With it being Neurodiversity Celebration Week and ahead of World Autism Awareness Month in April, we want to shout about some fantastic accessible attractions in Birmingham and the West Midlands which champion those with neurodiverse conditions and additional needs.

Let’s get into our top picks:
 

1. Enjoy accessible experiences at MAC

Located in Cannon Hill Park, The Midlands Arts Centre - or the MAC - has accessibility at its core, and it feeds into everything they do from workshops to shows. Their dedication to creating inclusive experiences meant that they even won Gold for the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award at the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024!

They host autism community cafes every couple of months, where you’ll find chill-out zones, puppet and drama workshops, and discussion groups. People are also free to bring their own food which can be eaten at their discretion.

MAC also offers relaxed screenings of their performances, as well as exhibitions which highlight the stories of those with additional needs.


2. Neurodiversity is celebrated at Thinktank Science Museum

The Thinktank Science Museum is located in the Millennium Point complex and is a great place for those with neurodiverse conditions to visit, with accessible adaptations meaning that everyone can enjoy their fantastic exhibits and shows.

Their ‘Morning Explorers’ programme is an inclusive initiative designed for individuals with autism and similar disabilities. Held on the second Saturday of every month, the programme provides accessible museum experiences and an optional Autism-friendly planetarium show.

Participants can enjoy early access to the museum an hour before it opens to the general public, allowing for a quieter exploration. To minimise noise, most interactive exhibits will be muted until 11 am. Upon entry, ear defenders and sensory maps will be provided, and quiet spaces can be made available upon request.
 


 

3. Explore the National SEA LIFE Centre with Quiet at the Aquarium sessions


Those with additional needs can discover a huge range of creatures from penguins and sea otters to sharks and turtles in a calmer space with the National SEA LIFE Centre’s ‘Quiet at the Aquarium sessions’.

Running every month, the aquarium will be specially adapted during these times to offer a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for those with Autism and other neurodiverse conditions.
 

4. Experience Cadbury World’s relaxed SEN sessions


Experience the wonderful home of chocolate in a more relaxed way with Cadbury World’s SEN sessions. Throughout the visit, sounds will be reduced, strong scents will be removed, lighting will be increased where necessary and there will be fewer visitors.

Their exciting shows are also specially adapted for those with sensory sensitivity during these sessions.
 

5. Dive into history with St Mary’s Guildhall sensory-friendly sessions


St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry hosts sensory-friendly sessions, allowing those with neurodiverse conditions to experience 700 years of rich history, fascinating stories, and unique activities in a quieter manner. Sounds and noises are turned down or off wherever possible in these dedicated sessions, and there are far fewer people around.

Accessibility is a top priority at St Mary’s Guildhall, resulting in them being awarded Silver in the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024 ‘Accessible & Inclusive Tourism’ category.


For those with additional needs, there are so many attractions and venues across Birmingham and the West Midlands which champion accessibility, creating a safe and enjoyable space for all.

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