Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment, will kick off its 10th season at 10 a.m. Friday, March 1.
Opening-weekend hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 1; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 2; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 3.
“The 2019 season promises to be another very busy one for Morgan’s Wonderland,” said Chief Operating Officer Ron Morander. “Among the many highlights will be Texas Special Olympics’ Summer Games and the reopening of Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park May 11.”
On opening day, March 1, Morgan’s Wonderland will host its monthly Senior Friday and offer discounted admission of $8 for guests 62 and older. Senior Friday will include a gathering of the First Friday networking group that enjoys camaraderie, coffee and conversation.
On opening weekend, March 2 and 3, STRAPS (South Texas Regional Adaptive and Para Sports) will host the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Southwest Junior Wheelchair Basketball Conference Championships at the Morgan’s Wonderland Event Center and at the Thousand Oaks Family YMCA, 16101 Henderson Pass. Games will be played at both venues from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and at Morgan’s Wonderland from 8:30 a.m. Sunday until the tournament wraps up in the early afternoon.
The tournament is expected to attract teams of athletes with special needs from Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma in two divisions – prep (age 5 to 13) and varsity (ages 13 to 21). The prep championship game is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, while the varsity championship will be played at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Following closely on the heels of opening weekend, Morgan’s Wonderland will be open daily March 11-16 for spring break and feature an array of special entertainment under the theme of “Music, Mutts, Magic and More.” For the latest on park days and hours of operation, admission information and special events, visit www.MorgansWonderland.com.
“Our guests will notice several improvements when they visit Morgan’s Wonderland this season,” Morander said. “We’ve expanded our Welcome Center to make it quicker and easier to enter the park, and we’ve transformed the Main Street Pavilion on the shoreline of our lake into a special-events venue that can accommodate up to 80 individuals.”
In addition, Microsoft has updated Sensory Village, which offers a variety of interactive play elements designed to stimulate the senses, with the latest in Microsoft Xbox One X technology. The new Microsoft Experience at Sensory Village includes a unified hub for devices that help make gaming more accessible for gamers with limited mobility, plus Xbox Game Pass providing access to more than 100 games.
“So many wonderful things have happened at Morgan’s Wonderland since grand opening in spring 2010,” Morander said. “Since then, we’ve welcome more than 1.6 million guests from all 50 states and 73 other countries. And we’ve continued to admit anyone and everyone with a special need free of charge.”
Non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland offers more than 25 attractions including wheelchair-accessible rides, playgrounds and gardens for the enjoyment of guests young and older. This past year, the park earned the Barrier Free America Award from the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization headquartered in Washington, D. C.
The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island came from philanthropists Gordon and Maggie Hartman’s 25-year-old daughter Morgan. Her soaring spirit despite physical and cognitive challenges sparked within them a deep desire to help children and adults with special needs.
“Inclusion is the overarching objective for Morgan’s Wonderland,” Gordon Hartman explained. “The same is true for Morgan’s Inspiration Island. 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 one another.”