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World’s first fully accessible water park opens in Texas

File photo. (Hemera/Thinkstock)
File photo. (Hemera/Thinkstock)

(SAN ANTONIO) — Morgan’s Inspiration Island in San Antonio, Texas, is the first of its kind.

Imagine taking a child with a disability to a water park for some summer fun, only to find out not all the attractions were accessible.

That will never happen at Morgan’s Inspiration Island, an “ultra-accessible” splash park opening this weekend in San Antonio, Texas.

The new park is an offshoot of the popular Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park built on the same premise: that everyone, regardless of age or ability, is included. Like Morgan’s Wonderland, every part of the park is wheelchair accessible.

“Morgan’s Inspiration Island promises to give individuals with physical or cognitive special needs a place where they can splash and play without barriers,” Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which developed the park, said in a media release.

“Like Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island is not a special-needs park; it’s a park of inclusion,” he added.

Morgan’s Inspiration Island overlooks the theme park’s 8-acre catch-and-release fishing lake. The focal point is a seven-story lighthouse with a rotating beacon on top. Six major elements — including Calypso Cove, a water music garden splash pad and Shipwreck Island splash pad, which includes an accessible pirate ship with a giant dumping water bucket on top — comprise the $17 million tropically themed island paradise inspired by Hartman and his wife Maggie’s 23-year-old daughter with special needs, Morgan.

“We decided to call it Morgan’s Inspiration Island because Morgan truly has been the catalyst for every project we’ve pursued to help the special-needs community,” Hartman said.

Prior to officially opening on June 17, Morgan’s Inspiration Island has invited groups serving those with special needs to help thoroughly test all aspects of the new park. Waterproof wristbands with RFID technology are available so parents can go to a Location Station and easily find their children and other members of their party.

The park has limited capacity and advance ticket purchases are encouraged. The park is free to anyone with special needs.

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