Guest post by Candy Harrington
Even though wheelchair ramps and curb-cuts are standard in most theme parks today; long lines and crowds can present substantial obstacles for autistic kids.
Gladly that’s not the case at Morgan’s Wonderland, a San Antonio theme park that’s accessible to all children, no matter what their disability.
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The Little Things
Billed as the “world’s first ultra accessible family fun park”, Morgan’s Wonderland is filled with the little extras you won’t find elsewhere. For starters, lines and crowds are not a problem, because attendance is capped at a very comfortable level. Reservations are accepted, but not required; however if you arrive after the daily capacity is reached and you don’t have a reservation, you won’t be admitted. And because of this innovative attendance policy, you just won’t find the long lines that plague other parks.
Then there are the special RFID bracelets that are given to all guests at the admission desk. First and foremost, they prevent children from leaving the park without a parent. Even better, if you happen to lose sight of your child, you can just go to an RFID station, scan your bracelet, and the location of your entire party will be displayed on a park map. It’s quick and easy.
And if you’re concerned about overheating, then just head to the shaded picnic area or the covered wharf. Two first aid stations are also located in the park, and they even have an adult diaper changing table near the front entrance.
Outside food is freely allowed in the park, which is a great option if your child is a fussy eater. Otherwise, pre-packaged convenience food and beverages are available at park concession stands. Truly the folks at Morgan’s Wonderland thought of everything.
[caption id="attachment_11033" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photography by Charles Pannell[/caption]
There’s no shortage of fun and accessible activities at Morgan’s Wonderland. For starters, the 25-acre park is filled with low-key rides such as the Wonderland Express Train, the Carousel and the Jeep Adventure Ride — all of which are 100% accessible, even for power wheelchair-users.
Then there’s the Sensory Village, which offers a cluster of themed spaces to inspire imaginative play. Kids can shop for groceries at the Village Market, design and build a race car or even play weather forecaster for the day.
If your kids have a lot of energy, then the Butterfly Playground is the perfect place for them. Here you’ll find plenty of places to climb and hide and slide down – all of which are wheelchair accessible. This shaded area also has a rubberized surface for comfort and safety. And don’t miss the wheelchair-accessible swing – you can just roll right on and enjoy it.
The Water Works play area is particularly inviting on hot days. This interactive play area features squirting pipes, spinning water wheels and special dams that control the water flow. It’s a great place to get wet and have fun.
And if all this proves just a bit too overwhelming for your child, there’s a peaceful garden filled with winding trails and quaint alcoves. It’s a perfect place for a relaxing retreat or a quiet time-out. Truly, there’s something for just about everyone in this inclusive park.
[caption id="attachment_11034" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photography by Charles Pannell[/caption]
And the best news about Morgan’s Wonderland is that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to visit it. Park operations are supported in part by the fundraising efforts of South Texas Regional Soccer, so Morgan’s Wonderland is affordable as well as accessible
Children under 2 and people with disabilities are admitted free. Admission for kids from 3-10, adults over 62 and active or retired military personnel is a very reasonable $10. Everyone else pays $15. Again, reservations are suggested to avoid disappointment. So plan ahead and have a fun and accessible day at this San Antonio theme park.
[caption id="attachment_11035" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photography by Charles Pannell[/caption]
Known as the guru of accessible travel, Candy Harrington is the author of several accessible travel guides including the classic Barrier-Free Travels; A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers (www.barrierfreetravel.net).
Here newest title, 22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers (www.22AccessibleRoadTrips.com) features 22 driving routes across the United States with information about wheelchair-accessible sites, lodging options, trails, attractions and restaurants along the way.
An excellent resource for Baby Boomers, couples, families, or anybody who wants to hit the road. Candy also blogs about accessible travel issues at www.barrierfreetravels.com.
[caption id="attachment_11036" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photography by Charles Pannell[/caption]
 San Antonio