New Sensory-Inclusive Experience at Gila River Arena

To make all of its events more comfortable, safe and fun for all attendees, Gila River Arena has partnered with KultureCity for its new initiative to help create a positive experience for guests with sensory needs who visit the Glendale arena. 

Sensory sensitivities are found in one in every six individuals, often experienced by people with autism, dementia, PTSD and other conditions. Having a sensitivity to overstimulation and noises can make seeing your favorite games, concerts and other events at massive arenas like Gila River difficult and almost impossible. To combat this, the Glendale arena has obtained certification and is now prepared to assist guests with these sensitivities. 

“Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that Gila River Arena is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing. We’re honored to partner with Gila River Arena to provide a truly inclusive experience for all fans and guests,” says Uma Srivastava, executive director at KultureCity, in a press release.

Sensory Room
Ella Dean Sensory Room

To obtain the new certification, all Gila River Arena staff were trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to help them when they are in a sensory overload situation. The venue now offers sensory bags, equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, verbal cue cards, weighted lap pads and more items to help in such moments. 

In addition to these handy tools, sensory-sensitive fans will also have access to the Ella Dean Sensory Room, a space designed by medical professionals for guests to go to and relax in when they are too overwhelmed. The room located on the main concourse at section 106 features a quiet, relaxing environment, with bean bag chairs, fidget toys and a bubble wall. The space was a donation to the arena by the Witcher Family on behalf of their niece, Ella Dean. 

For those who want to visit the arena but are hesitant due to these challenges, KultureCity now also offers a free app that provides previews of shows to give guests an idea of what they can expect when visiting. 

To learn more about the new sensory-inclusive experience at Gila River Arena, visit  

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