A wheelchair accessible guide to Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island
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If you or your loved one uses a wheelchair for mobility, you already know how frustrating visiting some theme parks can be. Trying to find rides for the whole family to enjoy together can usually be a bit disappointing, but that is not the case at Morgan’s Wonderland.
Morgan’s Wonderland is a theme park in San Antonio, TX, and is the first of its kind in the world. It sits on 25 acres and includes 25 fully accessible attractions, such as rides, playgrounds, and interactive elements. And if this isn’t the best news you have heard thus far, it is completely free for anyone with special needs. I mean, how could it possibly get any better?!
The idea of this ultra-accessible theme park derived from one father’s vision for his daughter to feel “included”. This father is Gordon Hartman and of course, he gave the park his daughter’s name, Morgan. And what a Wonderland it is!
As you roll into the park, the first amazing thing you will see is the 25-foot-tall work of art called Taking Flight. This sculpture is two huge bronzed hands reaching up toward the sky with a butterfly between them taking flight. Just as the butterfly is fluttering away, this gives you a sense of freedom as you roll through a park that holds no limitations. Being able to remain in your wheelchair and actually ride the rides with your family and friends is like no other feeling when you have been segregated at many other theme parks.
On the Off-Road Adventure Ride, a wheelchair can be driven onto a sporty off-road vehicle that rides you around a twisting and turning track. While on this, you can see other parts of the park and decide what is next on your list.
There is also a colorful carousel that is 36 feet in diameter with specially designed “chariots” to enable guests in wheelchairs to go up and down and enjoy the ride just like everyone else. And let’s not forget The Whirling Wonder. This is a colorful Ferris wheel with a panoramic view of the entire park as it towers at five and a half stories tall. It includes 12 gondolas that can accommodate not only children and adults, but all pods are wheelchair accessible as well!
To now take a little rest, you can head over to the Interactive Experiences Sensory Village. This is a whole little community built on make-believe that encourages creative play. Here, you will find The Auto Fix-It Shop that lets you go for a simulated test drive from your wheelchair. Also in this area is The Village Market grocery store. This enables guests to go on an imaginary shopping trip complete with shopping carts, a full checkout area, and plastic foods to complete your experience. And what is better than seeing yourself on TV? In this village, there is also a section where you can do a weather forecast and see yourself on the screen.
Now, bring the whole family over for a relaxing ride together on the Wonderland Express. This is an awesome train ride with multiple railcars that are equipped with specially designed, wheelchair-accessible ramps. You and the family can enjoy the ride around the park, including the eight-acre lake. At the lake, you will see The Wharf. This area includes catch-and-release fishing in the fully stocked lake, water cannons that you can shoot at twirling targets, and you can be the pilot of remote-controlled pirate ships. Oh, and let me mention again that you can remain in your wheelchair for all of these fun-filled activities.
Four other awesome sections that you won’t want to miss are the Wheelchair Swings, the Waterworks, The Butterfly Playground, and the Sand Circle. In these areas, you can swing and play, as there are adaptive wheelchair swings that your chair can roll up on and swing with your friends nearby. You can also play in 10 splashy play elements and dig in the sand with wheelchair-accessible diggers to make a sand masterpiece.
Take a quick break from all the fun and have some lunch at one of the three food outlets on the property. There is also a huge picnic area with plenty of tables for everyone. But you won’t stay here long, as there is so much more to see and do.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island
In addition to the theme park, there is also a whole other park on the property called Morgan’s Inspiration Island and you cannot miss this! It is located right by Morgan’s Wonderland, so you could easily do both parks in the same day.
Morgan’s Inspiration Island is an ultra-accessible water park with a wheelchair valet service that will make you feel like royalty. Here, you can transfer into a specially designed oxygen-powered wheelchair that is waterproof. These chairs can be driven by the wheelchair user with a joystick, similar to a standard-powered wheelchair, but since it’s oxygen-powered, you don’t have to stress about getting your chair damaged. There are also manual waterproof chairs available depending on your preference and need.
To make your transfer into the waterproof chairs stress-free, there are accessible changing rooms complete with adult-sized changing tables and lifts for easy transferring. There are lockers here and plenty of friendly staff to make your day more pleasurable.
Once you are in your waterproof chair, roll on over to Rainbow Reef. This is a warmed-water splash pad, as some medical conditions cause muscle pain or contraction when an individual is in non-heated water. Playing here will involve a huge spouting octopus, starfish, sea turtles, and six seahorses that are squirting water. There is also a variety of geysers for some splashy warm water fun.
Next, bring music to your ears at Calypso Cove. This is a music garden splash pad complete with musical instruments such as drums and xylophones to promote your musical creativity all while splashing and playing around in the water. And if this doesn’t have you wet enough, roll on over to Shipwreck Island. In this area of the park, you will find a huge accessible pirate ship. You can roll on it or sit beside it and get absolutely soaked with a giant dumping water bucket. If at that point you still have a dry thread in your clothes, you and your friends can soak one another down with the large water cannons on the sides of the ship.
After a full day or two or three of these amazingly accessible theme parks, you will roll away with memories to last a lifetime. Memories that you shared with your family and friends and felt totally included and equal to the rest of the gang, as the experiences were all shared together right from the comfort of your wheelchair.
All images courtesy of the author.
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