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Texas Theme Park for Disabled Becomes a Main Attraction

It stared as a dream four years ago and today it’s the only park of its kind in the U.S. 

Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Tex., is giving special needs children and their families a reason to smile.

“We don’t want to have limitations to what we can and can’t do,” said Crystal Brown, the mother of a special needs child. “Coming here, we’re happy.”

The park has more than 20 attractions, including a carousel made for wheelchairs. All of the rides were designed to accommodate children with wide-ranging disabilities.

“This is a park that allows people to do things they never thought they could do before,” said Gordon Hartman, the parks founder. “We brought in doctors, therapists, teachers and parents of special needs individuals and said we’re thinking about doing this, if we built one, what would you put in one?”

Morgan’s Wonderland, named after Hartman’s daughter who has cognitive disabilities, was a $35 million investment that’s supported through private donations. Everyone is welcome, but the focus is on those who can’t easily enjoy a traditional theme park.

“They’re able to do the same thing that the other regular kids are able to do, it’s wonderful,” said schoolteacher Judy Byrnes.

People with special needs get into the park for free. Family and friends pay $10. All of the money is used to keep the park open. Reservations are suggested to avoid overcrowding.

“Until you experience Morgan’s Wonderland, it’s hard to actually explain it, ”Hartman said. “There is so much that goes on here that is so positive and so
different.”

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