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Morgan's Wonderland: A Park for People with Disabilities

  • Published: 2009-09-02 (Revised/Updated 2015-12-06) : Disabled World (Disabled World).
  • Synopsis: Imagine a park designed specifically for children with disabilities and you will have found Morgans Wonderland.

Main Document

Quote: "There are no barriers to Morgan's expressions and her genuine desire to be your true friend."

There are an estimated forty-one million and more Americans who experience some form of disabilities, and Morgan's Wonderland is on a mission to provide a park that will nurture the minds and bodies of individuals with special needs and their families.

The concept of play is, at times, being marginalized in today's high-paced and high-pressure environment, even by school districts. Current policies many times shorten recess periods, or enforce quiet or even silent lunchrooms. Attempts to control a child's natural need for both expressive communication and physical movement inhibit their biological impulse and intelligence while interfering with social patterns and life skill abilities through interaction and play. Acquired skills, learned through physical and creative play, are exactly the abilities which build people who possess greater emotional maturity throughout their lives. People who have the opportunity to play as children and interact with others become more responsible community citizens.

Children with disabilities many times feel a sense of either stigma or shame. Witnessing other children play together is not equivalent to participation with other children. Active participation is far different from passive observation, with a different set of acquired skills. Children who are left to observe instead of participate may feel lonely, different, unlovable, or even incompetent. They may feel discouraged, as if the very heart has been taken out of them. Children who participate with others can feel as if they fit in, are included, encouraged, are competent, and are lovable. There are a number of life skills that are learned through play:

Playing by the rules of games is equivalent to playing by the rules of life as an adult. Learning how to share, respect others, do your best in the position you are in, take responsibility for your actions, show up and work hard; all of these are qualities that strengthen people, providing a strong foundation for living. The skills that a child learns through play require work, even as they are having fun. Many people work at achieving these skills for a lifetime, yet never fully master the concepts behind them. Children who have access to these essential qualities early in their lives have the opportunity to a jump-start on life as a whole through something that is much more than just an afternoon in the park. Morgan's Wonderland enables and ennobles children through play.

Facts about the Morgan's Wonderland Park

Morgan's Wonderland is twenty-five acres of Ultra-Accessible family fun, with an eight acre lake that is stocked with a variety of fish. Both the entry and exit are controlled. The site features RFID locator wristbands and touch screen display monitors so parents and caregivers can keep track of family members and friends. There is fencing around the lake edge as well as security fencing around the perimeter of the park for added safety.

The activities and amenities include three Playscapes, Train Rides with wheelchair accessible cars, ADA accessible restrooms, an Ultra Accessible Carousel, Catch and Release Fishing, Water Canons and Remote-Controlled Boats, a Gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and tennis, and much more. There is a Special Event Center for up to six-hundred and fifty guests, you can walk and roll around the lake, there is an, 'Around the World, themed picnic and rest area, a Water Play area, and a Race Track. Morgan's Wonderland has a Music Garden, Swings of several types, to include wheelchair swings, a Sand Circle, Sensory Village, a Garden Sanctuary and Memorial Wall. There are several rest stops, picnic areas and pavilions. Morgan's Wonderland has two first aid stations and a feeding room as well. The site has Braille signage, and Service Animal rest area. There is a Gift Shop and Counseling Center, as well as a VIA Transit Center.

Special needs guests are admitted free of charge. Guests can pre-register either online or via telephone. Morgan's Wonderland welcomes friends with a broad range of both cognitive and physical disabilities, offering them a number of unique features. The park is designed with safety in mind. There are eighteen ADA compliant restrooms throughout the park, all of which are air conditioned/heated and designed for comfort and convenience. Concession facilities and vending machines are located throughout the park for both drinks and snacks; visitors are allowed to bring in food and coolers into the park. Morgan's Wonderland loves having people plan their birthday parties or other special events there.

Who is, 'Morgan,' of Morgan's Wonderland

Morgan always brings smiles, hugs and unconditional love to everyone she encounters.

People who interact with Morgan know what they see and hear is truly from her heart.

There are no barriers to Morgan's expressions and her genuine desire to be your true friend.

Morgan is a teenager who enjoys music, videos, as well as her cat and dog. She has some physical challenges in life, but has overcome them beyond expectations due to a positive attitude and perseverance. While she was recuperating on a ventilator in intensive care after a complicated surgery, Morgan made sure that everyone around her was comforted, whether it was through her unforgettable smile or an occasional thumbs up to let everyone know that she was alright.

Morgan has a boundless love and ability to soar above her challenges; she is the inspiration for Morgan's Wonderland. Her desire to make everyone happy has been magnified and expanded by the worldwide appeal of this park. The happiness within Morgan is being spread to all those who have special needs, their family members, friends, caregivers, and those who volunteer their time to help make sure that Morgan's Wonderland succeeds. It is Morgan's hope that everyone with special needs of any age will enjoy (www.morganswonderland.com).

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