Sunday 18 March 2018

This dad built a £26m theme park inspired by his daughter with special needs

Morgan’s Wonderland was inspired by Gordon Hartman’s daughter.

The Texas theme park is the first of its kind (Morgan’s Wonderland/PA)
The Texas theme park is the first of its kind (Morgan’s Wonderland/PA)

By Taylor Heyman

A Texas man has constructed an entire theme park, after realising there wasn’t a suitable one in existence for his disabled daughter.

Gordon Hartman sold his property business in 2005 and set up The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, which aims to support people with disabilities.

The idea for Morgan’s Wonderland was born when Hartman asked friends for recommendations for accessible theme parks he could take his disabled daughter Morgan to – and the responses were not what he’d hoped.

Morgan has a form of autism and the cognitive understanding of a five-year-old.

(Morgan’s Wonderland/PA)

The park, located in an old quarry area, eventually opened in 2010 and encompasses 25 accessible rides and attractions, a catch-and-return fishing lake and much more. The whole park is wheelchair accessible.

“Morgan’s Wonderland is a special place where anyone can have fun,” Hartman said.  “But it was created with special-needs individuals in mind.

“Morgan’s Wonderland is just like any other theme park except for the added benefit of a culture and environment that assures 100% enjoyment by everyone who enters through our Welcome Centre.”

(Morgan’s Wonderland/PA)

Admission is free for those with special needs and the admission fees for accompanying carers, friends, family and other members of the public are small – just $11.00 for children and $17.00 for adults.

The park has seen over a million guests from 65 countries since it opened in 2010.

Although the park does not turn a profit each year, donations and fundraising efforts help to keep it running. Not only this, but it recently expanded and built Morgan’s Inspiration Island, an accessible water park.


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