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Sensory Friendly Resources at Robinson Nature Center

The Robinson Nature Center welcomes your family's visit. In partnership with Leadership Howard, the Howard County Recreation & Parks Therapeutic Recreation program and the Howard County Autism Society we have developed visual, social, communicative and sensory supports for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder as well as developmental, sensory and learning differences. You will find these supports throughout the nature center and can read more about them below. Additionally, we offer regular training opportunities for our staff and volunteers on how to accommodate children and adults with developmental, sensory and learning differences. We hope our staff, volunteers and tangible supports help your family to have a successful visit and leave you feeling happy and eager to return and to continue exploring nature as a family.

Sensory Backpacks
Sensory Friendly backpacks include fidget toys, headphones and an explorer badgeUpon request, we have sensory backpacks at our front desk for your family's use. The backpacks contain noise-reducing headphones, sensory fidgets and a Robinson "Nature Explorer" badge. You will also find a copy of  our sensory friendly building map and information about Howard County's Therapeutic Recreation program inside the bags. 

These bags are free for use throughout your visit. All we ask is that you leave a drivers license or other ID at the front desk which will be returned to you upon your departure. 

 

Orientation
If you are planning a visit with a child who has special needs, you may call 410-313-0400 ahead of your visit to notify our front desk. When you arrive and check in with the front desk, they can provide you with more information on the visual/sensory supports available and/or check your family out a sensory backpack to enhance your child's experience at the Nature Center. If you would like any items removed from your backpack, please mention when you call ahead and we can have the backpack ready when you arrive.

Sensory Friendly Building Map
The maps below show our building's quiet areas and headphone zones and give an idea of what to expect in each area of our building. Click on the links below to preview the picture-based map or the text-based map.

Sensory Friendly Building Map with pictures

Sensory Friendly Building Map with text descriptions

Quiet Areas and Headphone Zones

 

Our Headphone Zones are locations where we expect the noise level to be higher due to exhibit sounds or due to high use on busier days. These are areas where those sensitive to loud noises might prefer to use noise-dampening headphones.
 

 

Our Quiet Areas are places where we expect the noise level to be reduced. If you’re looking for an area to unwind, these locations are the best to visit indoors. Getting out on our trail system can also provide a very relaxing experience.

 

Social Narrative
Preview, download, print and/or read the social narrative about visiting the Nature Center with your child. This narrative covers what to expect during the visit and provides pictures of different areas indoors and outdoors to help your family prepare for your visit.

Planetarium Visit/Social Narrative
If you will be joining us for a planetarium program or are booking a group visit with this component, see the planetarium visit social narrative here. Please call 410-313-0400 ahead of your visit if you would like to reserve a bean bag seat, soft blanket, fidget items or a weighted item for your child’s lap. To find out when planetarium programs are offered, see our Programs page.

Sample itineraries 
Check back soon for suggested itineraries for your visit based on how much time you anticipate spending at the Nature Center. These itineraries are for a general day visit and do not include programs, which you are welcome to peruse on our Program page. If you are booking a visit for a group of 10 or more, please see our field trip offerings or call our front desk at 410-313-0400 to book a general visit for your group.

Suggested Indoor itinerary (Available when the Nature Center is open)

Suggested indoor itinerary (Available on Sensory Sundays)

Suggested outdoor itinerary

Sensory Friendly Sundays
Click here for more information on our upcoming Sensory-Friendly Sunday events. 

Survey
We would love to hear how your visit to the Robinson Nature Center went, and any improvements that could be made to help you feel more welcome and at ease. Contact us at 410-313-0400 or click here to take our brief online survey. During your visit, should you utilize a sensory backpack, there is a card with a QR code that also links to our sensory friendly visit survey. Thank you for your feedback!