Join us on Wednesday, August 16, for the  Sensory-Friendly Morning at the Iowa State Fair, presented by ChildServe!

After a successful launch in 2022, the Sensory-Friendly Morning at the Iowa State Fair, presented by ChildServe, will return on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, from 8 a.m. to noon.

The 2023 Sensory-Friendly Morning provides an environment designed for children and adults with autism or sensory processing disorders in mind. Special programming is planned with modifications, including the mitigation of sounds and motions as much as possible, designated educational areas, directional signage and trained volunteers throughout the Fairgrounds.

On the Iowa State Fair’s webpage for the Sensory-Friendly Morning you can find helpful resources to plan ahead and purchase tickets for entry and parking. Here are a few highlights parents of children with special healthcare needs may want to know about:

  • A guide & map to the places that are adapted to be more sensory-friendly on the morning of August 16.
  • Our Calming Room was so popular last year we’ve added more space! If your child needs a place to calm down or recharge before heading back to the Fair, try out one of our sensory-friendly calming rooms, sponsored by ChildServe
    • Calm Your Body: We offer a mixture of sensory experiences like adjustable lighting, sensory fidgets, a calming tent, music, coloring sheets and comfortable chairs.
    • Move Your Body: Enjoy movement activities led by ChildServe Occupational Therapists including stretching, jumping, bouncing on therapy balls and testing out an obstacle course.
    • All rooms will be air conditioned and staffed by ChildServe Occupational Therapists on August 16, from 8-4 p.m. Find us at the Robert G. Horner and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center OR the expanded space for 2023, Jacobson Exhibition Center.
  • Reading through this social story with your child may help them know what to expect at the fair.
  • An adult-sized, adjustable changing table is available throughout the entire fair (9 a.m. – 12 a.m.) in the First Aid building marked with a red cross under the sky glider near Fun Forest.
  • Interpreters for Spanish and ASL will be available. Details in the FAQ on the webpage.
  • Parking Tip: We recommend arriving bright and early to give yourself plenty of time to navigate busy streets and parking lots.

Can’t join us on August 16? 

You can still join in the fun! ChildServe partnered with the Iowa State Fair to compile activities available throughout the entire fair that may be the most fun, accessible and comfortable for individuals with sensory needs. See the list of activities here.

Follow us on social media for more fun at the Fair!


ChildServe improves the health and well-being of nearly 5,800 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs.

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