Friday, August 4, 2017

His daughter's disability kept her from enjoying amusement parks. He built one for her.

Gordon Hartman witnessed his daughter's heartbreak all too often. Twelve-year-old Morgan would try to make friends at a pool or other public places, but children shied away from her. Hartman assumed it was because of her cognitive disability and his wife Maggie agreed. They asked other parents of children with special needs to recommend places Morgan could enjoy, and soon realized a harsh truth - there was no such inclusive place in their San Antonio area.

Hartman decided to build one

In 2005 he sold his homebuilding business and set up the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is 'Helping organizations that serve individuals with mental & physical special needs.' Then he set out to build the world's first completely accessible amusement park which could be enjoyed by children of all ability levels. After consulting and working with professionals, designers, and builders galore, Morgan's Wonderland was born in 2010

Since then, the park has drawn over one million visitors, hailing from all 50 states and 67 countries. Visitors enjoy the fully accessible ferris wheel, the carousel with wheelchair-friendly chariots which move up and down with the animals, an adventure playground, and a miniature train

This year, Morgan's Inspiration Island, a fully accessible water park, was added next door. Motorized waterproof wheelchairs are provided so all guests can cool off on the river boat ride and the splash park. Hartman is delighted that 3 of 4 guests to the park don't have a disability. His goal of creating an inclusive play experience for Morgan has been met.  

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