Autism Friendly Park Guide

Autism Awareness at Roanoke Island Festival Park
Friday, April 12, 2019

The month of April is World Autism Month. Raising awareness can help us all better understand and serve our autism community. At Roanoke Island Festival Park, we want to make sure all of our guests have a wonderful experience and provide a comfortable environment for fun and learning. Follow our autism friendly guide for tips to make the most of your trip at the park.

Plan Ahead

Families that like to know what to expect before hand can download our social guide. This guide prepares you for your trip and areas you can go if your child experiences sensory overload. You can also call our Ticket Sales office at 252-475-1500 and ask if any large groups are visiting the park that day to plan your visit around them. Our staff can let you know if any 16th century firearms demonstrations are happening that day incase you need to avoid loud noises.

Download RIFP's Social Guide

When to Visit

Early mornings and late afternoons are typically the time periods when there are less visitors at the park. We suggest arriving when the park opens at 9 am to bypass larger crowds. You can also visit later in the afternoon between 3-5 pm. Admission is good for 2 consecutive days, so you can break up your trip if you need to.

Interactive Exhibits

The park is filled with interactive, hands-on attractions for our guests. These exhibits offer wonderful learning opportunities for all ages, especially for those on the spectrum. Touching, playing and interacting with the props and exhibits around the park is encouraged. We understand that automated sounds may startle our guests with autism, so a majority of our exhibits are touch to start. The only exhibits that are motion censored are located in the Adventure Museum. The Hurricane exhibit plays a wind sound upon entering and the ship in the Adventure Museum plays a creaking sound when entering this area. We try to keep the volume on these exhibits at a comfortable level so they don’t startle guests.

Safe Spaces

If you need a place to take a break, there are various areas located throughout the park. If your child gets anxious in long lines, they can play in the fossil pit or sit in the rocking chairs on the front porch while someone else in your group purchases tickets. The rocking chairs on the front porches and the deck behind the Adventure Museum lobby are good places to sit and relax. The park also features various boardwalks and piers if you need to take a calming walk and regroup. Benches are also located in each venue if your child needs to take a break. Check out our social guide for directions to these areas. 

Here to Help

Our historic interpreters have worked with children of various ages and learning abilities and are able to tailor their conversation and demonstrations to make your child the most at ease. If you need help on what areas to visit or tips on what exhibits your child would like best, feel free to ask our staff. They are there to facilitate and enhance your experience at the park.

Remember to support our autism community this month by wearing blue or donating to local organizations like Surfing for Autism and Autism Society of North Carolina. To learn more about autism or how you can offer or find support, visit www.autismsociety-nc.org or autismspeaks.org.