After opening the world's first completely wheelchair-accessible theme park in 2010, Gordan Hartman couldn't stop there. Inspired by his special needs daughter, he also wanted to build an inclusive water park where people of all ability levels could splash and play together.
“Every child, everybody in San Antonio ought to come to these parks. There’s something that’s different here, and it’s a positive difference,” Hartman, told mySA
at the opening celebrations Saturday.
The new park, Morgan's Inspiration Island
, is a branch of the original Morgan's Wonderland
, located in northeast San Antonio. Accommodations for disabled visitors are seamless, including rides that easily lock in wheelchairs, shallow pools, 92-degree water for people who need higher temperatures, light signals for those who can't hear and audio signals for those who can't see.
The park also provides state-of-the-art wheelchairs that are completely splash-ready and waterproof. They are lighter than traditional ones and run on compressed air instead of batteries, so visitors can immerse themselves underneath waterfalls.
Another bonus: the parks are 501(c)(3) non-profits and admission for special needs people is completely free.
Hartman's goal of creating a place where the "common element of play" for people with and without disabilities has been a popular concept. Since its opening, Morgan's Wonderland has attracted 1 million visitors from across the world. And on Saturday, 600 people attended the opening of Inspiration Island.