With temperatures rising in South Texas, we're all looking to cool off. Now there's a place where everyone, including those with physical or cognitive special needs, can splash and play without barriers.
Morgan's Inspiration Island, the world's first ultra-accessible water park, recently opened at Morgan's Wonderland in San Antonio. And it’s free for anyone with a special need.
The 90,000-gallon, tropically-themed destination cost about $17 million to build. Highlights include a seven-story lighthouse, a river boat adventure ride, five play areas, two restaurants, and a sundries shop.
"Like Morgan's Wonderland, Morgan's Inspiration Island is not a special-needs park; it's a park of inclusion," says founder Gordon Hartman in a release. "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."
Every feature is wheelchair-accessible, and the park provides waterproof wheelchairs, including a first-of-its-kind waterproof motorized wheelchair, plus private areas where guests can transfer from their wheelchairs to the waterproof ones. Wristbands worn by children allow parents to track their whereabouts, special noise cues guide the visually impaired around the water elements, and there is even a warm water feature for guests with sensitivity to cold.
Morgan's Inspiration Island is the newest facet of Morgan’s Wonderland. The popular 25-acre theme park, inspired by Hartman's daughter, Morgan, debuted in 2010 with attractions tailored to suit a wide range of cognitive and physical needs.
Morgan's Inspiration Island is open daily through mid-August and on weekends in August and September. Like Morgan's Wonderland, the water park admits anyone with a special need free of charge. Guests are encouraged to book their tickets ahead of time, as part of the goal is to provide a comfortable — and not overly crowded — environment.