The country’s first “all-accessible” water park opened this past weekend in San Antonio, Texas, extending splish-splashy fun to people of all abilities, including those with physical disabilities and those who fall on the autism spectrum.
The park, dubbed Morgan’s Inspiration Island, features a seven-story lighthouse, a number of pools with water guns and other toys, a riverboat ride, and a rain curtain. Much of the pool water is warmer than usual, which helps accommodate visitors who may not be able to tolerate colder temperatures. What’s more, a recent article in TIME noted that all of the attractions are wheelchair-accessible, and many rides offer complimentary waterproof wheelchairs so visitors with physical disabilities don’t have to worry about getting their primary battery-powered rides wet.
Admission is free for visitors with disabilities, $15 for adults, and $11 for kids ages 3-17.
The new attraction is the brainchild of Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. The foundation specializes in projects and programs that benefit the special-needs community. Hartman named the park after his daughter, Morgan, who has cognitive and physical disabilities.
In a statement released last week, Hartman was quoted as saying that the new park is not just a place for visitors with special needs, but rather a place of inclusion for everyone. “We hope to inspire guests with special needs to do things previously thought not to be in their range of capabilities,” he said. The release noted that while designing the new park, the Hartman Family Foundation consulted with water park experts, doctors, special needs therapists, special education teachers, parents, and caregivers.
The park also provides free waterproof bags that protect ventilators and O2 tanks from getting wet, as well as free water collar covers for guests who need to cover their tracheas. Other all-accessible features throughout the park include ramps and adult changing tables.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island sits adjacent to another park that bears the name of Hartman’s daughter: Morgan’s Wonderland. That park, which is about 25 acres, opened in 2010 and was also designed to maximize opportunities for guests with disabilities.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island is open daily throughout the summer until mid-August, then on weekends in August and September. The park will close for the season in the fall.