Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind, will celebrate its 5th birthday with a festive party at 6 p.m. Friday, April 10, in the park’s Rapier Trust Starlight Amphitheater.
In observance of this milestone, park admission will be $5 per person (children and adults) all day April 10. Individuals with special needs are always admitted free of charge.
Gordon Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and the visionary – along with wife Maggie – who created the totally wheelchair-accessible park, will emcee a lineup of entertainment that will feature country-music singer Holly Tucker of NBC-TV’s “The Voice,” recently crowned Miss San Antonio 2015 Emma Faye Rudkin and comedian Dominic Fournier.
“We held our grand opening April 10, 2010, with NBA legend David Robinson and actress Eva Longoria as special guests,” Hartman said. “Since then, we’ve welcomed more than 500,000 guests from all 50 states and 54 other countries.”
The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland came from the Hartmans’ 21-year-old daughter Morgan. Her soaring spirit despite personal challenges sparked within them a deep desire to create a safe, colorful place for inclusive outdoor recreation not only for those with special needs but also for their families, caregivers, invited friends and the general public.
Morgan Hartman will be on hand to help cut the 5th birthday cake. Morgan’s Wonderland guests attending the party will get to enjoy complimentary cake, and the first 500 admitted to the birthday festivities will each receive a commemorative t-shirt.
Although legally deaf, the new Miss San Antonio plays the piano, guitar and ukulele, and she sings. Rudkin started a non-profit, “Aid the Silent,” to help hearing-challenged individuals, and the Boerne, Texas, native is working toward her master of science degree in deaf education and hearing science at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Tucker, a student at Baylor University where she plays the saxophone in the marching band, has been singing since she was 3 years old. She also plays the guitar and piano and strives “to present songs, not simply sing them.” The Waco songstress’ big break came in July 2012 when she auditioned for “The Voice” and had the opportunity to work closely with country-music superstar Blake Shelton.
Fournier derives his stand-up comedy from multiple experiences – 11 years in the Army, traveling to more than 30 countries and growing up in a large family. He has performed in San Francisco, Sacramento, Reno and Lake Tahoe and other western-state venues. He has made multiple TV appearances and once opened for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA.
Offering more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens for everyone’s enjoyment, Morgan’s Wonderland is the center of a family fun destination now known as Wonderland, Texas. The former Longhorn Quarry is also the location of Toyota Field, home of the North American Soccer League champions, the San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team; the STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex, with 13 first-class fields for tournament and league play; and Monarch Academy, a school for students with special needs next door to Morgan’s Wonderland.
Net profits from the Scorpions, Toyota Field and STAR Soccer help non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland meet its financial obligations as well as expand services and programs for the special-needs community.
“Inclusion is the overarching objective for Morgan’s Wonderland,” Hartman explained. “Our vision is to play an instrumental role in helping establish more ultra-accessible family fun parks throughout the nation and the world.”
Morgan’s Wonderland is located in Northeast San Antonio a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive. VactionalHomeRentals.com, an affiliate of TripAdvisor, recently named Morgan’s Wonderland the “best family attraction” in Texas.
The latest information on Morgan’s Wonderland admissions, operating days/hours of operation and special events/celebrations can be found at www.MorgansWonderland.com.