Guide to Fun Activities Around Columbia for Special Needs Children


As a mom of a little one with special needs, I know how stressful and confusing it can be to search for activities my child can safely participate in. Every small act that makes our lives just a little easier is always a welcome relief… so in an effort to help you find your little one something fun to do in an accepting environment, I have pulled many mom minds together to compile a list of our favorites!

SC State Museum

This museum is packed full of fun things to do and is also designed for children of all abilities. It has a planetarium, 4D theater, observatory, and discovery center in addition to its more than 70,000-piece collection of art, artifacts, fossils, and more.

For those with special needs, the SC State museum also offers an accessibility morning every month. This program provides free access for families of children, teenagers, and young adults who would benefit from a sensory-friendly experience and quieter setting at the museum. Guests who are neurodiverse, autistic, or have other disabilities can experience the museum’s exhibitions at their own pace and enjoy other special activities.

General admission to accessibility morning is free for participants, but space is limited so registration is encouraged. On accessibility mornings, the museum has a sensory-friendly activity room, character meeting and storytime, and special sensory-friendly 4D show. 

Location: 301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201

For more information, you can call the SC State Museum at 803-898-4921 or click the link above for their website.

Saluda Shoals Park

This park provides an outdoor experience at Leo’s Landing that your little ones are sure to enjoy and it’s beautiful outdoor playground is designed so that children of all abilities are able to have fun and enjoy the outdoors equally. They have a wheelchair-accessible glider, interactive music area, various slides, a platform swing, a restroom designed to address the needs of children and adults with physical disabilities, and so much more!

One of our kiddos favorite things about this park is the splash pad! During the warm months (April through September) they can enjoy this water wonderland for only $3. (Note: Splash pads are always a hit with our ASD son and there are plenty of them around the midlands! Check out our list here)

Location: 5605 Bush River Rd., Columbia, SC 29212

For more information, click the link above for their website.

The Miracle League of Columbia

This amazing non-profit organization provides children of all ages with mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to play baseball and softball as a team, regardless of their abilities or experience levels, safely on a custom-designed, rubberized turf. All games are played at Owens Field Miracle League Field in Columbia and all players receive a jersey and a hat.

Location: 1111 Parkside Drive, Columbia, SC 29203

For more information, you can call The Miracle League at 803-545-0456 or click on the link above for their website.

Owens Field Miracle League Park Playground

For an all-inclusive playground that features assisted fun glider, swing, and cozy dome, Owens field park is a must-visit! This “boundless playground” was designed to accommodate children with mental and physical disabilities.

Location: 1351 Jim Hamilton Blvd., Columbia, SC 29205

For more information, you can contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 803-545-3100.

Dream Riders

This amazing non-profit organization was created specifically to serve people who have mental and/or physical disabilities. Their certified instructors and specially trained horses provide a unique alternative from the normal “clinical” therapeutic settings.

They operate year-round with weekly small group lessons and semi-private lessons for some advanced special riders. Dream Riders is accredited by PATH Intel. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) and they participate in the equestrian sport offered by SC Special Olympics.

Location: 156 Sandy Hill Rd., Lexington, SC 29072

For more information, you can contact Dream Riders at 803-957-7906 or click the link above for their website.

Riverbanks Zoo And Garden

Ranked in USA Today’s top 10 best Zoos in North America, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is packed full of fun things to do and see for people of all ages! Although they do not offer special days for children with disabilities, they do provide resources, information, and accommodations for their guests with special needs.

They offer family restrooms that are equipped with manual flushing devices, a quiet room at the entrance of the Zoo inside the Guest Relations area, wheelchairs and strollers that are available for rent, and a list of times in which the zoo is normally less crowded.

Riverbanks also provides a list of areas around the zoo and garden where children can go after becoming overstimulated as well as a list of areas where crowds tend to form and may cause overstimulation for your child.

Location: 500 Wildlife Pkwy., Columbia, SC 29210

For more information, you can call Riverbanks Guest Relations Office at 803-602-0942 or click on the link above for their website.

AMC Sensory Friendly Films

For the movie lovers who need a sensory-friendly environment, AMC Theaters are the perfect solution! AMC provides unique movie showings where they turn the sound down, turn the lights up, and allow your little ones to get up and boogie, walk, shout or sing as much as they like! Sensory friendly films are scheduled on the second and fourth Saturday, and the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.

Location: 122 Afton Ct, Columbia, South Carolina 29212

For more information, click the link above for their website.

Irmo Chapin Recreation Center

For parents of children and adults with cognitive, physical, or emotional disabilities, Irmo Chapin Recreation Center provides therapeutic recreation programs to help increase confidence, courage, and independence. These programs include a multitude of indoor and outdoor activities such as afterschool programs, summer camps, sports, theatre, respite services, and more!

Location: Programs offered at various park locations

For more information regarding the therapeutic recreation programs, you can call Jesse Jackson at 803-213-1194 or click on the link above for their website.

I hope you find this list to be helpful and we are always looking for more to add to it! Do you have any additional activities that would be useful for our parents of special needs children? 


  1. Hi I’m Sarah and I’m looking for activities for my special needs son who is 24 please let me know when you have some time to talk to me


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