December 14, 2017
SAN ANTONIO – The world’s first, fully-accessible splash park – Morgan’s Inspiration Island – has been selected for inclusion in “Access+Ability,” a new exhibition opening Friday at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.
Focusing on more than 70 innovations benefitting special-needs individuals, Access+Ability “illuminates some of the extraordinary designs developed for and with people with disabilities – physical and cognitive, as well as the effects of aging – in addition to research that is expanding their capabilities,” Cooper Hewitt officials said. “Starting with an inclusive approach results in products and environments that not only are more accessible, useful, attractive, and even fashionable, but also are enabling people to realize greater potential and engage more fully and independently in life.”
The exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, 2 East 91st Street and Fifth Avenue, will continue through Sept. 3, 2018. It includes a photo by San Antonio photographer Robin Jerstad of guests enjoying Morgan’s Inspiration Island, which features ultra-accessible water play elements and the availability of revolutionary waterproof wheelchairs. One of the wheelchair designs, the PneuChair™ powered by compressed air instead of batteries, was created in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.
“We consider it a great honor to be included in Access+Ability,” said Gordon Hartman, head of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, who also spearheaded creation of unique Morgan’s Wonderland theme park. “We refer to Morgan’s Inspiration Island as ultra-accessible, meaning that individuals with special needs can do as much and have just as much fun as those without physical or cognitive limitations.”
Morgan’s Inspiration Island officially opened June 17, 2017, and immediately attracted international attention because of its emphasis on inclusion. Now closed for the fall and winter months, the park will begin its 2018 season with Splash Day on Saturday, May 5.
Inclusion in the Cooper Hewitt exhibition comes on the heels of Morgan’s Inspiration Island earning a Leading Edge Award from the World Waterpark Association. In addition, the splash park has been nominated in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award competition as a contender for Best New Attraction. Winners will be determined in online voting ending at 11:59 a.m. EST Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-new-attraction/.
“Our goal for both Morgan’s Inspiration Island and Morgan’s Wonderland is to bring together those with and without special needs in the spirit of inclusion for fun and a greater understanding of one another,” Hartman explained. “We strive to provide a great guest experience in a safe, clean, not-overly-crowded environment free of physical and economic barriers. This includes admitting anyone with a special need free of charge.”
Located next to Morgan’s Wonderland in what once was a rock quarry, Morgan’s Inspiration Island features five major tropically-themed splash pads, the River Boat Adventure ride and support facilities such as the Wheelchair Valet, where guests can transfer out of their battery-powered wheelchairs into waterproof wheelchairs for maximum aquatic fun.
Morgan’s Wonderland, now in its eighth season, has attracted more than a million guests from all 50 states and 69 other countries. The unique and colorful theme park features more than 25 attractions including wheelchair-accessible rides, playscapes, gardens, an 8-acre catch-and-release fishing lake, 575-seat amphitheater, picnic area and rest areas.
Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island are located in Northeast San Antonio at 5223 David Edwards Drive, a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive. More information including operating schedules, admissions and special events can be found at www.MorgansWonderland.com.
Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Housed in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion in New York City, Cooper Hewitt showcases one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. For further information, visit www.cooperhewitt.org.