Special needs recreation and enrichment

A child’s special needs needn’t get in the way of fun. Here is a list of Valley programs that offer special needs recreation and enrichment opportunities for kids.


ARCH (Arizona Recreational Center for the Handicapped)
1550 W. Colter St., Phoenix
602-230-2226 • archaz.org
Offers an after-school program from 2-6pm Monday-Friday and special programs and camps during school breaks and summer.

City of Chandler Therapeutic Recreation Program
480-782-2709 • chandleraz.gov (search “therapeutic recreation”)
Strives to meet the leisure needs of those who are active in sheltered workshop, special education classes; for anyone whose mental and/or physical disabilities limit regular recreation participation.

City of Glendale Adaptive Programs
623-930-4335 • glendaleaz.com/parksandrecreation/adaptive
Specially designed activities for individuals with physical, mental, emotional or social disabilities. Bowling, swimming, dances, field trips and more. Also supports Special Olympics Softball & Challenger Little League with City of Peoria.

City of Mesa Adaptive Leisure
480-644-4948 • mesaaz.gov
Staff and support provided for all recreation programs to allow individuals with disabilities to participate. Staff and volunteers are partnered with individuals who require special assistance.

City of Phoenix Adaptive Recreation Services
Programs for individuals with special needs. Daring Adventures provides young people and adults—regardless of disability or financial need—with wilderness adventures, including weeklong river trips through the River Rampage program. Telephone Pioneers of America Park features two beep-baseball fields (for visually impaired), therapeutic heated pool, wheelchair-accessible playground, 18-station exercise course, racquetball, volleyball, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard.

City of Scottsdale Adapted Recreation Services
480-312-2234 • scottsdaleaz.gov (search “adaptive”)
Recreation programs, adapted sports and social opportunities for individuals of all ages with special needs. Programs include inclusion support for special needs students in afterschool programs, Chaparral Teen Connection program, monthly Adapted Recreation Services Dance and Social Club and the Spectacular Saturday Club.

City of Surprise Adaptive Recreation Programs
623-222-2240 • surpriseaz.gov
Programs for all ability levels. “Buddy” programs include individuals who assist players as needed in bowling, basketball, baseball and bocce ball. DreamCatcher Park is a multi-use, barrier-free athletic facility that hosts baseball, soccer, track and field programs and mainstream T-ball, coach-pitch baseball.

City of Tempe Adapted Recreation
480-858-2469 • tempe.gov
Programs for youth and adults with developmental disabilities. Programs include bowling league, Camp Challenge, Friday night social activities, LEAP afterschool program, recreation classes, Special Olympics (City of Tempe delegation).

Foundation for Blind Children Adaptive Recreation SHARP Program
The Sports, Habilitation, Art & Recreation Program (SHARP) is an open-entry, open-exit program for blind and visually impaired school age children. The SHARP program is held on Saturdays during the school year and each Saturday there is a different activity, such as goalball, beep baseball, cooking, art, fitness and more. The program provides multiple opportunities for blind and visually impaired children to develop hobbies, friend, interests and independence.


Arizona Magic of Music & Dance
480-262-6803 • azmagic.org
AZ Magic summer camp provides an authentic theatrical experience for children and youth with physical or cognitive disabilities. High school and college volunteers help kids develop empathy and leadership skills.

Goldilocks Indoor Playland and Dance Studio
4820 N Litchfield Rd #105-106, Litchfield Park
602-446-5934 • goldilocksplayland.com
Inclusive play center for children of all abilities. Integrated activities for children with autism and hyper- and hypo-proprioceptive sensory disorders. Activities support gross/fine motor skills, literacy, cognitive skills, social/emotional development.

PSA Art Awakenings
2255 W Northern Ave #A130, Phoenix
602-393-3155 • artawakenings.org
PSA Behavioral Health Agency program providing art experiences for people living with mental illness. Structured, creative individual and group activities for children ages 6-17 and their families.

Rhythm & Motion Dance Center
3035 S. Ellsworth Rd. Suite 117, Mesa
480-325-8418 • rhythmandmotiondance.com
Offers Danceabilites, a dance class for students with special needs, at noon every Saturday.

VSA Arizona
Accessible arts opportunities throughout Arizona for students and adults with disabilities.


Camelot Therapeutic Horsemanship
480-515-1542 • camelotaz.org
Horsemanship and outdoor education program for children and adults with physical disabilities. Educational, therapeutic and vocational curriculum with emphasis on mainstreaming into the community.

Envision Therapeutic Horsemanship
480-262-3434 • envisiontherapy.org
Therapeutic riding, equine-assisted therapy and therapeutic activities for individuals with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities including amputations, autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis, stroke, visual impairment, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or Downs syndrome. Also offers sibling and parent/caregiver programs and educational classes.

Harden Education and Recreation Therapy (HEART) Center
21152 N 22nd St, Phoenix
480-584-5161 • theheart-center.com
Day, overnight and family camps, back-to-school retreats for children with special needs. Camps are designed and run by certified recreation therapists and therapeutic riding instructors who provide equine experiences, life skills programming, creative arts and recreation.

Hoofbeats with Heart
43491 N Coyote Rd, San Tan Valley
602-421-7718 • hoofbeatswithheart.org
Daily and weekly equine-assisted therapy and activity sessions conducted by licensed therapists, mental health professionals and trained equine specialists.

Horses Help
2601 E Rose Garden Ln, Phoenix
602-569-6056 • horseshelp.org
Adaptive riding, adaptive horsemanship, hippotherapy, equine facilitated learning, equine facilitated mental health, military program, summer enrichment programs.

480-393-0870 • hunkapi.org
Hands-on, experiential programs include equine assisted psychotherapy, therapeutic riding, life skills groups, counseling, off-site adaptive horse camps.

Robinson Ranch
1231 E Ardmore Rd, Phoenix
602-268-4972 • robinsonranchaz.org
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT), Equine Assisted Facilitated Learning Program (EAFL) Utilizing Music and Robinson Ranch Special Olympics Equestrian Team.

Silver Lining Riding
7220 N 185th Ave, Waddell
520-329-7757 • silverliningriding.org
Variety of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) for people of all ages and all types of disabilities.


See listing under “Youth Sports”

…and more ENRICHMENT resources

Children’s Museum of Phoenix
215 N 7th St, Phoenix
602-253-0501 • childrensmuseumofphoenix.org
Designated day per month—Very Important Players Day—throughout the school year. VIP Days are exclusively for groups of students with special needs.

Phoenix Zoo
455 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix
602-914-4333 • phoenixzoo.org
Special needs field trips and special needs Camp Zoo for students to explore nature in a hands-on way. Age-appropriate lessons and activities designed for multiple learning styles.

More special needs resources

magazine provides resource directories as a community service and a starting place for your research. We do not independently evaluate nor do we imply endorsement by including particular organizations. If you know of additional resources we should list, please contact us.