Sensory Inclusion at PNC Arena

PNC Arena, Carolina Hurricanes Announce New Sensory Inclusion Initiative

I was so thrilled when I read about this.  My family got a chance to take if all for a spin  at a  Sunday evening hockey game.  Here is a bit of my experience.

First, check in with guest services.  Guest Services is located in section 127.  They have the information about what accommodations are available and the sensory bags for check out.  They hold your license while you are in possession of the bag.  We asked about the quiet room that I saw advertised in their press release.


The staff said that the quiet room was located on the 4th floor.  They also stated that to gain access one had to have an escort from Guest Services.  Now our seats were located in the 300 section so this didn’t seem like an ideal solution.  The staff and Guest Services also mentioned a nice alternative to the quiet room.  They would allow guests needing a break to step outside.  Normally reentry is not allowed, but they said they could make exceptions.

Once at our seats we got to inspect the sensory bag.  Inside the sensory bag is a feelings chart that you may or may not find helpful.  There was a little red squishy stress ball that my son really liked.  Also included were other fidgets including a little marble you could manipulate in a little mesh bag.  My son really enjoyed the fidgets and found the bag to be very useful.

The sensory bag also came with noise canceling headphones.  My son quickly tried on the headphones and then just as quickly abandoned them.  My son is actually a sensory seeker.  In many ways he loves the noise and the blinking lights.  It also can go too far and he can become overstimulated easily.  He also has noises he likes and noises he doesn’t.  He likes yelling “Let’s go Canes” with the crowd, but hates the noises of public bathrooms.

In fact, late in the 2nd period my son began to get overstimulated and really twitchy. It didn’t help matters that he had junk food and sugar. It’s hard to avoid junk food and sugar at a game.  He said he didn’t want the quiet room so we did what works for us.  We took a walk.  We walked around the outside of our upper section as I tried to catch the game on the TV screens set up around the vendor lines.  It worked, and shortly my son was back to happily playing with fidgets and watching the rest of the game.

I never did get to see the quiet room.  I also wrote the PNC arena a few times asking for a photo.  It would be nice and possibly comforting to know where it actually was located and what it looked like inside.  I honestly don’t like that the quiet room required a Guest Service escort.  When my son is on the verge of a meltdown, he can be very frightened of strangers.  Also to have to trek to one floor only to go to another, is not ideal when one is dysregulated.  It should be easy to get to a quiet area and not difficult.  A staff member near the area should be able to let families in without a march to Guest Services.  Also, I can see my son thinking he’s in trouble if he is being escorted somewhere.  No one should be made to feel uncomfortable, just so they can have a minute or so of quiet.

I did indeed turn back in the sensory bag and my license was kindly returned.  They did reassure me that everything in the bag was to be washed.  All in all, it was success, and I’m anxious to hear from someone who actually used the quiet room. Guest Services said it was TV free.  If I go again, I will also verify the policy on stepping outside.  I would hate to step outside only to get a gate guard to say he knew nothing of such policy.

I’m so proud of my hometown hockey team!  Thank you Carolina Hurricanes for making it that much easier for my family to attend a game. I love going to hockey games and I hope to carry on the tradition.


After tagging PNC Arena in a Tweet about my blog, I was thrilled to find out that they read my little review of their program!  I was direct messaged by Lindsey Hall, the marketing coordinator for PNC Arena, and then called on Monday by Kim Jenkins the customer care coordinator.

I was thanked for bringing awareness to the inclusion project, but we primarily talked about the quiet room.  They did confirm that the quiet room is located on the 4th floor.  The fourth floor I found out is their executive offices.  That indeed explains why they have an escort.  They also admitted that the room changes based on availability.  That is why they didn’t advertise it with photos.

The good news is that they are working on a permanent home for the quiet room that is more accessible to all!  I can’t wait to see it for myself.

My thanks to the staff at PNC Arena for creating a dialogue.   I am thrilled about the sensory inclusion project.  They are always happy to hear from others so be sure to let them know your own experiences!  Keep up the good work PNC Arena!



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