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Cleveland ninja course becomes more inclusive with 'Sensory-Friendly Sundays'

Since February, Adrenaline Monkey has helped give kids and young adults who process the world differently an opportunity to enjoy themselves.

CLEVELAND — Adrenaline Monkey is an indoor ninja-style obstacle course where kids can run, climb, and be fearless on aerial ropes. But for some kids, the crowds, the lights, and the sounds can be overwhelming.

Wanting to welcome all warriors, the Cleveland business started "Sensory-Friendly Sundays" once a month for those with sensory processing differences.

"It is a toned-down experience with less music, less lights, but we have our ninja warrior courses, our rock climbing walls, our aerial ropes courses all open," general manager Kenny Dull stated. "The lights may be lower, but it's still as much fun."

Zack Zaleski and his parents take advantage of the experience. He crushes the course, getting stronger in every run. His toughest obstacle? The salmon ladder.

"Because you have to use your body's momentum to go upwards," Zack said, with a smile.

Parents say they truly value this time, and that it encourages kids to enjoy themselves without any additional pressure.

"Kids like Zack go at their own pace and maybe just need a little extra patience," Zack's father Scott told us. "Sometimes [with] large crowds, the sensory overload can be a little bit much."

To participate in Sensory-Friendly Sundays, you must pre-register to control crowd sizes. Adrenaline Monkey partners with Empower Sports and achievement centers, so they know there is a demand for activities like this.

"This is a way for them to build confidence," Dull added. "It's a way to have a little bit of fun and be involved in some physical activity."

As for Zack, he has been a fan of the NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" for years. His dream? To land a spot on the hit show.