SAN ANTONIO – Thanks to a recent visit from Rex Meader of Vergennes, Vt., Morgan’s Wonderland has now welcomed guests from all 50 states in less than two years of operation.
The world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park designed with special-needs individuals of all ages in mind opened in March 2010 and attracted guests from 47 states and the District of Columbia by the end of its first season that ended in December 2010.
“When we opened for our 2011 season back in March, we were missing only Vermont, Maine and Wyoming,” said General Manager Dave Force. “We picked up Maine and Wyoming in April, and then we endured almost a four-month ‘drought’ before finally adding Vermont and thus reaching all 50 states.”
Non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland’s marketing, promotions and public relations budget is minimal, he noted, so the park has relied on its Website, word-of-mouth, social media and generous news media coverage to bring in approximately 190,000 guests thus far.
“We’ve also seen a spike in the number of guests from other countries,” Force added. “Not long ago we said hello to a guest from Nigeria, so that brings our international total to 34 countries.”
Meader, 47, a lifelong Vermonter, lives in Vergennes, 22 miles south of the state’s largest city, Burlington, near Lake Champlain. A quality inspector at Goodrich Aerospace in Vergennes, he was in San Antonio during the National Down Syndrome Conference when he heard about Morgan’s Wonderland.
“I thought Morgan’s Wonderland was awesome,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how big it was and how much there was to do. The staff does an excellent job of giving special-needs individuals a very special place to have fun.”
Meader also noted the park “is so clean” and that the entire Morgan’s Wonderland team – staff and volunteers – provide “a warm reception that is very nice.”
Morgan’s Wonderland opened March 3, 2010, and celebrated its grand opening April 10, 2010. Completely wheelchair-accessible, it features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre fishing lake, 18,000-square-foot special-event center, 575-seat amphitheater, picnic area and rest areas throughout the park.
In 2007, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation – the brainchild of Gordon Hartman and wife Maggie – was instrumental in the creation of SOAR (Sports Outdoor And Recreation), a non-profit organization to raise funds for building Morgan’s Wonderland. Construction on the $34 million park began in spring 2009.
Morgan’s Wonderland is part of a larger 106-acre sports venue to encourage inclusive recreation whereby individuals of all abilities can play side-by-side. The nearby STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex offers 13 lighted soccer fields for tournaments, instructional clinics and special events. Profits from STAR Soccer go to support the operation and maintenance of Morgan’s Wonderland.
Likewise, profits from the Scorpions FC, San Antonio’s new North American Soccer League franchise, will be earmarked to expand programs and services at Morgan’s Wonderland when the pro team begins play next spring.
In addition, Monarch Academy, a school for special-needs students next to Morgan’s Wonderland, began classes in August.
Morgan’s Wonderland is located in Northeast San Antonio at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive. For more information, visit www.MorgansWonderland.com, or call either (210) 495-5888 or toll-free (877) 495-5888.