Children play in a water fountain at Morgan's Inspiration Island in San Antonio
Jerstad Photographics

Morgan's Inspiration Island

San Antonio, Texas

While on a family vacation in 2006, Gordon Hartman took his daughter Morgan to a hotel swimming pool. Morgan, who was born with physical and cognitive disabilities, wanted to play with some kids nearby, but when she inched over to them, they scrambled out of the pool. “Her look of disappointment stuck with me,” says Hartman. “My wife and I asked each other: Where can Morgan go and really play?” Hartman, a successful home builder who retired at age 41, decided to answer the question himself by building a theme park, Morgan’s Wonderland, which opened in 2010, and a companion water park, which opened in the spring of 2017. The words ultra-accessible guided the park’s design, from wheelchairs that are waterproof and powered by compressed air to water areas that are set to different temperatures, for those who can’t handle the cold. “Everybody can join together in play,” Hartman says, noting that many park­goers don’t have special needs at all. —Kate Rockwood

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