Sensory-Friendly Santa Experiences in Dallas-Fort Worth
Words Alexis Manrodt, Photography ISTOCK
Published November 2018
Updated December 3, 2018
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Christmas is just around the corner, which means it’s about time for the family to take your yearly pic with Old Saint Nick. But for children with special needs, it can be challenging to find a winter wonderland that is sensory-friendly. As an early present to you, we rounded up some local Caring Santa experiences that are tailored to your child’s unique needs. From private photo sessions to public photo ops that forego the traditional bright lights and loud music of the season, read on for our list of sensory-friendly Santas setting up their own North Poles around North Texas.

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ACI Learning Center
Saturday, December 1, 10am-1pm
While the Southlake ACI chapter is hosting a self-described “Autism Friendly Santa,” this free holiday event is open to children with ASD as well as other developmental challenges and disabilities. ACI staffers and certified ABA analysts will keep kids entertained with crafts and games in the play area. Cider, gluten-free cookies and digital photo copies included. RSVP here.
2815 Exchange Blvd., Suite 100, Southlake

North East Mall
Sunday, December 2, 8:30-11am
Local families are invited to visit Santa’s Hurst home at the Holiday Village in North East Mall’s Center Court (near Macy’s). The mall’s Caring Santa event kicks off at 8:30, so arrive early to beat the Saturday morning shoppers. To reserve your spot, click here.
1101 Melbourne Road, Hurst 

Firewheel Town Center
Sunday, December 2, 9-11am
Book your appointment with Santa and then scope him out at his new digs between Buckle and Old Navy. In addition to offering a sensory-friendly environment, Firewheel will work with families to provide adjustments to support your child’s physical and developmental needs. For more information, call the office at 972/675-1041.
440 Coneflower Drive, Garland

The Shops at Highland Village
Sunday, December 2, 9-11am
The traditional hustle and hustle of holiday shopping is limited during this Santa Cares event, which caters to locals of all ages and abilities. Reserve your space for the free event here. Photos will be available for purchase.
1701 Shoal Creek, Highland Village 

Irving Mall
Sunday, December 2, 9-11am
Before heading to the shopping center’s Sensitive Santa event, fill out the online form to book a spot. You will also get to share how staffers can best support your child’s experience and if there is anything that Santa himself needs to know to make your kid’s experience a little more joyful.
3880 Irving Mall, Irving

Collin Creek Mall
Sunday, December 2, 9am-12pm
This private photo session is open to children of all ages with physical, sensory and developmental needs, and their families. Reserve a complimentary ticket for your whole family to visit with the Big Guy. Photos cost extra.
811 N. Central Expressway, Plano

Grapevine Mills Shopping Center
Sunday, December 2, 9:30-11am
During this Caring Santa event, the team at Grapevine Mills Shopping Center will work with families to provide adjustments to support the physical and developmental needs of kids of all abilities. Reserve your spot here.
3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine

The Village at Allen
Sunday, December 2, 1-3pm
Enjoy a magical time with a private photo session open to children of all ages with physical, sensory and developmental needs. Families are welcome to join, just sign up for one complimentary ticket per group to reserve your appointment with the Man in Red. Entry is free, photos cost extra.
190 E. Stacy Road, Allen 

Ridgmar Mall
Saturday, December 8, 10-11am
Santa’s Special Workshop offers a quiet environment for children with sensory sensitivities. The Ridgmar Mall team will provide crafts and activities for families while they wait for their one-on-one time with Santa. Registration required.
1888 Green Oaks Road, Fort Worth 

Galleria Dallas
Sunday, December 9, 9-11:30am
Visit with Kris Kringle himself during the Galleria’s sensory-friendly Santa Cares event. After posing for photos, seek out a cup of hot cocoa near the mall’s food court and enjoy the cheerful sight of ice skaters as they blade around the largest indoor Christmas tree in the U.S. More details here.
13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas

Hillside Village
Sunday, December 9, 6:30-8:30pm
In addition to a sensory-friendly soundtrack and low lighting, families will enjoy personalized powwows with Santa at this Cedar Hill spot. Photo packages are available for purchase; admission is free, and includes a goodie bag.
305 W. FM 1382, Cedar Hill

 

Tags: Holiday, specia