Morgan’s named to TIME’s World’s Greatest Places List

WhiteWater would like to congratulate Morgan’s Inspiration Island, the world’s first ultra-accessible splash park, on being listed in TIME’s first annual World’s Greatest Places List! Designed for all cognitive, physical, and sensory abilities, Morgan’s mandate is to ensure that 100% of its guests can experience the joy of play, and which is why we couldn’t think of a park more deserving of this remarkable recognition.

Founded by Gordon Hartman, the park was inspired by Hartman’s daughter Morgan, who lives with physical and cognitive challenges. Inspired by an incident at a swimming pool where other children were leery of playing with Morgan, Hartman decided to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities could come together to play and better understand one another.

This led to the opening of Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas in 2010, a theme park designed for everyone to enjoy in a barrier-free environment, offering more than 25 wheelchair accessible rides. Later, in 2017, right next door, he opened the gates to Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a splash park featuring five custom-themed fully-inclusive splash pads and a water transportation system, all provided by WhiteWater.

A splash pad might seem like it’s inaccessible for someone in a wheelchair, but Morgan’s has sourced three types of waterproof wheelchairs for guests to choose from upon arrival, free of charge. Each chair is designed to meet specific guests needs, so no one is excluded from the fun.

Designed to be fully accessible, each of the five splash pads and the water transportation system have different tropical themes:

Rainbow Reef is a warmed-water splash pad, designed for guests of all ages that may not be able to tolerate regular water temperatures. Custom water features include a giant spouting octopus, a starfish, a sea turtle, and a colorful lineup of six large squirting sea horses.

Calypso Cove is a music garden splash pad with a large tree with rain-curtain effects cascading from its branches. Beneath the alternating branches are two chime-like musical instruments. Mushrooms mimic drums and a large xylophone has been themed to look like a moss-covered log.

Hang Ten Harbor, a surf-themed splash pad, features a continuous, 20-foot-in-diameter rain tree with a surfer and his dog catching a wave on top. It’s surrounded by custom features including squirting surfboards and palm trees, interactive spinning umbrellas, and thatched hut-themed rain trees.

 Shipwreck Island centers around an accessible pirate ship with water cannons, a double slide, and a giant dumping bucket on top. A shipwreck and four large pirate cannons allow for endless water battles, in addition to the two small islands abounding with squirting treasure chests and palm trees.

Castaway Bay is anchored by a jungle-themed treehouse surrounded by monkeys and tropical birds. Revelers will get soaked by a dumping bucket, several interactive water features, and mini water cannons that line the edge of the accessible ramp. This attraction also includes a smaller “Kids Only” water fort, a cluster of bubbling geysers, squirting palm trees, and a slithering snake in a tree.

The River Boat Adventure goes through twists and turns for an eighth of a mile through a jungle setting. The loading and unloading station has been designed to eliminate the need for an ADA ramp, allowing guests to enter and exit the ride vehicles quickly and safely. With companion seating special needs guests and caregivers can experience the ride together.

A ground-breaking location, we hope that Morgan’s has started a trend in the water and amusement park industries and are looking forward to seeing more accessible places for play in the future.

Dawn Kirby