Morgan’s Wonderland, open in San Antonio since 2010, is the world’s first “ultra-accessible” park for disabled and special needs individuals.
The $36 million park, located in the former Longhorn Quarry, features numerous attractions including splash pads, a river boat ride, and more. It features the park’s custom built Pneu-chair™ allowing wheelchair bound individuals unrivaled access to activities and fun within the park.
How It All Began
Inclusion and accessibility are key features that drove the building of the park.
The park is funded as a result of the owner, Gordon Hartman selling his business in 2005 and forming the foundation that funds the park. Inspired by his daughter Morgan’s struggles with her special needs, Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island were built to provide a safe place for those with special needs.
Anyone with a special need is admitted free, “no questions asked.”
Testing it Out
As a parent with two special needs children, I called to test out the “no questions asked” part and found it was a bit more involved, depending on the disability.
My daughter has schizophrenia, a legal disability per federal statute and a mental disorder. I asked about her condition and after a long hold, I was told she wouldn’t qualify for free access.
My son, who has Autism and ADHD, however, did qualify for a free ticket, without question. That also meant my husband and I, who struggle with PTSD and difficulty with crowds, would not qualify because of the mental disorder label.
Still, one free ticket is better than none. It was disappointing to know that my daughter, who struggles so much cognitively and behaviorally with environments like this, couldn’t access the park for free, which would have made the park more affordable for our family of four.
A child’s ticket is $11 and an adult ticket is $17 making our tickets cost a still reasonable $45 instead of $34 for the whole family.
Special Olympics 2019
Nevertheless, we are enthusiastic that the 50th Annual Special Olympics of Texas will be held May 2 – May 5, 2019 at Morgan’s Wonderland.
All events are free, open to the public, and accessible for special needs individuals. This year more than 3,000 athletes are expected to compete in 22 sports.
This park is a phenomenal way that private enterprise is addressing a very public and overlooked need!