Open Arms Accessibility Initiative

Stepping Stones Museum for Children works every day to bring light and laughter to learning so that children of all ages and abilities have the tools they need to write their own, positive life narrative.

With the help of our individual supporters and partnerships with community experts, we’re able to help children find their voice and contribute authentically to the world around them. through our Open Arms Accessibility Initiative.

Each year, Open Arms makes it possible for more than 75,000 children and family members with different abilities, experiences, needs and perspectives to participate in the museum’s offerings.

Stepping Stones provides 3,500 families with unlimited access to the museum annually through the Family Membership program.

The museum modifies its playful learning landscape for a supportive, sensory-friendly experience for individuals with sensory processing differences and other special needs during My Ability on Thursdays and monthly ACCESS-ability afternoons.

Each summer, thousands of children participate in Stepping Stones summer learning programs, including Fueling Families. This program provides weekly language and literacy skill building activities and healthy food for families living in the region.

Open Arms would not be possible without the innovative and sustained involvement of our remarkable community partners. More than $1 million is raised to support Open Arms programs annually.

If you or your organization would like to participate or have any questions about our Open Arms programs, please email

children outside blowing large bubbles
Little girl and mother working on an art project together

Stepping Stones Museum for Children has great programs for everyone!

Open Arms Accessibility Initiative for Families

Families can take advantage of the great exhibits, events and experiences Stepping Stones has to offer without worrying about the cost.

Friday Family Fun Night, 5-8 p.m.
Temporarily unavailable while museum’s indoor spaces are temporarily closed to public until the November 2021 reopening.

The museum stays open late with reduced admission and fun, family activities. Friday Family Fun Nights are generally held at Stepping Stones the third Friday of every month for a reduced admittance fee of $3 per person. Members get in free. 

An Open Arms Accessibility Initiative.

Sensory-Friendly Programs

All families are invited to play and learn at Stepping Stones. With the My Ability program every Thursday and ACCESS-ability program every third Monday of each month, we modify our learning environment for a supportive, sensory-friendly experience for individuals with sensory processing differences and other special needs. To learn more about these two programs, please click here!

View our full calendar of events to learn more about these events.

Blue Star Museums

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is a participant of Blue Star Museums, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Through Blue Star Museums, active-duty military members and their families receive free admission at participating museums from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day. However, thanks to tremendous local support, Stepping Stones proudly offers free admission for those families all year long. Thank you for your service!

Museums for All

Stepping Stones Museum for Children was the first institution in Connecticut to join Museums for All, a signature access program of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to encourage families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum habits.

Through Museums for All, Stepping Stones visitors presenting an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and a valid form of photo ID will pay a $3 per person admission fee. The discounted rate, which is only valid during normal operating hours, applies for up to eight (8) people per card, per visit.*

Stepping Stones cannot process EBT transactions. The EBT card will simply be used to identify visitors as qualifiers for the Museums for All discount.

 *The special Museums for All rate does not apply for special events and fee-based activities.