Here Is Something Nice

Morgan Hartman is a 23-year-old woman with autism. Her father, Gordon Hartman, who made a fortune as a property developer, sold his company and spent $34 million building Morgan's Wonderland — the "world's first ultra-accessible theme park" — for his daughter and for everyone.
Hartman and his wife Maggie asked other parents where they could take their daughter — somewhere she would feel comfortable, and others would feel comfortable interacting with her. "We realised such an inclusive place didn't exist," says Hartman.

So in 2007 he decided to build it himself. ..."We wanted a theme park where everyone could do everything, where people with and without special needs could play," Hartman says.

He brought together doctors, therapists, parents, and other people with and without disabilities to consult on the facilities.

...Attractions include a fully-accessible Ferris wheel, adventure playground, and miniature train. Visitors regularly tell Hartman it is the first time they've been able to experience such attractions.

There is also a carousel with specially designed chariots for wheelchairs that go up and down alongside the animals.

...This year, the theme park was expanded with the opening of Morgan's Inspiration Island, a fully-accessible water park.

"Fewer people were visiting in July because the wheelchairs got too hot. So we decided to create a water park next door," Hartman says.

Parts of the island use warm water, which helps visitors with muscular problems. Waterproof motorised wheelchairs are provided, which run on compressed air rather than batteries. There is also an accessible river boat ride.

...A third of staff have disabilities and entrance is free to any guest with a condition.

"I realised Morgan was one of the lucky ones because she had many of the things she needed. I didn't want cost to be a barrier for others with special needs," Hartman says.
Since its doors opened in San Antonio in 2010, Morgan's Wonderland has been visited by people from all 50 states and from 67 countries around the world. Amazing.

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