Amazing Places

Morgan's Wonderland: The First Theme Park Built for Special Needs Kids

Remember your first ride on a carousel? Or your first time on top of a ferris wheel? Or better yet, the first time you mustered up the courage to go on your first roller coaster? Those experiences aren't always accessible to people with special needs. That's where Morgan's Wonderland is hoping to make a difference.

A Theme Park Of Inclusion

Morgan's Wonderland in San Antonio is the first large theme park designed for the special needs community. It was created by Gordon Hartman, a philanthropist and former San Antonio real estate developer. He says his daughter Morgan, who suffers from severe cognitive delay, was his inspiration.

Gordon's tipping point happened in 2005, when he noticed that Morgan wanted to play with other kids at a hotel swimming pool. Because she struggled with communication, the other children remained on the opposite end of the pool. Gordon wanted to create a safe place for those with (and without) disabilities to come together, have fun, and gain a better understanding of one another.

Fun For The Whole Family

The park opened in 2005. Morgan's Wonderland has many of the usual theme park attractions: rides, booths, and playgrounds. But there are features specifically geared toward the special needs community.

  • It is completely wheelchair accessible.
  • There's a sensory park where guests can enjoy light, sounds, and touch.
  • They have special computerized bracelets that allow families to keep track of each other while in the park.
  • The park controls the amount of guests, as big crowds can be overwhelming for special needs kids.
  • There's free admission for those with disabilities.

The concept is only growing. In June 2017, Morgan's Inspiration Island, the world's first ultra-accessible water park opened its doors to the public. Kids can enjoy a seven-story lighthouse, fun water play activities, and waterproof wheelchairs for anyone who needs them. Finally, there are places where Morgan (and anyone like her) can play and feel at home.

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Written by Sam Suarez July 13, 2017

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