LONG ISLAND CITY — At first glance, Sensory City in Hunters Point is any kid's playroom-dream.
There are brightly-colored monkey bars, a zip line, and hammock swings. There's a ball pit to jump in surrounded by a set of mini-rock climbing walls. There's a two-story play castle with windows and doors that open and close and a slide going down one side.
But this isn't just another indoor playground. Sensory City's founder, Nicole Abate-Gioino, is a seasoned occupational therapist who uses the space to help children develop better sensory, gross motor, fine motor and communication skills.
"It's really unlike any other therapy facility, and unlike any other gym for children," Abate-Gioino said.
"It's specifically designed for children to experience different kinds of sensory input, it's also specifically designed for child development, and we have a professional guiding you through it all."
Sensory City is hosting a free open house this Sunday and Monday to give parents and kids an opportunity to check out the space.
Abate-Gioino has spent nearly a decade working as an occupational therapist, with stints in the city's public and private schools, including Long Island City's P.S. 78. She opened Sensory City on the fourth floor of an office building at 11-11 44th Rd. this spring.
"It's always been a dream of mine to open up my own sensory gym. I live in Long Island City, and I know the neighborhood is growing," she said. "There's a real need."
Sensory City works with children by appointment, and specializes in helping kids with developmental delays, learning disabilities, attention or sensory integration disorders.
The gym also helps children strengthen their balance, coordination, and perception, with equipment that's designed to stimulate the senses through textures and color.
For an hour everyday except Sundays, parents can register for "open sensory gym" time to let their children explore the space and its equipment.
"It's definitely beneficial for all children, too," Abate-Gioino said. "It’s a great place for kids to kind of get their energy out, for general strengthening and endurance."
Editor's Note: Sensory City's open house will take place Sunday, August 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Monday, August 5th from 1 to 6 p.m. Sensory City is located at 11-11 44th Rd., Suite 402, Long Island City.