One of our favorite family vacation spots is San Antonio. It’s just far enough to feel like we’re really getting away, but it’s close enough to get there in a day, and it’s a straight shot down 35 (which, I might add, should be avoided at all costs on any day there is any major event in Austin or sporting event between Austin and Oklahoma, during rush hour, or a holiday weekend).
Typically we hit up the River Walk, Sea World, the zoo, and some shopping at the outlet malls on our way there. I’ve found a new destination, though, that will certainly become a regular stop. On the north side of the city, near the intersection of 35 and 410, you’ll find Morgan’s Wonderland.
She Is Dallas info: Morgan’s Wonderland is the World’s First Ultra Accessible Family Fun Park designed specifically for children and adults with special needs, their family members, caregivers, friends and the entire community. This 25-acre park is a unique oasis, that through the spirit of inclusion, allows people of all abilities to play, learn and share life changing experiences together, in a fun and safe environment. Morgan’s Wonderland is located at 5223 David Edwards Drive in San Antonio. From Dallas-Fort Worth, travel south on I-35 to San Antonio. Take the O ™Connor Road exit, turn right to continue to Wurzbach Parkway, take the Thousand Oaks exit, turn right and Morgan's Wonderland will be on your right. For more information, please call or visit the Morgan’s Wonderland website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
To put it in my own words, it is the most magical playground we have ever visited. To put it in my son’s words, “This is the best place ever!” Picture a clean, fun, colorful park, complete with slides and water features and a carousel. Now, multiply that by 10, envision the smile on your face even wider, the warm fuzzies in your heart as you see your child interacting with people, young and old, they may not be able to typically play with in such a fashion at your local playground. It is truly that spectacular.
The day we were there, my son (nearly 3 at the time) got to run around and through a playscape alongside a boy in a wheel chair. There were senior citizens wheeled onto the carousel who shared a ride with him as he rode his horse up and down. Nobody stood out as “different” there to us. Everyone had the same access to all the rides and attractions. It was just a bunch of kids (of all ages) enjoying the day together.
That’s exactly what Gordon Hartman had in mind when he set about creating Morgan’s Wonderland, named after and dedicated to his daughter with special needs. He wanted to create a safe place, an oasis for those with physical challenges and their friends to come together and play. You can read more about how Morgan’s Wonderland came to be here. Inspirational stuff there.
The park’s hours vary based on day of the week and month of the year, so be sure to check ahead before planning your stop there. Individuals with special needs get in for FREE. Anyone accompanying a person with special needs pays $10. Everyone else pays $15 (though ages 0-2 are free). It can definitely add up to be an expensive attraction, but I will gladly spend the money to support such a worthy, amazing cause.
How to get the most out of your money? Plan to be there all day! There really is that much to do. And pack a picnic. The park encourages this! They have wonderful, covered, clean eating pavilions with plenty of tables. They do have a small concession stand that serves up drinks and a few snacks, with all the proceeds benefiting the park, if you forget your cooler.
So if you’re planning a summer road trip down 35, be sure to include Morgan’s Wonderland on your list of places to visit. I promise it lives up to it’s name. It is WONDERful.