Sensory-Friendly Experiences

Great Lakes Aquarium is an energetic, colorful place full of sensory stimuli, and we know this environment can be overwhelming for some explorers! These are some of the ways the Aquarium strives to provide a positive, welcoming experience for every visitor:

Sensory Friendly Days

On the last Saturday of every month (October – March) and the second Tuesday of the month (January – March) we will turn down the volume on displays, dim lights, turn off waterfalls, and open early to make the Aquarium experience more sensory-friendly.

Upcoming Sensory Friendly Days:

Saturday, November 24, 2018: 8:30 – 10 AM

Saturday, December 29, 2018: 8:30 – 10 AM

Tuesday, January 8, 2019: 5:30 – 7 PM

Saturday, January 26, 2019: 8:30 – 10 AM

Tuesday, February 12, 2019: 5:30 – 7 PM

Saturday, February 23, 2019: 8:30 – 10 AM

Tuesday, March 12, 2019: 5:30 – 7 PM

Saturday, March 30, 2019: 8:30 – 10 AM

If these dates and times do not work for your family or group, we are happy to suggest times of the week/day that are generally quieter. Our goal is to be accessible to all and we are happy to hear your ideas about ways we can adapt spaces and experiences to better serve you. Contact our Inclusion Coordinator at 218-740-2003 or

Normal admission rates apply – members always free!**

* The waterfalls and exhibit sounds will be turned on starting at 10:00 – sensory friendly guests are welcome to stay as long as they would like!

** Why is there no special rate on Sensory Friendly Days? If we offer a discounted rate on these days, the large number of early morning visitors will likely impact the quiet environment we are trying to nurture.


Aquarium Social Narrative

Created in collaboration with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), this guide helps visitors reduce their anxiety about new experiences by explaining what to expect step-by-step as they explore the Aquarium.

Great Lakes Aquarium Social Narrative

* If you find the Aquarium’s social story helpful, check out other social narratives from AuSM!

We know everyone’s Aquarium experience is unique. For more information on these resources or on customizing your sensory-friendly Aquarium experience, contact our Inclusion Coordinator at or by phone at (218) 740-2003.