Special needs

OMG, check out the world’s first accessible water park!

Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world's first water park that's fully accessible to children with special needs, is coming—and it looks absolutely amazing!

OMG, check out the world’s first accessible water park!

Photo: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics

It’s about time all children get the full water park experience. A big watery high five to The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation for creating Morgan’s Inspiration Island—a water park in San Antonio that allows visitors with and without special needs to join in the fun.

Morgan’s Inspiration Island has five tropical-themed splash pads and is fully accessible for those in wheelchairs. The $16-million attraction is a new addition to Morgan’s Wonderland theme park (which is also fully accessible). It’s a place where families can cool down and play together, and it’s geared towards visitors of all ages and abilities.

A little girl laughing and splashing at the waterpark Photo: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics

“Like Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island is not a special needs park; it’s a park of inclusion,” says Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which focuses on serving the special needs community. “Both were designed with special needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.”

Morgan’s Inspiration Island has a seven-story lighthouse; the River Boat Adventure ride, which winds through a jungle setting with bird and animal sounds in the background; and five water play areas—Hang 10 Harbor, Rainbow Reef, Shipwreck Island, Harvey’s Hideaway Bay and Calypso Cove. These areas have rain trees, falls, pools, geysers, jets, water cannons and tipping buckets for maximum splashing fun. At Rainbow Reef, the water can be made a little warmer to please young guests who are sensitive to cold temperatures.

a shot of the waterpark Photo: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics

The park lends three types of waterproof chairs to guests who require them so that their personal wheelchairs won't be damaged by the water. There are PneuChairs™, which are propelled by compressed air, stroller-type chairs and rigid-framed manual wheelchairs. Visitors can also borrow waterproof wristbands that track location, so that parents can immediately find family members in case they get split up.

a little boy plays at the waterpark Photo: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics

The park was designed with help from water park consultants from Texas, Arizona, Florida and Canada, as well as local doctors, special needs therapists, special education teachers, parents and caregivers.

a child in a wheelchair plays at the waterpark Photo: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics

“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,” says Hartman. And even more good news: Anyone with a special need can enter Morgan’s Inspiration Island free of charge.

Opening day is Saturday, June 17. We can’t wait!


This article was originally published on Jun 16, 2017

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