Sensory-Friendly Tourism: A Sculpture Trail

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What are sculpture trails?

Sculpture traits are public paths that feature outdoor sculptures from different artists. Sculpture trails exist around the world. Furthermore, these trails are typically explored by hiking or driving along them. This ensures that many people can access and enjoy the pieces of art. Finally, sensory-friendly sculpture trails are an added bonus!

Did you know that exploring sculpture trails is a great sensory-friendly activity? Sculpture trails are a free and easily accessible outdoor experience for children, adults and seniors alike.

The Sculpture Saint John Trail

An example of a sculpture trail that offers several sensory-friendly features is the Sculpture Saint John Trail located in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. This trail has sculptures made with local New Brunswick granite. The sculptures are created by artists from all over the world. Currently, the Sculpture Saint John Trail has 30 finished pieces located along the trail. And most of the sculptures on this this sensory-friendly sculpture trail are driving distance apart. Typically, this sculpture trail holds an annual festival called the New Brunswick International Sculpture Symposium. At this event, people can come to watch the artists carve and create these sculptures in real-time. However, people can visit and explore the trails and art for free year round.

Why are sculpture trails sensory-friendly?

Many people are excited to learn that exploring sculpture trails can be a great sensory-friendly family activity. They really do offer something for everyone. Sensory-friendly activities are ones that are “friendly” for the senses. Did you know that there are more than 5 basic senses? It is important to note that there are 8 senses which can each contribute to sensory overload. Sensory-friendly experiences help people of all ages with sensory sensitives.

Four ways sculpture trails are sensory-friendly

Vision

Check out the gallery of images below from the Sculpture Saint John Trail. Sensory-friendly activities offer a toned-down visual experience. While the individual sculptures are spectacular, they are visited one at a time. That makes enjoying them sensory-friendly. What you look at, is not overwhelming. You don’t have to look at many spectacular and sensory-rich things all at once. Moreover, while the sculptures themselves have interesting visual features, shapes, sizes and textures, they are primarily one color. Their hidden features are a “just right” visual challenge for children (and adults) to find and explore.

In the image gallery, you can see that the sculptures are outdoors and many along a water-front. The area is also not high-population. So visitor can enjoy being away from crowds and in a natural setting.

Touch

Your tactile sense includes your sense of touch and feel. Many of the sculptures along Sculpture Saint John have different textures to explore. But that exploration of touch and feel is by choice. That helps make it a sensory-friendly experience. the sculptures on the Sculpture Saint John Trail have booth smooth and rough surfaces to touch and feel. The best toys and activities for children with sensory sensitivity are ones that help them explore their senses. Therefore, the sculptures are a fun way for children to explore their sense of touch and feel in a way that is not overwhelming.  

Balance

Several of the sculptures along the trail have different areas to sit or balance on. This can be a fun and exciting way to get your children to practice their sense of balance. you can see from the images below that adults can have fun with their sense of balance too!

Movement

Another sense that makes this a sensory-friendly sculpture trail is your sense of movement. The trails are easily visited by vehicle. All have a free parking lot nearby. They can be seen from vehicle, so you do not even have to get out of your car to enjoy them. Most are accessed by a short path, sometimes over the grass. Almost all of them can be accessed by someone using a walker or a wheelchair too. And definitely by families with a stroller. The option to get out and move around the sculpture is fun for all ages. Sculpture Saint John provides a great setting to get everyone active outdoors.

You have your own sensory preferences. So does everyone else. And they are likely different. However, a sensory-friendly sculpture trail offers a fun and engaging activity for the whole family!

Looking for more ideas about sensory-friendly things to do? Then check out:

Finally, find other fun things to do in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada at Uptown Saint John.

Image credits: Christel Seeberger and Elaine Shannon. With special thanks to Elaine for finding and exploring sensory-friendly experiences with us! Elaine is a producer, connector, coach and consultant. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube. And check out her nature immersive experiences, in St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada, that are both sensory-rich and sensory-friendly at Fundy Vortex Tours on Facebook.

Illustration of group of people. Ages ranges from babies to seniors. Some people are in wheelchair or scooter, pushing a baby stroller, have a prostetic limb or wear a hijab. All designed in a blue and orange colour pallet.

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