Since it’s opening over a year ago in San Antonio, TX, more than 130,000 people from 20 countries have visited Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first amusement park serving those in the special needs community.
The $32 million facility is completely accessible. One ride, for example, is an off-road adventure where visitors sit in vehicles designed to accommodate wheelchairs while traveling through winding trails and rocky terrain.
Gregory Calta was born with excess fluid on his brain, a condition known as hydrocephalus. Left paralyzed and unable to speak because of the condition, Gregory’s family found it difficult to find public places for him to enjoy. That is, until the Caltas found Morgan’s Wonderland.
After their first visit to the park in June, the Caltas liked the park so much, they moved from their home in California to San Antonio.
“It gives us a chance to connect with Gregory on a new level,” Ben Calta, Gregory’s brother told CBS News.
The idea for the amusement park came from Gordon Hartman in 2006. An entrepreneur by trade, Hartman also has a daughter, Morgan, with developmental delay. Hartman envisioned a place that would be inclusive and a safe-haven of sorts, where those with and without disabilities can play together.
In order to fund and manage the park, the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation began the non-profit Sports Outdoors and Recreation in 2007. Construction began in 2009 and in order to encourage an all inclusive atmosphere, the park became a part of a 106-acre sports center that includes the South Texas Area Regional Soccer Complex, home to 13 fully lit, tournament style fields.
Even though the 25-acre park is complete with many accessible features such as a carousel and an interactive light sensory room, Morgan’s Wonderland welcomes all and about three-quarters of the visitors are those without special needs.
“When we play together, we learn together,” Hartman said.
Admission is free for those with special needs and between $10 and $15 for everyone else and reservations are suggested.