Morgan's Wonderland - A Place Where Everyone Can Play
At first glance, Texas-based Morgan's Wonderland seems like just any other theme park complete with roller coasters and other fun rides. However, look a little closer and you will notice a slight difference - Able bodied and disabled riders enjoying the same rides, side by side.
Welcome to the world's first theme park built for people with special needs. Built on a 25-acre stretch of land just northeast of San Antonio, the park offers over 20 attractions ranging from swings to carousels to trains - All, designed to fit wheel chairs.
Other attractions include the Wharf where visitors can hang out and admire the 60ft. fountain, feed the fish or even try catch one. The more adventurous ones can rent a remote-controlled motorboat to tour the lagoon. There is also a sandbox where visitors of all ages, sizes and abilities can access the strategically placed shovels and rakes - A theme that pretty much runs through the park.
The park also caters to kids with other special needs. A secluded area dubbed Sitting Gardens is a favorite among families with autistic children. The Sensory Village, an indoor mall of touch and hear activities caters to the visually or hearing impaired. Here visitors can choose between a mechanic's shop and a make-believe supermarket complete with lobsters, ears of corn and cans of tuna - All plastic of course. A strategically placed cashier even returns the right amount of imaginary change.
However, the rides are not the only thing that set this Park apart - To ensure that all its visitors get the best experience, the park restricts the number of attendees that can visit the park each day. This means that visitors do not have to combat long lines as is the case with most theme parks.
And then, there is the price - The Park is free for children with special needs, just $10USD for their caretakers and $15USD for others - Making it really accessible to everybody.
The unusual fun zone is the brainchild of Gary Hartman, a Texas philanthropist who came up with the idea after watching his special needs daughter Morgan, unable to participate in activities that able-bodied children took for granted. And, while this is currently the only park of its kind, if Mr. Hartman has his way, that will not be the case for too long - For he intends to open them not only all across the USA, but also, other parts of the world too. To read more about this amazing park go out www.morganswonderland.com.
Resources: Huffingtonpost.com, morganswonderland.com, mysanantonio.com