We are delighted to announce the opening of a brand-new Sensory Space designed to provide a peaceful place of respite for young visitors who may need some time to recharge during their museum visit. Developed with the guidance of a dedicated volunteer advisory committee of members and local parents, this “under the sea”-themed oasis offers a range of sensory experiences to help children find comfort and calm.
Located on the lower C Level by the Block Harbor exhibit, the sensory space features a carefully curated assortment of sensory tools and elements. These include a plush bean bag chair, textured mats on the wall for tactile stimulation, soothing sounds, calming strategies, weighted lap toys, and an ever-changing bubble wall. This thoughtfully crafted environment provides a haven for children to retreat to when they need a moment to decompress.
The project was initiated and managed by Director of Exhibits, Renee Wasser-Warncke. She explained, “Having seen how popular the sensory kits are that we offer to families for use in the Museum, we wanted to create a dedicated space to support visitors that may be feeling overwhelmed.”
Dina Rosenthal, Executive Director of Staten Island Children’s Museum, expressed her enthusiasm about this new addition, saying, “We are thrilled to introduce this Sensory Space, which reflects our commitment to inclusivity and ensuring that every child’s museum experience is enjoyable. Our goal is to create an environment where children of all abilities can explore, learn, and have fun.”
One local parent who joined the advisory committee, Michelle Cocozza, shared their appreciation for the new Sensory Space, saying, “I jumped at the chance to volunteer as a mom of a child on the autism spectrum (who benefits greatly from sensory breaks). I was thrilled with the “under the sea” theme because I knew my son would love it and it opened many possibilities for soothing visuals, sounds and textures. This is a win for every visitor with sensory needs and their caregivers. My children and I can’t wait to explore the space on our next visit!”
Staten Island Children’s Museum Board President, Bonnie Lauder explained, “it is our hope that the space will enhance the experience for all families and children, and that the children who will find it most useful can engage with the exhibit in a way that suits their unique needs.”