Today is one of those days when I’m really proud to be a Texan. I love my state and my hometown of San Antonio. The people are friendly, there’s a ton of culture, and there is always something to do. It’s hot here, though. We like to joke that we have three seasons: summer, hot summer, and scorching hot summer. It’s not that much of an exaggeration.
But this week, I’m giving my hometown a great big high-five for a whole new reason: June 17 marks the opening of Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first ultra-accessible splash park where guests of all ages and abilities can get wet and have fun in the sun. Inspiration Island is inside Morgan’s Wonderland, which is a park in Northeast San Antonio that was designed with special needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment. The park is completely wheelchair accessible and anyone with a special need is admitted free of charge, no questions asked. How cool is that?
You might be tempted to call this a special needs park, but Morgan’s Wonderland and the new Morgan’s Inspiration Island are parks of inclusion. Everyone, regardless of age or ability, can enjoy this place to splash and play without barriers. As I mentioned, Texas summers are sizzling, and this is an awesome opportunity for families who have kids with special needs to do things together that everyone can enjoy comfortably. The park was designed with the help of water park consultants, doctors, special needs therapists, special education teachers, parents, and caregivers.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island offers plenty of the usual things you’d expect to find at a water play area: pools, water cannons, tipping buckets, and, of course, snacks. Special features include an area with water at a warmer temperature to accommodate those sensitive to the cold and revolutionary new wheelchairs propelled by compressed air.
Battery-powered wheelchairs are expensive and those who have them can’t afford to get them wet. For this, Morgan’s Inspiration Island has a solution: The park offers private areas where guests can transfer out of their wheelchairs and into the waterproof chairs, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Can you imagine being that kid in the wheelchair who just wants to get in the water and do what the other kids are doing? Now it’s not only possible, but someone has made it easy.
Morgan’s Wonderland has an awesome reputation within the local special needs community and beyond. It’s listed by Trip Advisor as one of the top 25 theme parks in the United States and Morgan’s Inspiration Island promises to be just as much fun.
“When Morgan’s Wonderland opened in spring 2010, we really didn’t know what to expect, but the park’s popularity has grown tremendously and encouraged us to add Morgan’s Inspiration Island,” said Gordon Hartman of the Hartman Family Foundation, the organization behind the parks. “Now, we’ll have two attractions like none other that everyone — regardless of ability or age — can enjoy. Morgan’s Inspiration Island promises to give individuals with physical or cognitive special needs a place where they can splash and play without barriers.”
When you belong to a special needs family, doing something that’s seemingly ordinary — like going to a waterpark to cool off in the summer — might be more stressful, more complicated, or downright impossible. Thanks to the people behind the design of Morgan’s Inspiration Island, getting some relief from the hot Texas sun and having a good time while doing it is that much easier.