Saturday, September 24, 2011

Special Needs Parents: Morgan's Wonderland is for You!

I am a little obsessive about things being accessible. I can't help it. It's my belief that there is no good reason that places can't be accessible to everyone so that they can independently participate in life to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, lots of fun places for kids are not easily accessible for ALL kids. Which ticks me off; just because a person is in a wheelchair doesn't mean that they don't want to independently play and have fun and just BE. I understand that it is expensive to make doors wider and put handlebars on everything. Businesses are all about the bottom line, and no matter how wrong it is, that's just the way it is.

Here in San Antonio, however, is Morgan's Wonderland. This is, as far as I know, the only truly inclusive amusement park in the country. Gordon Hartman, whom I have never met but seems to be an awesome person, built this park in honor of his daughter Morgan.


I got a chance to explore the park before it was open, and I was blown away. And not just about this awesome sculpture in the front. As I walked around Morgan's Wonderland, all I could think about is how great this place would be for families who have members with special needs.

There are so many things that people without handicaps take for granted. How many people who are wheelchair-bound get to ride a carousel, for instance? Wheelchairs are often bulky and difficult to maneuver for most people. Even if they have a desire to ride on the merry-go-round, there may not be a way for them to get ON the ride independently. This place has a carousel that is accessible to all. An entire family can ride this together.

Morgan's Wonderland has swings for all sorts of sizes and disabilities. They have a Sensory Village, and a lake where kids can shoot a water cannon. There's several playgrounds that are accessible to all; siblings can play together. There is a train that goes around the lake, which I know my son would absolutely love. I did not get to see everything, but what I did see I loved.

Why am I talking about this? How many families with children who have special needs get to go on vacations? How many of those vacations are limited by activities which are not accessible by the entire family? Usually someone has to stay with one child while the other child gets to ride the rides. Wouldn't it be nice to go somewhere that everyone could stay together for the entire day if they wanted?

This is a place that offers that opportunity. Come visit!

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