Morgan’s Wonderland Is Possibly The World’s Most Accessible Theme Park

Posted by Kate W on Friday, June 7th, 2013

Earlier this week we touched on the issue of theme park accessibility. We discussed how not all kids and their families have the means to travel to theme parks and pay exorbitant ticket prices, and how mini-amusement parks like Fantasy Forest can make the theme park experience available to kids who might not otherwise have the chance to experience this halcyon childhood milestone.

Boy and his family enjoy the Water Works attraction at Morgan's Wonderland

But money and distance aren’t the only factors in theme park accessibility. There are also kids all over the world who are unable to enjoy the theme park experience because of physical or cognitive limitations. Luckily, children with special needs now have a park that provides a safe haven for play: Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio Texas.

Morgan’s Wonderland was inspired by a young woman named Morgan Hartman who has cognitive and physical special needs. Her father Gordon Hartman, a successful philanthropist and businessman, was inspired in 2006 to create a place where able-bodied and special needs people could interact in a recreational way after watching his daughter struggle to connect with her able-bodied peers. That spark of an idea soon blossomed into a fireball of achievement. Since the park opened in 2010, it has already welcomed more than 300,000 guests from all around the world.

Wheelchair-bound boy and his family enjoy Morgan's Wonderland

Morgan’s Wonderland is committed to being ultra-accessible to children with a wide range of special needs. Its many attractions include:

  • The Sensory Village (a cluster of themed spaces that inspire imaginative play and one-of-a-kind sensory adventures, including simulators, interactive videos, and musical components)
  • Wonderland Express and Depot (a 1930s-style train depot hosts a train that can pull multiple cars with specially-designed wheelchair-accessible ramps so the entire family can enjoy a fun and relaxing ride around a scenic eight-acre lake)
  • Off-Road Adventure Ride (a wheelchair-accessible off-roading experience that takes guests for a twisting, turning ride along a track)
  • Water Works (a play area with squirting pipes, spinning water wheels and dams that control water flow: it also contains sensory activities with lights, sounds, and tactile features and is fully wheelchair-accessible)

 

Young girl in wheelchair experiences the Wonderland Express at Morgan's Wonderland

And Morgan’s Wonderland doesn’t just focus on physical accessibility. Its founders realize that families with special needs children are likely to have limited financial resources, so they have set up ongoing fundraising and philanthropic initiatives to ensure that admission fees can remain low for everyone, and to guarantee that special needs individuals will be able to get in for free.

At Morgan’s Wonderland you won’t find the latest and greatest in high-tech rides and cutting-edge roller coasters. The pace of this park is peaceful to say the least. But what it does accomplish is incredibly meaningful nonetheless. At Morgan’s Wonderland everyone regardless of age, economic barriers, and physical and cognitive abilities will find something to thrill and engage them. The park is designed to be accessible for people with all kinds of special needs, but their ultimate goal is inclusion and understanding: to that end, they have created an environment that is equally appealing to able-bodied individuals. Morgan’s Wonderland may lack spectacle, but in the end, it is no less magical than the traditional theme park experience.

Image sources: Blueribbonnews.com, Ronniespoon.blogspot.com

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