Parents of children with special needs or disabilities may have difficulty finding amusement parks or water parks that cater to their child’s needs. Thankfully, a man named Gordon Hartman has designed such parks in San Antonio, Texas over the past decade.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island Water Park opened on Saturday, June 17, 2017 as the first-ever inclusive water park specifically designed for children with disabilities. The park offers many features which make it completely accessible to, and enjoyable for, children with disabilities, including:
- Waterproof wristbands to keep track of people who tend to wander
- Quiet areas for people who struggle with crowds
- Fast passes so people can avoid sensory issues associated with long lines
- Wheelchair access beyond just ramps (including boats that carry individuals with wheelchairs through the entrance to one of the rides)
- Mechanisms for changing water temperatures to assist those with cold sensitivity. According to the park’s website, “certain medical conditions cause muscle pain or contraction when an individual is subject to non-heated water.”
- Free access to waterproof wheelchairs, which use compressed air instead of batteries
- Limited attendance guidelines to maintain comfort for those who struggle with crowds
- A seven-story lighthouse
- Musical elements as a part of its musical splash pad, Calypso Cove
- Smaller pools for younger children
The park was designed by Gordon Hartman and a team of designers who considered all types of disabilities and special needs in the park’s creation. It was planned as a destination for everyone, with elements that can be enjoyed by all people with all types of needs. The park offers several different play areas with pools, water cannons, jets, geysers, and more. It also has a jungle-themed riverboat ride. The park is located next to Morgan’s Wonderland, an accessible theme park which Hartman also designed and opened in 2010. Visitors with disabilities are admitted to the park free of charge.