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Morgan’s Inspiration Island: the world’s first fully accessible waterpark opens this weekend

3 min read

Better Society
Morgan’s Inspiration Island: the world’s first fully accessible waterpark opens this weekend
Source: BrightVibes

The all-inclusive waterpark in San Antonio, Texas, has been designed especially for people with differing abilities to enjoy.

“The world’s first all-inclusive splash park.”

Morgan’s Inspiration Island, which calls itself the world’s first accessible waterpark, has been designed especially for people with mobility issues. What’s more, every visitor with a disability gets free entry! 

The summer is a time to celebrate many things, like no school, warmer weather and birthdays. One of the best places to celebrate is at a water park and Morgan’s Inspiration Island is changing how those with disabilities access them. The tropical-themed park features six major attractions, including an accessible river boat ride and a wide variety of splash pads — surfaces with geysers, water cannons, and rain curtains. Source: Youtube/SocialUnderground

Designed to cater for everyone regardless of their ability or age

The water park is part of Morgan’s Wonderland, an accessible theme park in San Antonio that opened in 2010. Owners Gordon and Maggie Hartman named it after their daughter, Morgan, who has both physical and cognitive disabilities. Inspiration Island will, the Hartmans say, be “The world’s first all-inclusive splash park."

The $17m park, overlooking the Wonderland’s fishing lake, will have six attractions including a jungle-themed five-minute river boat ride which is wheelchair accessible. Five tropical-themed “splash pads” or play areas will include elements like geysers, water cannons, jets, “raintrees” and “tipping buckets”.

Rather than risk damaging your own wheelchair, the park has designed specially accessible, waterproof wheelchairs, which are powered by compressed air instead of batteries. The lightweight chairs, which weigh about half that of a normal power chair, are handed out for free on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Waterproof buggies and manual wheelchairs are also available. Service animals are allowed in the park, though not on the splash pads.

Other features include water temperature control, so cold-sensitive visitors can still use the attractions, special quiet areas for those sensitive to noise, and high-tech wristbands designed to locate guests who might wander. Even the water is constantly filtered and recirculated, to make it Eco-friendly as well as as healthy as possible.

Source: TheIndependent Photo credits: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics 

the launch of the fun new splash park will be something the whole family will be able to enjoy, with the whole park entirely wheelchair accessible so no one has to miss out on the fun.
Designed to cater for everyone regardless of their ability or age, the launch of the fun new splash park will be something the whole family will be able to enjoy, with the whole park entirely wheelchair accessible so no one has to miss out on the fun. Source: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics

Morgan’s Inspiration Island is not a special-needs park; it’s a park of inclusion

Srin Madipalli, CEO of Accomable, who has done everything from scuba dive in Bali to wheelchair-trekking in Yosemite, told Julia Buckley at The Independent: “Morgan’s Inspiration Island would have been an absolute dream to me as a kid. Accessibility is so often an add-on or an afterthought, but here they’ve really thought through everything to make the park ‘ultra-accessible’."

“I love the high tech features. I have very little muscle function, and get cold quickly, so the way they can change the water temperature, is ideal. It shows a brilliant level of insight into different individuals’ needs, which is really quite unusual. Normally a waterpark on this scale might offer an accessible changing room and a pool hoist to help you get into the water but very little else. The fact that this waterpark has accessibility built into every feature is truly inspiring – and looks like great fun!"

“It’s great to see such inclusive facilities being developed.”

But don’t think of it as a park for disabilities. “Like Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island is not a special-needs park; it’s a park of inclusion,” Gordon Hartman said in a statement. “Both were designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.

What’s more, prices are well below usual theme park rates. Visitors with disabilities get in free, while regular entry costs $17 for adults, and $11 for children.

The water park will be open daily until mid-August and then on weekends the rest of the year. 

Source: TheIndependent

Morgan’s inspiration island: a park of inclusion “Like Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island is not a special-needs park; it’s a park of inclusion. Both were designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.” –Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which developed the park. Source: Robin Jerstad/Jerstad Photographics
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