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Programs for Children with Special Needs

Port Discovery welcomes guests of all abilities to experience our Museum, interactive exhibits and learning through play. A variety of services and programs are available for individuals and children with disabilities and special needs.


Designated Days for Children with Special Needs

Discovery Weeks (November & May)

Every year, Port Discovery sets aside two designed weeks for children with special needs and their caretakers as part of the museum’s dedication to inclusive learning. The Museum staff lowers volume and sound effects so that children with physical and cognitive abilities can truly enjoy the museum experience. Activities are designed for children with special needs, but all children are encouraged to join this fun-filled week. Children with IEP’s are welcome at this week’s events.

The next Discovery Week will be hosted November 13 through November 16. 

Discovery Week features opportunities and programs designed especially for children with special needs. Children of all abilities are invited to play, learn and explore together in a safe, inclusive environment during this fun week filled with special sensory activities, story times and performances.

  • Tuesday, November 13: Portability Day! Inclusive day for children on the autism spectrum and their peers. All ages.
  • Wednesday, November 14: For children with special needs. Pre-K to 2nd grade.
  • Thursday, November 15: For children with special needs. 3rd grade and up.
  • Friday, November 16: Be Part of the Arts Day! Inclusive day. All ages.

Discover Me Days

Discover Me Days are scattered throughout the school year to provide additional opportunities for children with special needs. Children are free to explore the Museum in a modified environment featuring lowered volume and sound effects. Any children with IEP’s are welcome, and all ages are welcome. Discover Me Days Generally run from October through February. Various individual and group prices are available.  Call 410-864-2664 for more information. 

Award-Winning Serial Programs for Children with Special Needs 

Port Discovery Children's Museum is the proud recipient of the 2009 MetLife Foundation and Association of Children's Museums Promising Practice Award. Established in 1999, the award provides recognition and inspiration for children's museums to develop programs that are inclusive, meet community needs, encourage community partnerships and promote life-long learning. Port Discovery received the award for its community partnership with PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs, an affiliate of Kennedy Krieger Institute. This unique partnership provides high quality, experiential programming for families from under served communities that have children with special needs who often hesitate to visit community settings such as museums. By providing therapeutic services at Port Discovery, families of children with special needs enjoy the Museum and translate their experiences to other community venues. Port Discovery's partnership with PACT combines the best of what a children's museum and a social service organization have to offer.  

"We've seen tremendous progress in the children and families who participated in these groups. This has opened up a whole new world for our families by discovering a great resource in Port Discovery. This partnership reinforced the need for children's museums throughout the country to implement innovative practices in serving children of all abilities and their families." - Audrey Leviton, Executive Director of PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs 

Learn More about
Serial Programs

Thank you to Port Discovery's Special Needs Program Partners:

  • PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs, an affiliate of Kennedy Krieger
  • Abilities Network/Project ACT
  • ​Astro Events
  • University of MD College Park
  • Walters Art Museum
  • National Federation of the Blind 
  • ​Kennedy Krieger 

More Information
On our community arts project collaborations with artist Gilda Oliver and G.W. McMechen 177 school in Baltimore. 

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