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The Carnegie Science Center has Sensory Friendly Hours on June 16th

by Janet Jonus

Carnegie Science Center launches it new Sensory Friendly Science Hours on June 16th from 1000AM-100PM.

Sensory Friendly Science Hours are designed for guests on the Autism Spectrum and guests with a Sensory Processing Disorder. Modifications have been made throughout the Center to accommodate those with special needs.

“We developed Sensory Sensitive Science Hours to offer a welcoming museum experience for individuals who typically might not feel comfortable in the Science Center due to sensitivity to light, sound, or crowds,” said Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Accessibility Coach Justin Tognarine in a press release. “By providing staff training and adjusting our exhibits, demonstrations, and activities, we hope to create a safe, welcoming, and most of all, fun, environment for all visitors.”

The Science Center’s Sensory Friendly Science Hours will have modified exhibits throughout the Center. Lights have been adjusted in numerous exhibits including the Miniature Village and Railroad. Noisy exhibits like the “Air Hockeybot” in Roboworld will be turned off or have their sounds reduced. Other exhibits that have been modified are the “Rock-topus Reaction Challenge” in Sportsworks, the “Button Wall” in the Early Learner’s Clubhouse, the Rocket Launchers in Space Place on the First Floor, and “Can My Eyes Fool My Brain” in BodyWorks.

In addition to the modified exhibits, the Science Center is also creating tactile exhibits. There will be animal pelts in the H2Oh! exhibit. There will also be fake snow to touch. Klavon’s Ice Cream is sponsoring a sensory table in the Miniature Railroad & Village. Catch the sensory friendly “Move it! Move it!” show at the Body Stage and the “Earth & Friends” at the Works Stage. All guests receive a take-home activity too.

There are calm down areas spread throughout the Center. The main area is in the Science Stage on the first floor. The Science Stage area is quiet and closed off from the main exhibit areas. There will be sensory toys, lava lamps, and play sand in the Science Stage. There will be other areas in the Science Center where guests can go for a break, a quick snack, or a quiet spot though they will not be as quiet as the Science Stage.

One of the most innovative accommodations at Sensory Science Hours is the Communication Badges. Guests can pick up a badge on entry. The badge will have three options – green, yellow, and red. Green means the guest is okay with staff talking to them, they are open to communication. Yellow means the guest only wants to talk to people they recognize, not strangers. Red means the guest doesn’t want to talk to anyone unless the guest approaches them first. Staff has been trained to work with the badges and guests will also be informed of the badge meanings. Badge colors can be changed at any time.

Fidget toys and social stories are available. The Science Center also has sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones available at all times, not just during Sensory Science Hours.

Sensory Science Hours are from 1000AM to 100PM on June 16th. The Carnegie Science Center will be open to the general public but this time tends to be less busy. There will be a sign outside informing all guests of the Sensory Science Hours so everyone is aware of the modifications. Future Sensory Science Hours are scheduled for October 20, 2019.

The Basics

The Science Center is open daily from 1000AM – 500PM. The Science Center is usually closed during Steelers home games and at some special events at Heinz Field. (The Science Center is across the street from Heinz Field.)

General Admission tickets to the Science Center are $19.95 for adults 13+, $11.95 for children 3-12, and $14.95 for seniors 65+, children under two are free. This grants you admission to all four levels of the Science Center, Highmark SportsWorks, Buhl Planetarium, and the USS Requin. daVinci – the Exhibition Admission is $19.95 for adults 13+, $15.95 for children 3-12, and $17.95 for seniors 65+. Admission for daVinci – The Exhibition does not include admission to the Science Center. Admission to the Rangos Giant Cinema for any one educational movie (Hollywood movies are priced separately) is $9.95 for guests 3 and up. These tickets are available for sale online and at the Science Center.

The Science Center offers combination discounts at the ticket counter (not available online). General admission to the Science Center and admission to da Vinci – The Exhibition is $32.90 for adults 13+, $22.90 for children 3-12, and $26.90 for seniors 65+. General admission to the Science Center and a Rangos Educational Movie is $27.90 for adults 13+. $19.90 for children 3-12, and $22.90 for seniors 65+. Admission to daVinci – The Exhibition and a Rangos Educational Movie (but no admission to the Science Center) is $27.90 for adults 13+, $23.90 for children 3-12, and $25.90 for seniors 65+. Finally the multi-pack which includes general admission to the Science Center, daVinci – The Exhibition, and a Rangos Educational Movie is $40.85 for adults 13+, $30.85 for children 3-12, and $34.85 for seniors 65+. Children two and under are free.

You can also buy tickets to Laser shows at the Science Center. The cost is $8.00 for guests 3 and up and $7.00 for admission to the USS Requin for all guests 3 and up.

Check out prices here: http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/visit/pricing/

There are several discounts to the Science Center. Discounts are available here: http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/visit/special-offers-and-discounts/
Parking is available in the Science Center lot for $5.00. Parking exit tickets can be purchased inside the Science Center at pay kiosks. They can be purchased at any time during your visit and used when you leave. The Allegheny Center T station is right next to the Science Center and the Port Authority 14 and 18 buses stop nearby.

The Science Center is wheelchair accessible (except for the USS Requin). Arrangements can be made in advance for those with special needs. A limited number of motorized wheelchairs are available. The Science Center also has sunglasses and noise cancelling headphones for those on the autism spectrum and those with sensory disorders. Check here for more information: http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/visit/accessibility/

For more information about the Carnegie Science Center’s Sensory Science Hours, call the Science Center or contact Justin Tognarine at tognarinej@carnegiesciencecenter.org

The Carnegie Science Center is at One Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212 / 412-237-3400 / http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/