Morgan’s Wonderland, San Antonio, Texas, will remain closed for the rest of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Arriving at this conclusion has been truly heart-wrenching,” said Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation that spearheaded creation of the unique, ultra-accessible theme park. “For example, many of our guests who come from all over the world are medically-fragile and can’t risk potential exposure to the coronavirus. Bottom line: the safety and well-being of our guests and employees are of paramount importance.”
Hartman added that the decision to remain closed until further notice also affects Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park. The Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex that’s nearing completion is being considered for limited use, with details to be announced soon. Meanwhile, construction of Morgan’s Wonderland Camp is progressing toward a 2021 opening as planned. Hartman noted that the Morgan’s Wonderland team is working on creative ideas so the community can remain engaged with the park’s mission of inclusion.
Morgan’s Wonderland and its sister recreational facilities are designed to be fully-inclusive, bringing together those with and without special needs so they can interact in a fun atmosphere and gain a better understanding of one another, Hartman said. “COVID-19 says ‘stay apart,’ while Morgan’s Wonderland says ‘come together.,’” he added. “We’re different because of our emphasis on inclusion, so we’re erring on the side of caution in deciding to close for the 2020 season.”
Hartman said closure of the non-profit parks will have a dramatic economic impact – a loss estimated at more than $1.3 million. Morgan’s Wonderland has been closed since March 14 in response to Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s declaration of a public health emergency. Under normal circumstances, the park would be hosting special events in celebration of the park’s 10th birthday, however the COVID-19 health emergency has forced those festivities to be put on hold. Thus far, the park has welcomed approximately 1.9 million guests from all 50 states and 76 other countries.
Hartman and wife Maggie always cite daughter Morgan as the catalyst for creating Morgan’s Wonderland. “Her soaring spirit despite physical and cognitive challenges since birth created within us a deep desire to help children and adults with special needs,” Hartman said. “Our vision is to play an instrumental role in helping establish more ultra-accessible places where those with and without disabilities can come together for fun and a better understanding of each other.”
Morgan’s Wonderland offers more than 25 attractions including wheelchair-accessible rides, playgrounds and gardens for the enjoyment of guests young and older.