By Becca Husselbee
Inspired by their disabled daughter a mother and father have opened a one of a kind theme park to embrace all children with and without disabilities.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island, in San Antonio, Texas, was set up by Gordon and Maggie Hartman who wanted to create ‘a park of inclusion’ that is designed to accommodate children with mobility issues as well as able-bodied children.
Park founder, Gordon Hartman, said: “Our goal is to provide a great guest experience in an inclusive, safe, comfortable, not overly crowded environment.”
The park, which was opened to the public on June 17, consists of six tropical themed major attractions, including an accessible river ride, splash pads, water cannons and rain curtains.
Other features include water temperature control, so cold sensitive visitors can use the attraction, quiet areas for those sensitive to noise and wristbands that can be used to locate visitors who may wander.
The park also worked with the University of Pittsburgh to develop a specially designed, waterproof wheelchair which is powered by compressed and is about half the weight of a normal power chair.
These are given out free on a first served basis as well as waterproof buggies and manual wheelchairs and anyone with a disability is also allowed into the park for free.
Water conservation was also considered when designing the park and the is continuously filtered and recirculated to help those who are immune sensitive.
Gordon said: “Morgan’s Inspiration Island will concentrate on inclusion, and inspire guests to do things previously thought not to be in their range of capabilities.”
“Those without disabilities and those with, including individuals in wheelchairs, guests with hearing and visual impairments, and even guests on ventilators, will be able to play alongside each other and gain a greater appreciation of one another.”
The park was named after the couples daughter who has both physical and cognitive disabilities.
In 2005 the couple took Morgan to a hotel swimming pool but noticed that the other children did not want to interact with her and it was this trip that inspired them to open there all inclusive theme park.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island is the sister park to Morgan’s Wonderland, a park opened by Gordon and Maggie Hartman in 2010, and are located next door to each other.
The park will be open everyday until mid-August and weekends for the rest of the year.