Morgan’s Inspiration Island

Monday mornings can be difficult. To combat that first-day-of-the-week blues, we’ll give you something to anticipate with highlights of what’s upcoming and new in the world of Texas travel.

Do you have news about your community or attraction that you’d like us to share with our readers? Send us the details. Please put Monday Mailbox in the subject.

Jellystone Parks improvements

Jellystone Parks across Texas have undergone major improvements.

In Burleson, the park is adding 100 campsites and plans to add two new waterslides. The Wichita Falls park has added a 10-car barrel train and a new laser tag field.

Tyler’s park has new basketball, volleyball, and pickleball courts. 

In Kerrville, the Jellystone Park has added a 19,000-square-foot waterpark, which opened May 20. 

And the Texas Wine Country Jellystone Park in Fredericksburg is ready for the summer camping season with 26 new RV sites, five new rental cabins, and a snack shack. A splash pad will also be installed in time for this upcoming Father’s Day weekend.

Waterpark for special-needs individuals opens

In 2005, Gordon Hartman sold his homebuilding and development businesses to establish the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and devote the rest of his life to helping those with special needs such as his 21-year-old daughter, Morgan. Since then, he has achieved numerous milestones including opening Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park designed for individuals with special needs but built to be enjoyed by everyone. In 2010, Gordon opened the STAR Soccer Complex and launched Soccer for a Cause, a grassroots effort to establish pro soccer that led to the creation of the San Antonio Scorpions and in August 2011, Gordon opened Monarch Academy, a school for students ages 12-24 with special needs.

Since 2010, San Antonio has been home of Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park designed for individuals with special needs. This weekend, the park welcomes a new addition – Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park.

The new, multimillion-dollar attraction, like Morgan’s Wonderland, is a world’s first, and it’s designed to be inclusive for individuals of all ages with special needs, as well as for the general public.

The tropically themed Morgan’s Inspiration Island includes six attractions – River Boat Adventure, Hang 10 Harbor, Rainbow Reef, Shipwreck Island, Castaway Bay, and Calypso Cove. The park will also feature support facilities where guests in wheelchairs can be transferred into special waterproof wheelchairs.

Founder Gordon V. Hartman says, “The theme guiding us has been and will continue to be inclusion. Our primary goal is to bring together those with and without special needs in a safe, colorful, barrier-free environment for fun and hopefully a better understand of one another.”

Hartman adds that the Morgan’s Wonderland welcomed more than a million guests from all 50 states and 67 other countries since it opened. TripAdvisor has Morgan’s Wonderland ranked among the national top 25 theme parks, the only nonprofit in the group.

More museum time

The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon kicks off its summer hours, which means it is now open seven days a week, including Sundays and Mondays.

“We have wonderful exhibitions on WWI, remodeled galleries showing our extensive permanent art collections and our new Panhandle Petroleum Story,” Director Carol Lovelady says. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to see the museum, so we decided to be open on Sundays. It is a wonderful way to spend a hot summer afternoon.”

A bonus perk to being open on Sundays is giving PPHM members and guests a chance to add the museum onto their itinerary before heading to see the TEXAS musical drama or other activity in the area.

The museum is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1–6 p.m. on Sundays from June through August. Beginning in September, the hours revert to 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Visit the museum’s website for more information.

PPHM new app

While visiting the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, make use of its new smartphone app that allows visitors to experience the museum at their own pace on curator-led guided tours from Western Heritage to Native American Art and Artifacts, Art and Artists, the Petroleum History, and Paleontology, Geology, Natural History.

“We wanted to create an app that allowed visitors a more in depth experience at PPHM,” Marketing Director Stephanie Price says. “Using the app will provide visitors meaningful experience within PPHM by learning from the experts on these tours.”

The app includes virtual tours, a must-see list of artifacts, maps and accessibility routes. It also includes information on popular attractions around town, exclusive offers at the museum store, activities for kids, as well as donation and membership opportunities.

The app can be downloaded on any mobile device.

Don’t have a mobile device? In partnership with the West Texas A&M University IT Department, PPHM also is able to let visitors check out iPads.

From the June 2017 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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