“She Just Wanted To Play.” Dad Designs Inclusive Theme Park Inspired By Disabled Daughter.

Morgan's Wonderland is a theme park for kids with disabilities.

For Gordon Hartman, the hardest part of raising a daughter with disabilities was seeing her left out. Because of her cognitive and physical impairments, Morgan Hartman wasn’t always able to enjoy the same games and pastimes as other children. One experience in particular made her dad realize that he couldn’t simply sit back and watch this happen. He needed to come up with a solution not just for Morgan, but for all kids with disabilities.

Gordon Hartman and his daughter, Morgan, who inspired Morgan's Wonderland.
Screengrab from CBS News/YouTube

“In 2006, we were on a family vacation where I watched Morgan not be able to participate in a pool activity with three other children, and it was simply because she was not able to be verbal,” Gordon recalled to CBS News. “It almost puts a lump in your throat because it gives you a sad feeling that, all Morgan wanted was to participate. She just wanted to play.”

That’s what inspired Gordon to create Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio. Launched in 2010, this theme park is designed so that children of all different abilities can join in the fun. Every ride and activity in the park is accessible, and there are special accommodations for kids with wheelchairs and power chairs.

A child in a wheelchair enjoys the accessible waterpark.
Screengrab from CBS News/YouTube

“We have a wheelchair valet,” Gordon explained. “You go from your wheelchair to a wheelchair that has been specially built to the size that you need and if you’re in a battery-operated wheelchair, we actually give you a nomadic wheelchair, which works off compressed air. It works underwater.”

Morgan’s Wonderland has become a magical destination for children all over the country and all over the world. The park includes playground equipment, amusement park rides, and a sports center. There’s even an outdoor waterpark! The best part? Kids with disabilities automatically receive free entry.

Morgan's Wonderland is a theme park for kids with disabilities.
Screengrab from CBS News/YouTube

“It’s the small things that make the big difference: Having fun,” Gordon said. “And for too long, I think, individuals had to watch and say, ‘I wish I could.’ Here at Morgan’s Wonderland and all the different Morgan’s venues, you don’t watch. You participate.”

Although Morgan isn’t a kid anymore, she still enjoys the theme park her dad designed in her name.

Watch the video below to see the inclusive amusement park where every child can play, regardless of ability. Don’t forget to share!

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