Things to Do in the Triangle Region for Families of Children with Special Needs

Cary, NC – Parents of children with special needs know that enriching your child’s life with educational and fun activities is important. Depending on where you live, such activities can be hard to find. Whether you’re new to the Triangle Region or are visiting, here are some fun inclusive activities to see and do that the whole family can enjoy.

Marsh Creek Road Park

The “boundless” play areas at Marsh Creek Road Park in Raleigh were designed to include elements that stimulate sight and hearing. The rubber play surface is seamless and poured-in-place for safety, comfort and accessibility. The park was built to be accessible and “barrier free” with wide and gradual sidewalks.

Sassafras All Children’s Playground at Laurel Hills Park

The Sassafras All Children’s Playground is a new addition to Raleigh and replaced the old play area in Laurel Hills Park. The play area is designed for children of all abilities. While it has traditional play equipment, it also has accessible elevated decking, zip lines and adjustable basketball hoops.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

Located in Downtown Raleigh, it has wheelchair accessible and hands out Apple iPod devices to assist visitors with vision loss or blindness. Visitors can also arrange to have a guided and tactile tour of the museum during regular hours.

SonShine Gymnastics Buddies

Twice a month, SonShine Gymnastics hosts “Gymnastics Buddies” for children who may need assistance with mobility or social development. Children can work on adapted, basic gymnastic moves and parents are welcome to assist or join in the fun.

Marbles Museum

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, is an accessible museum which is specially designed for children ages birth to 10 and their families. It’s a “hands-on and minds-on” museum. They believe that play “contributes to intellectual growth, social and emotional well-being and physical development.” Their mission is to include ALL children.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

If your child is interested in space, a trip to the planetarium can be fun for the whole family. Located in Chapel Hill, families can visit breathtaking and education shows at the planetarium. While there are some areas throughout the building that are not completely accessible due to the age of the building, most areas are accessible via wheelchair. Assistive listening devices and translators are also available.

North Carolina Zoo

If you’re up for a short road trip of about an hour out of the Triangle, a visit to the zoo makes for a great day trip. A majority of the areas are accessible and appropriate for wheelchairs. Enjoy the indoor and outdoor features and have fun watching some of your favorite animals.

North Carolina Museum of Art

Browsing art can be educational, fun and help you kids experience diversity. The admission is free and is located in Raleigh. The museum is family-friendly and hosts special events like movie nights and festivals. While the museum is ADA compliant, there are areas throughout the outside park that should be traveled with caution due to steep grades in some areas on the walking path.


Story by Brittany Cotton. Photos courtesy of the City of Raleigh and Hal Goodtree.

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