Clark Planetarium to offer ‘Sensory-friendly Saturdays’

May 6, 2022, 7:09 AM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 2:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Clark Planetarium is switching things up to help those on the autism spectrum feel more welcome.

Beginning this weekend, they’ll hold what’s called a “Sensory-friendly Saturday” on the first Saturday of each month.

They came up with the idea after talking to one of their volunteers, who has a daughter on the autism spectrum.

“She was telling me what a shame it is that she’s never been able to bring her daughter to the planetarium because she’s worried about all of the sensory overload,” said Anna Swenson, Clark Planetarium community program supervisor.

When families visit the planetarium on Saturday, there will be some modifications – no loud noises or bright lights. Swenson says they want all kids to have fun in a safer and calmer environment.

“Science is for everyone, and we want people who maybe would not feel so comfortable being around as many people or around as many loud noises and bright lights to be able to experience it just like anyone else,” Swenson said.

People who use the sensory cooldown room will get to use a Minky Couture blanket. There are also sensory backpacks filled with earmuffs to block out noise, glasses to reduce light, fidget toys and a magnifying glass – all donated by local businesses.

Sensory-friendly Saturdays will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. — before opening to the general public — once a month.

If things go well, the planetarium may add a weekday into the mix.

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Clark Planetarium to offer ‘Sensory-friendly Saturdays’