Sensory Friendly Mornings @ Shelburne Museum


@ -


Shelburne Museum 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT 05482 Visit Website | 802-985-3346 |


All Ages


Cost: Free with advanced registration Parking: Yes

Join Shelburne Museum for Sensory Friendly Mornings!

Every month, May through October, Shelburne Museum invites the community into the Museum before regular opening hours to view special exhibitions in a gentle, less-crowded environment. This program for children, teens, and adults alike is designed to offer a positive museum-going experience for visitors with varying sensory processing differences. Know Before You Go resources are available to help prepare for your visit. These materials include a social narrative guide, sensory conditions guide, physical accessibility guide, and communication aid. Additionally, a limited number of noise-cancelling headphones, fidget toys, and a break space will be available for participant use. Free!

Advance registration recommended:

This program made possible by support from Vermont Humanities.


28 reviews
  • June 24, 2024
    "This is such a fun, family-friendly event, and it convinced us to get a membership to the museum. We loved the food truck options and beverage options for the adults, and checking out the museum with our little one. if you haven't been, the carousel is a must! It was also a great time to listen to music, and we ran into friends. Highly recommend!"
    - Stephany Goldzband
  • May 8, 2023
    "Love going here! You can spending time enjoying the weather and walk around and learn from the exhibits."
    - LoveVT
  • August 11, 2015
    "Vintage Merrygoround is magic!"
  • February 12, 2015
    "With the addition of the new Pizzagalli Center the Shelburne Museum has gotten even better than before. The building is gorgeous and the shows in the galleries have all been outstanding. What a jewel we have here in Vermont, go see it if you haven't yet done so. I visit regularly and I took over 40 students from my art camps there last summer to see the Impressionist exhibit. The students sketched in the gallery and were absolutely thrilled to see paintings by Monet, Degas Cassatt and to learn about how they ended up in Vermont through the HavemeyerWebb families. I look forward to all the future exhibits."
    - tdavis
  • November 10, 2014
    "The Shelburne is such a special place! I was blown away by their collections and impressed with the gracious staff. A wonderful way to introduce your child to history and art! I'm looking forward to many, many years of taking my children to this wonderful place."
    - eponymousone
  • September 2, 2013
    "Loved this museum!!! So many good things to write about, but a couple that stand out are the train and the steamboat. We loved learning about how they got the steamboat there! We took the ferry from NY to get there and they made the day all the better! HIGHLY recommend for anyone with or without kids!"
    - LisaRudolph
  • August 19, 2013
    "I grew up going to the Shelburne Museum for field trips and summer day trips. It still remains one of the best children's activities in the greater Burlington area that's both fun and educational! My 4 year old loves it."
    - genevieve*ann
  • August 19, 2013
    "This has always been one of my favorite places to visit.. I love bringing the kids as there is so much to see and do.. You can explore for hours and still have more to see.. The owl cottage is a great place to take a break and let the kids play... We also love the circus barn as well as the merry go round.. lots of friendly people and lots of learning can be done at the Shelburne Museum!!!!"
    - lini15237
  • January 31, 2013
    "The Shelburne Museum is an excellent way to spend spring, summer, and fall hours with young kids. We get the membership so we can come and go without feeling like we have to make each visit worth the ticket price. Plus, the membership lets you get into all the family day events for free Circuspalooza, Haunted Happenings, and more. We usually start with a couple carousel rides, walk through the circus building, explore the train or Ticonderoga, and enjoy a lovely picnic somewhere on the beautiful grounds. Other days we head straight to Owl Cottage full of fun toys and books to read!. Can't go wrong here except on hot daysdon't go then."
    - des1gngirl
  • January 25, 2013
    "My kids loved this place!!!!!!! Such a peaceful place to bring the kids and enjoy some family time! they have a great picnic area and so much to do love love love this place!!! My son ran around the feild barefoot chasing doesn't get much better then that....cant wait to go again"
    - amarie
  • August 17, 2012
    "This museum can keep the whole family busy for an entire day, maybe two. There is something for everyone. I especially loved the train, but everything there was amazing and thought provoking. "
    - katiebug1530
  • August 13, 2012
    "I love taking my girls to Shelburne Museum. Their favorite things every year are the carasaul Ticonderoga owl house and the jail. They loved the new robot exhibit too. Only downfall...You have to enter and exit through the gift shop."
    - VTchick
  • June 15, 2012
    "I absolutely love Shelburne Museum. I go all the time in the summer and I'm always disappointed when it closes for the winter. I live nearby, and there are trails from my neighborhood to the parking lot of the museum, which makes it a fun walk to get there, and then I have even more fun when I'm there. The Owl Cottage has the funnest crafts, and I also have fun seeing what new things they're teaching us to make each day. "
    - Ermsmeister
  • June 14, 2012
    "I came here so many times with behavioral kids I worked with a couple years ago as well as on class field trips and now that we've moved back to the area and have my own child I can't wait ti take him! I loved taking kids to the special events and the carousel, light house, mansion, 70's house, Owl Cottage, covered bridge and Blacksmith shop when someone was working in there were always the most popular. My mother went here as a child and can't wait to come visit us in VT to see it again! Food is espensive as are tickets, but getting a free pass for the next day is amazing!"
    - rougeurbleu
  • June 13, 2012
    "My family loves going here. We started taking my son when he was 2.5. There is endless amounts of things to do. It's a great place where you can go and let your kids run around outside, and visit inside places to do some learning. They have a wonderful house where you can go get some shade, and play for smaller children. The carousel is always a big hit too. If you have boys or girls, of course, they will love the train! There is still things I haven't seen there! We enjoy it very much."
    - itsamandarae
  • February 3, 2012
    "My family has been members for about 6 years and it's perfect for kids now 7 and 4 and a half membership has always been a good value, about 23 family visits and it's paid off. They offer a lot of fun extras like the Summer dog day, Halloween trick or treating and more. And you can't visit without riding the carousel. The staff are always friendly and love sharing information, even at an appropriate kid level. One of the best gems we have in Vermont."
    - DaleJava
  • August 21, 2011
    "We loved the paperwork in 3D exhibit the kids can touch some of the statues, like a lifesize tree whose hollow inside is made visible by strategically placed mirrors. In the Lighthouse, there is a collection of wonderful popup books that the kids can leaf through we'll go back just for that before the season ends."
    - aliciajbox
  • August 15, 2011
    "I LOVE the Shelburne Museum! Growing up as a child our family went many times throughout the season. The museum is not only beautiful but educational as well! The staff are always friendly and well educated on all aspects of the museum. I think that everyone should visit the Shelburne Museum at least once! "
    - Shanrock512
  • June 24, 2011
    "After reading a post regarding toddlers and the museum in a parenting group I'm in, I decided to try this with my 2.25 year old. What a hit!! We had a blast and bought an impromptu membership at a steal of only 35. There is so much for a little one to see and experience it would take days! I would DEFINITELY pack a lunch the snack bar has like 8 hot dogs if that's what you prefer...but most people living outside of Shelburne would be horrified to pay those prices! I would also suggest bringing a load of sunscreen, and a few bottles of Gatorade to swash any dehydration attempts by the activity. I love the fact that you can pack a blanket and really have a picnic anywhere in the whole place. It's such a fun experience!"
    - jacknoodle
  • September 19, 2010
    "We try and visit the museum a few times a year. Every time we go, we luck out with amazing weather and have a great time. We pack a lunch, visit the cafe for a snack, and make a day out of it. This Saturday the 18th is a free day if you have BCBSVT. They have a few more exhibits than normal on that day. My 3 and 4 year old girls love it!"
    - wendybcaplan
  • September 15, 2010
    "My Mom and I took my 7 year old son in August. We were worried he would be bored but he loved it! We let him be our tour guide and only did the things he wanted. He loved the Circus Barn and the Ticonderoga the best. He was a little tired of walking when we left but we spent a great couple of hours there! Highly recommended!"
    - theknapps01
  • September 13, 2010
    "I've been going to this museum since I was a kid and have season tickets for my own family. There is a nice variety of things to look at and learn about. We usually start with a ride on the antique carousel, check out a few buildings don't miss the 50's house! and finish with another ride on the carousel. It's great for people of all ages. I do wish it was a bit more handson for the youngest kids, but there are things if you look hard enough. Well worth the 75 for the whole year."
    - bdempsey
  • September 13, 2010
    "The carousel is definitely a winner. All my 2 year old talks about is riding the horses again. She also loved the big boat and the lighthouse."
    - echiro
  • April 14, 2010
    "The Shelburne Museum was a huge surprise success with my 3 and 1 year old! We plan on getting a membership next year as there are many days worth of exploration to do at this place. The steam ship, the train, the kids play house all great stuff, and interesting for the adults too. I definitely didn't think this would be a kid friendly outing and it's become one of our favorites."
    - ani
  • September 4, 2009
    "August 2009 I took some out of town guests here with kids ages 4 6, along with my own, ages 7 10, and we had great day! It was a wonderful way to show our friends some of the rich history of Vermont, have fun and walk around outside at the same time. The Circus Building which is adjacent to the carousel is simply amazing. It is filled with thousands of mini circus figures and old fashioned circus posters making me long for Ringling Bros. to come to town! The kids loved running through the decks of the Ticonderoga and then they took off for the old train cars complete with a train station to pretend to buy tickets from. We also stopped by the Owl Cottage for the daily Owl Cottage Craft which happened to be Circus themed. One thing to note, is it is not your average arts crafts activity. Our kids were were creating circus still life pictures using a craypas with actual art instruction from the teacher. The kids that didn't feel like mini Picassos could play with all of the amazing dress up clothes and other toys there. Love the couch for Moms and Dads to relax on while still keeping an eye on their kids from the sidelines! After that we popped into the cafe, which is right next door. Although we only had ice cream treats this time, I did note that they had more than your average snacky food on the menu...there were flatbreads, wraps and more. Inside the tables have table cloths and outside there are plenty of picnic tables to eat on. March 2008 This museum is rich in Vermont and New England History. This part may be lost on younger kids, but it can still be fun for them. Older kids can certainly learn a lot here. I would highly recommend a strollerwagon for kids under 4. Things here are spread out and require quite a bit of walking. Highlights for kids include the Toy Shop found in the far corner on the museum grounds, it has a working American Flyer toy train which the kids can operate. Adjacent to the Schoolhouse yard is Alyssa's Garden that has a small swing set and slide. The Carousel beware you could spend hours riding on it! And the Owl Cottage best for kids under 5. This is a great place to rest your feet, do some crafts and play with the toys. It is conveniently located next to the snack stand and bathrooms as well. I would be sure to checkthe calendar of events as well. They have an awesome Dog Party in September and an annual Halloween Event just before the big day."
    - missmagpie
  • August 30, 2009
    "I recently heard about someone who has an injury and has trouble walking and was excited about visiting the Shelburne Museum. Word to the wise The Shelburne Museum is a collection of building full of exhibits that takes days of exploration to fully appreciate. This museum is amazing. Even though I have lived here all of my life I always see something new and I am always pleasantly exhausted after my visit."
    - Glenn Fay
  • November 5, 2008
    "Every time I bring my kids to the Shelburne Museum, I find more reasons to love it. While I'm always struck by the friendly staff during the summer, I love how spirited they all become and really make memorable moments for children with their clever storybook costumes and vibrant personalities. The Museum finds ways each year to delight kids both very young and those on the older side of childhood. My older children still delight in the fun of finding the trickortreat spots and it's a treat to let them use the maps provided to help guide me to where they want to go. Truly a treasure in the town of Shelburne, and worth a visit that last weekend of October for any family with smallish children."
    - twincoastlove
  • July 10, 2008
    "I just can't say enough about this amazing resource right in many of our own backyards...I spent 90 minutes at the Museum again for maybe the 100th time with my youngest daughter this past Sunday, and in that short time, we rode a carousel, imagined life in the 50's when let's face it, many of our parents were kids, sat on crazy benches, meandered through enormous gardens, climbed two apple trees, and checked out how early settlers lived in Vermont. The together time, which is largely me walking around enjoying the scenery while she flits and floats from one thing to another, is priceless for both of us. And, the fact that this is such a small sliver of what's available for adults and children at the museum, coupled with its accessibility especially with an annual pass, I just want to pinch myself that this gem exists for us here in Vermont and specifically, Chittenden county. How lucky we are!"
    - twincoastlove

Leave a Review