the opportunity for gentle interactions with rescued farm animals.
The Kind Warrior Project is a weekly program inviting guests with a disability to visit for free between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., by appointment only. Carefully monitored interactions with the animals can be therapeutic and calming for children of all abilities.
Location: 2710 Line 10, Bradford
Pride Stables in Kitchener
Pride Stables and Central Ontario Developmental Riding Program (CODRP) is a therapeutic horseback riding program that has been delivering safe, quality experiences for children and adults with disabilities since 1973.
Location: 584 Pioneer Tower Road, Kitchener
Nature trails, parks and beaches
Ontario Provincial Parks across Ontario
Ontario's provincial parks continue to develop and deliver more inclusive experiences including accessible trails, allowing children and adults with mobility challenges to enjoy nature.
In addition, several Ontario parks have made beaches more accessible with all-terrain wheelchairs to move across the sand, Mobi float chairs to use in the water and beach mats which make wheelchair access easier.
Ontario Trails across Ontario
The Ontario Trails Council promotes the preservation, development and use of recreation multi-use trails and trail-based activities.
Here is a list of partial and complete wheelchair accessible trails at beaches, parks and conservation areas across the province.
Main Beach in Goderich
Famous for warm beaches and beach communities, Ontario’s Lake Huron west coast also blesses visitors with stunning sunsets. The main beach in the town of Goderich is a popular spot featuring a boardwalk, pier and playground.
During the summer, Main Beach is also equipped with a WaterWheels floating wheelchair and accessible Mobi-Mat to cover the sand toward the water. Equipment is free but requires pre-booking.
Location: 270 Harbour Street, Goderich
River Adventures in Bayfield
River Adventures offers kayaking and other water sport excursions based in the village of Bayfield on Lake Huron, just north of Grand Bend. One of the more unique experiences is glow-in-the-dark kayaking.
To make these water-based experiences more accessible, River Adventures has installed a hydraulic wheelchair access lift to assist people who use wheelchairs to get into kayaks and canoes more easily. There is also an accessible dock and launch pad.
Location: 76559 Bluewater Highway, Bayfield
Courtesy of the Easter Seals Society, the Access 2 Card provides free caregiver entry for people with all types of disabilities who require the assistance of a support person at participating entertainment, cultural and recreational venues, including tourism attractions and transportation services.
Select a city in Ontario to see all featured venues.
Last updated: February 13, 2024