Easter is fast upon us and if you are a stickler for family traditions (like me), it may mean that it is time for an annual visit to see the Easter Bunny. For the past couple of years due to Covid restrictions, we actually arranged an Easter Bunny visit at our own residence. If by chance you think this may still be a better option for you than check out Easter Bunny Improvising. Although there is a bit of an ease with not having to leave your home to see the Easter Bunny, it still required a bit of arranging to make this happen, so this year we decided to go back to paying the bunny a visit outside of our residence.
Pre-Covid we used to make our annual visits at a mall that had lost some steam over the past decade and generally had a very limited number of visitors. In a way, it was like making up our own “sensory friendly” experience. But a couple of years ago that mall (unsurprisingly) closed its doors for good, leaving us trying to find a new location to go see our furry friend. Luck would have it that I saw an ad online for a sensory friendly bunny experience.
The event was through a company called Eventbrite and was referred to as Bunny Cares or Sensitive Bunny. This event is hosted by many malls across the country and through their website you could search locations near you. Luckily, I was able to find a somewhat local to us mall with an option that fit our schedule. It was free to book a time slot and once registered I received an email with a ticket confirmation for the event.
The program that we attended was set up on a Sunday and it was before the mall was officially open to the public for shopping. It ran from 10-11:30, and the mall and stores didn’t open until noon. We booked for the opening time slot at 10am. I am not sure if the spot is officially saved just for you when booking, or if they open it up to have multiple families at the same time. For us, we were the only ones there upon arrival, which for us was a few minutes before start time. They gave us a number slip so that if anyone else, it saved our number one spot in line. But the next family did not arrive until about 10:15, which by that time we were good and done with all our photos and getting ready to head out. They also gave each of our children a goody bag and had a table with Easter pictures and crayons, as well as goldfish crackers and small bottles of water which you could help yourself to while you waited.
Everyone working the event was very friendly, including the bunny of course. They were very tentative to our needs. The man who let us in mentioned that they forgot to turn the already really quiet, mall music off but asked if we needed it done right away. They let us get pictures with each of the kids and a group photo with all three kids together. We were not rushed at all. Both my boys really liked the feel of the bunny costume hands, so the bunny kept placing them out for my boys to touch as well, which was a really nice and seemed very calming for them. There was a sign stating not to take your own photos, but we were videotaping and it didn’t appear to be an issue. I’m guessing they didn’t mind since they knew that we planned to purchase a picture package. The event was free for us. The only payment required was to purchase any pictures. Picture packages seemed very similar in price to any other mall photo op we have been to.
All-in-all, we had a great experience with the event. I know that there are a lot of great companies out there who now offer these sensory friendly events for families (kids and adults too). These events are great for those who would like to make a visit like this, but have difficulty with crowds and/or loud noises that generally come with these types of settings. My kids can somewhat manage the noise but waiting and crowds can make for a tough visit, especially if you have a goal to try and get a picture. It was very nice to have an opportunity to visit the Easter Bunny in such a quiet and stress-free setting and without having to feel rushed. If you have a child or older individual on the spectrum who would like to make a visit, I would highly recommend looking into sensory friendly events in your area.