Sensory Sunday coming to Jurassic Gardens Oct. 23

  • The lifelike animatronic dinosaurs of Jurassic Gardens in Volo will go still and silent from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 23, so that people with sensory processing disorders can enjoy the indoor park.

    The lifelike animatronic dinosaurs of Jurassic Gardens in Volo will go still and silent from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 23, so that people with sensory processing disorders can enjoy the indoor park. Courtesy of Richard Coyne Schultz, Volo Museum

 
 
Updated 10/19/2022 4:19 PM

For those with sensory processing disorders, a walk through the writhing and roaring animatronic dinosaur display at Jurassic Gardens in Volo might be downright unnerving.

Not so, though, from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 23, when the leadership at the Volo Museum and Jurassic Gardens has scheduled the first of what may become recurring Sensory Sunday events.

 

Between those hours on Oct. 23, anyone visiting the indoor park can enjoy the lifelike and life-size dinosaurs while the creatures are still and silent.

Volo Museum Director Brian Grams said the museum long has coordinated with organizations like the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, Lambs Farm, Pioneer Center for Human Services and others to host groups and events. Now that Jurassic Gardens has been open for more than a year, requests for a less stimulating version of the dino park had begun to trickle in, particularly from parents of children on the autism spectrum.

Jen Steude, recently named manager of Jurassic Gardens, wasted no time in organizing Sensory Sunday, Grams said.

"Jen is looking to add more interaction and more flexibility for different groups," Grams said. "We want everyone to be able to enjoy our amazing and educational display."

Steude said she herself has suffered from a non-spectrum-related sensory processing disorder. As a child, many family activities that were fun for her peers were unbearable for her.

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"I had to be taken out of movie theaters, and I couldn't attend fireworks," she said. "I'm sure the kids of today who're similarly affected also feel like they're missing out. This is a great opportunity for them to explore our park, to touch the dinosaurs and feel the different textures if they choose. I think it's going to be really nice."

Sensory bottles and fossil-dig bins will be added to the lab area at the rear of the indoor amenity as well.

"We hope to welcome a lot of children and young adults who'd like to see the dinosaurs, but without the potentially startling noise and motion," Steude said. "If this goes well, we'll schedule more Sensory Sundays in the future."

The Volo Museum and Jurassic Gardens are at 27582 Volo Village Road. The cost to visit Jurassic Gardens is $15.95 for ages 5 and older. For other details, including museum and combo pass pricing, visit volofun.com, find Volo Museum on social, or call (815) 385-3644.

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