Sensory-friendly DFW Holiday Events for 2023
Twinkling lights, festive music, and bustling crowds all help to make the Christmas season a magical and memorable time for many individuals. Yet these same elements can be overwhelming for people with sensory sensitivities and other special needs. As awareness has increased, more inclusive holiday options are becoming available around town. For 2023, here are some of the top sensory-friendly Christmas events happening in DFW:
A Charlie Brown Christmas at Dallas Children’s Theater
Enjoy music, laughter, and a focus on the real reason for the season with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang. Adaptations include brighter house lighting and lower sound levels, and a quiet room for children who may need a break. Families can also help kids prepare for the experience with family resources including a downloadable social story, parent tipsheet, and synopsis of the play. Recommended for ages 5 and up; find ticketing information and family resources here.
Date: November 18 (preshow begins at 12:30 PM; show begins at 1:30 PM)
Location: Rosewood Center (5938 Skillman, Dallas, TX 75231)
Cost: $5 per person (call DCT Box Office at 214-740-0051 to reserve tickets or request wheelchair-accessible seating)
Sensory-friendly Night at Dallas Zoo Lights
Experience the magical sight of more than 2 million lights, glowing lanterns, and more at the Dallas Zoo. The evening will feature low volume music, activities for smaller crowds, safe havens throughout the zoo, a sensory station, and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus. Visitors may also borrow sensory bags with noise-cancelling headphones and a fidget toy for the evening. Find more info and purchase tickets here.
Date: November 27 from 5:30-10:00 PM
Location: The Dallas Zoo (650 S R.L. Thornton Fwy, Dallas, TX 75203)
Cost: $19 for adults, $15 for youth
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical at Casa Manana
Celebrate the holidays in this musical adaptation of Barbara Robinson’s best-selling book and play about some very unexpected visitors to church who end up starring in the annual Christmas pageant. Light and sound elements of the show will be muted, and a quiet room will be available. Tickets available here.
Date: December 3 at 11:00 AM
Location: Casa Manana (3101 W Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76107)
Cost: $24–$44 depending on seat selection.
The Nutcracker Ballet at Ballet North Texas
Audience members can enjoy a special sensory performance of this seasonal classic. Adaptations include lower sound levels, brighter lighting, and relaxed house rules which allow guests to move freely and talk during the performance. Trained staff, ushers, and volunteers will be available for assistance as well. Find more info and purchase tickets here.
Date: December 16, 2023 at 2:00 PM
Location: Moody Performance Hall (2520 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201)
Cost: $28–$68 depending on seat selection
Photos with Santa – Various
What’s Christmas without a chance to meet and take a photo with Santa? Check out one of the following opportunities to continue this holiday tradition in a quieter, less-crowded, sensory-friendly setting. Time slots are limited to a small number of guests, so book early!
- Autism Treatment Center (ATC)
Date: December 1 and 2, 1:00–4:00 PM
Location: ATC (10503 Metric Drive Dallas, TX 75243)
Cost: FREE but registration is required, here.
- Santa Cares at Galleria Dallas
Date: Sunday, December 17, 8:00–11:00 AM
Location: Galleria Level 1, near Banana Republic (13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240)
Cost: visit website for more information https://galleriadallas.com/holiday
The following events are presented by Cherry Hill Programs and Autism Speaks. There is no cost to book a reservation, and photo package purchases are optional. Santa, staff, and volunteers are trained to understand the needs of guests who are on the autism spectrum or have sensory sensitivities. Book reservations by location here.
- Santa Cares at Stonebriar Centre
Date: December 3, 10:45–11:15 AM
Location: 2601 Preston Road, Frisco, TX 75034
- Sensory Santa at The Shops at Willow Bend
Date: December 3, 10:00–11:00 AM
Location: 6121 West Park Blvd, Plano, TX 75093
This year, start a new holiday tradition with one or more of these sensory-friendly Christmas events. It’s a great way to include all of your loved ones in the joy and magic of the season!
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