Open Arms: Family Evening

Open Arms: Family Evening


“Crowd level is very manageable, we love the ball pit and shaving cream room. Lots of great interactive activities for kids of all ages! Thank you for doing this!” – Carrie 2012

“Open Arms has been a great addition for our autistic son for extra fun! Very organized, great staff and lots to do.” – Lynn 2012

“This is a nice program at a nice facility. It is a great way for kids on the spectrum to explore in a safe and fun environment!” – Stephanie 2012

“We are having a great time exploring the Museum! It is a wonderful opportunity to be with other parents who understand our children. Thank you!!!”  – Eileen 2012

“This is the first time my son and I have been here to the Discovery Museum, we are enjoying each and every station/play area you have to offer. My suggestion for the next Open Arms Family Night is to keep up the great work, stay compassionate and understanding and I’m sure you will continue to have much success. Oh, thank you for this night. I am sure that it means a lot to every child here.” – The Oteri and Korkowski Families 2012


“Open Arms Evenings to my family are so important, because it allows my granddaughter, Jules, to experience things we can’t afford due to our financial struggle. She has such a wonderful fun learning experience there and I am forever grateful.” – Denise VanHorn

“Open Arms gives children an opportunity for love, hope and exploration to re-enter the lives in a safe and fun learning environment. I travel from Oreland, PA to visit because of the tremendous support, generosity and enjoyment. As a family we can enjoy, encourage, learn and be taught by my daughter ( age 11) who always lights up when we visit. It has been a tremendous building block bridging the gap between children and their family.” – Folayan Morenike Ford

“The Open Arms Family night is a relaxing night to be out with Ben. It’s a time there’s no quizzical looks at Ben vocalizing or running. It’s nice to be in an environment where you know you’re not alone, and neither is your child. It’s an evening spent without having to apologize to other parents, and fully accepting their children as well.” – Jacqueline Levin

“Open Arms Family Evenings are important because it gives my children (2 boys, one autistic) the opportunity to interact with other children in a socially accepting and tolerant setting. These events let my husband and I relax a bit. No other setting has families, parents, grandparents, and children, who understand and accept unusual and difficult behaviors with a knowing nod and a smile.” – Barbara McKee

“Open Arms is utterly fantastic for two reasons: first, because these children can explore freely without judgments or stares by their peers and second, because the families can share and support one another. This program is a Godsend. Thank you so much GSDM!” – Anne-Marie

“Open Arms events are great because they allow families who might have a difficult time enjoying outings be in an environment where they are not only welcomed but many of the typical roadblocks to fun are anticipated and accounted for.” – Mary Sparks

“The Open Arms Family Evenings at the Garden State Discovery Museum are fantastic! They provide great opportunities for special needs children to have fun in a safe and comfortable environment. The children can be themselves while exploring all the wonderful things the museum has to offer! While they, and their families, are without the concern of being judged by others who don’t understand.” – S. Klein

“It is wonderful to be able to enjoy a night out as a family where everyone at the event understands our children. We never have to worry about what people will think if our children don’t behave “typically,” whatever that word even means nowadays! How much more comfortable can you get? Thank you, Garden State Discovery Museum!” – Alyssa

“Our GSDM Open Arms nights are always a wonderful treat for my son who has autism and his NT twin sister. It is a pleasure for us to see them explore the museum in a non-judgmental environment, and given the high cost of all of our son’s therapies, we very much appreciate that the admission fees are waived for that night. Thank you.” – Anonymous

“I think that the Open Arms Family Evenings provide families affected by autism a unique opportunity to spend time together in an atmosphere that is both comfortable for autistic children and fun for their typical siblings. Too often, families of autistic children have to choose between staying at home or enduring stares and judgment in public. The Open Arms event allows children on the spectrum to enjoy themselves and gives parents the opportunity to have a family evening with all of their children. I am so grateful for this program.” – Joanna

“Once again I would like to thank you for this incredible opportunity for my son, Matthew, and our family to enjoy the Museum. We would not otherwise be able to afford to do this. It is this kindness and generosity of the community which makes this crazy spinning world of Autism just the slightest bit more tolerable. Matt LOVES the Museum, and so do we all.” – Karin Evans

“Open Arms allows kids to be themselves in a tolerant, caring community at Discovery. My two other children enjoy the event also because mom doesn’t have to worry about Michael. We are “allowed” to have a nice evening of family time. Thank you soooooo much. We love it!” – Anonymous

“Our son was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and when he was 6 yrs old, we had a Family Membership to the GSDM. Because of going to the museum often, we learned by seeing him play there, that the GSDM is a very comforting place he could interact socially with other children while playing. And, he loved every time he visited!!!” – Debbie Schmidt

“Opens Arms family evenings are so important and unique to me and my family because it is the only chance my children get to be themselves! They can be open, honest and have fun, all while not being judged for their disabilities It truly is a wonderful opportunity for them and they love it. Thank you and keep up the good work!!” – Kimberly Marple

“Open Arms is such an amazing opportunity! Many families dealing with the everyday challenges of autism find it difficult to venture out of the safety of our homes. It may be the fear of dealing with a meltdown in public or just the judgmental glances from people who may simply not understand the complexities of a child living with autism. Open Arms is a night to go out and let our children explore and have fun with no concern of criticism, in a safe, inviting and accepting environment. Thanks so much for this opportunity!” – Patty Atkinson

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The Garden State Discovery Museum is one of New Jersey’s most popular cultural attractions and South Jersey’s largest children’s museum!

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2040 Springdale Road, Suite 100,
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Phone: (856) 424-1233


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