When their children with special needs are restricted from activities, their parents experience just as much, if not more, sorrow.
The last straw for Gordon Hartman was watching his 12-year-old daughter Morgan shunned by youngsters swimming in a pool while on a family vacation. She attempted to converse with them, but they all departed, most likely since they didn’t know how to cope with somebody with special needs. Morgan has the cognitive ability of a five-year-old and severe autism.
Hartman said that Morgan is a lovely young lady. She will always greet with a grin and she will continuously need to offer an embrace. But there were a lot of moments when they couldn’t take her to places. Reluctant to let his daughter miss out on the upbringing she merited, Hartman took matters into his own hands – and he took them seriously! When he discovered that there were no amusement parks that were sufficiently comprehensive to suit his handicapped daughter, he decided to build his own. Morgan’s Wonderland opened on April 10, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas, after construction began in 2007. It was developed on the 25-acre site of an abandoned quarry after consulting with physicians, therapists, parents, and other persons with and without disabilities.
This isn’t just for Morgan. It’s a park with 25 diverse activities dubbed “ultra-accessible” for children of all needs and abilities. And the venture was so successful that Hartman constructed a waterpark named Morgan’s Inspiration Island in 2017. Hartman explained that there were fewer visitors in July because the wheelchairs became too hot. So they decided to build a water park just next door.He continued that they want Morgan’s Wonderland to be a place where the common element of play creates an atmosphere of inclusion for those with and without disabilities, encouraging everyone to gain a greater understanding of one another.
Many visitors to the multi-million dollar theme park have informed Hartman that he offered their children the only option to participate in rides and activities which they could never do. Morgan’s Wonderland has welcomed over a million guests from numerous countries and all 50 states since 2010. Anyone with special needs is admitted free of charge to the park. Hartman explained that he understood Morgan was one of the fortunate ones since she possessed many of the necessities. He didn’t want expense to be an impediment for other people with special needs.
Obviously, this implies that the park is not profitable. Hartman explained that they launch every year knowing they are going to lose more than $1 million (£750,000), and they need to recuperate that through fundraising and partnerships. However, the park continues to have the desired impact. Three out of every four visitors are not impaired, therefore it allows children of all abilities to play together. It assists individuals to understand that, while they are all different in certain ways, they are all the same.
While others have pleaded with Hartman to establish parks in their communities, he is focusing on San Antonio. However, he has pledged to work with anybody who wants to create one elsewhere. Morgan, who is now in her mid-20s, still attends the theme park. Her favourite spots are the swings and the sand zone, and she travels around the grounds blissfully unaware of the effect she’s had on the children around her – something she’s incapable of comprehending. Hartman, on the other hand, understands the significance and believes his daughter is a motivation to him and everybody around her. Scroll down to see an interview with the family and photos from this incredible, all-inclusive theme park.