January 5, 2018
SAN ANTONIO – The world’s first, fully-accessible splash park – Morgan’s Inspiration Island – has earned the runner-up spot in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award competition for Best New Attraction.
Final results of online voting have been posted at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-new-attraction. Non-profit Morgan’s Inspiration Island finished second to the Wonders of Wildlife museum and aquarium in Springfield, Mo., which has an affiliation with Bass Pro Shops.
“We’re very proud of this recognition because we faced some very stiff competition,” said Gordon Hartman, head of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, who also spearheaded creation of unique Morgan’s Wonderland theme park, “and we’re also very grateful to everyone who took the time to vote for Morgan’s Inspiration Island.”
Recognition by USA Today comes on the heels of Morgan’s Inspiration Island being honored with the Leading Edge Award from the World Waterpark Association (WWA) at the organization’s 37th annual symposium in West Palm Beach, Fla.
WWA lauded Morgan’s Inspiration Island not only for the park’s design that fully accommodates those with special needs but also for its revolutionary waterproof wheelchairs developed in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.
In addition, Morgan’s Inspiration Island is included in a recently-opened exhibition – “Access+Ability” – at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. The exhibition that will continue through Sept. 3 focuses on more than 70 innovations benefitting special-needs individuals.
“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 said. “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. The park officially opened June 17, 2017, and immediately attracted international media attention. Currently closed for the fall and winter months, Morgan’s Inspiration Island will reopen May 5, 2018, when warm weather returns.
Morgan’s Wonderland, which will begin its ninth season March 2, 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.
Last fall, Morgan’s Wonderland was proclaimed “Park of the Year” in the prestigious 2017 Golden Ticket Awards sponsored by Amusement Today, an internationally-known publication that has covered the amusement industry for the past two decades.
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.
USA Today is a multi-platform news and information media company founded in 1982 and owned by Gannett Co., Inc. USA Today, the nation’s highest print-circulation newspaper, and the USAToday.com website, launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily.