People & Inspiration

Family First: Fun Places for Kids With Special Needs

Family First: Fun Places for Kids With Special Needs



The Puzzle Café

1 Comets Loop, Blue Ridge B, Quezon City

Open from Monday-Saturday, 11AM to 10PM

Call +63917-5019645

The Canoy family opened The Puzzle Café for Jose, one of six siblings who was diagnosed with autism. The international symbol for autism is a puzzle piece and in Puzzle Café, there are details of this very special jigsaw piece.

The café does not only cater to individuals on the Autism Spectrum Disorders or aim to create awareness in their community. A couple of their differently abled employees have Down Syndrome. They are given the opportunity to work as servers and short order cooks. Staff and therapists help employees with autism to meet challenges at work.

Here, you can order a sandwich or pasta, purchase gourmet food items, and even sit and play some board games with their mates.


KidZania Manila

Park Triangle, North 11th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Open from Monday-Friday 9AM to 4PM (1 shift), Saturday and Sunday 9AM to 8PM (2 shifts)

Visit or call +632-711KIDZ (5439). 

KidZania Manila is an all-access play city that opened its doors this year to CitiZens ages 4 to 14 years. A mini city complete with paved roads and street lamps, this educational theme park explores concepts in economics, earning, and role play. They learn about real jobs with KidZania industry partners like Cebu Pacific, Goldilocks, McDonalds, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Green Cross, ABS-CBN, and Honda, just to name a few.

Visitors with special needs can expect the standard PWD discount by presenting their PWD ID at the airport counter. There is a special lane for people with disabilities, and you may also bring in special food if dietary restrictions or needs are declared at the entrance.

Children with special needs are identified with a special badge, allowing the assistance of an adult inside establishments all over the city. Typical kids are encouraged to visit each establishment by themselves.

Almost all of the activities are wheelchair-accessible. All information on each establishment is presented in both audio and visual mediums.

Families can visit the park as walk-ins, but it is best to make arrangements weeks ahead for guaranteed time slots.



Fernandez Compound, Purok 1B, Barrio La Paz, San Narciso, Zambales

Call +63915-9914715 or visit

This boutique resort came about when owners Keith and Rachel Harrison realized that their son Julyan, who is on the Autism Spectrum Disorders, thrived in a natural environment with structure for his daily activities. While it is a small family-owned beach house, it does not stop the family from giving back to the community.

Rachel is originally from Zambales and besides having a five-room beach house that is rented out to entire families, she has also opened the Zambawood Café and Hostel along the strip of San Narciso beach that is prime for surfers and local folk looking for work.

From Julyan’s organic farm, which grows much of the produce and free range chicken served in both the boutique resort and cafe to the outdoor activities where one can connect with nature and oneself, all the many different facets for a restful and invigorating stay have been laid out for both ordinary folks and guests with special needs.


Gourmet Gyspy/Open Hand School of Applied Arts

25 A. Roces Ave., Quezon City

Open on weekdays from 11AM to 2 PM, 6PM to 11PM and on weekends from 10AM to 11PM

Call +632-6620880 or visit

Standard PWD discount applies to diners with PWD card.

Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco had a vision when she opened Gourmet Gypsy—she wanted to provide real-life opportunities for her differently abled students who were trained through her school, Open Hand School of Applied Arts. By actively advocating for paid work for her graduates, she is giving them a chance to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

From teaching cooking classes for summer enrichment of a student, Chef Waya has a gone a long way to providing year-round classes for more students, who now comprise 30% of her restaurant staff.


Art in Island in Cubao

175 15th Avenue, Barangay Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City

Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30AM to 9:30PM, closed every Monday

Call +632-4211356.

Fees: P500 (adults); P400 (students). Children below 3 feet are free.

Standard discount applies to PWD card holders.

It’s not your typical art museum that only allows you to view the artwork from behind a velvet rope. This 3-D Art Museum is friendly for families with special needs and provides lots of laughs and photo opportunities for Instagram and Facebook users.

Here, you can touch the art that you’re viewing and get creative with your selfies. The museum even has staff on hand to assist in taking photos for your groups.

While this is a museum, you can take part in the art installations you are viewing or participating in—you just have to be patient enough to wait for your turn. You can complete the entire round of more than 50 different interactive art installations in a little more than three hours. There is a cafeteria on each floor where you can stop and take a break.


Manila Ocean Park

Behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park

Open from Monday-Friday 10AM-9PM, Saturday-Sunday 9AM-9PM.

Visit or call +632-5677777.

Standard discounts apply for PWD ID card holders on entrance fees.

With bundled packages, visitors can choose from attractions that appeal to different interests. Guests can choose from a Sharks & Rays encounter, Mermaid Swim encounter, The Oceanarium, Trails to Antartica, Jellifish Exhibit, Fish Foot Spa, Glass Bottomed Boat ride, Indoor Gaming area, Back of the House exhibit (where one learns about how the tanks and the fish are cared for), and The Birds of Prey attraction.

Different packages allow the visitor to pay only for the attractions that they wish to see. Guests with special needs can bring their own wheelchairs and children can bring strollers.


SM Malls

SM Malls works tirelessly with many of the PWD organizations to provide the best experiences they can for all customers who frequent their malls. Through SM Cares, they provide support for the organizations and their many activities as well as monthly trainings for their staff and security guards on how to best serve the special needs population. They work closely with Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Autism Society of the Philippines, and Best Buddies to encourage appropriate behavior and to create awareness of people with disabilities.


ALSO READ: Family First: Helping Your Kid Chin Up from Disappointment




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