A Texas father has spent every waking moment creating an amusement park for his daughter with special needs after he realized the other parks just didn’t suit her.
According to Inside Edition, Gordon Hartman began building the $15 million theme park, which he has since called "Morgan’s Wonderland," all the way back in 2007.
Harman named the park after his daughter Morgan, who has autism as well as severe physical and cognitive delays.
“It feels fantastic because we get to see people who are not given the opportunity to [experience] the type of rides we have, get on a carousel, get on a train easily, fishing... All these things they’re not allowed to do because of their cognitive or physical situation,” Hartman told InsideEdition.com.
Hartman revealed that the park, which officially opened in 2010, has 26 different activities for children like Morgan.
According to reports, Hartman came up with the idea to build a different kind of theme park when he was in a swimming pool with Morgan in 2006.
At the time, Morgan, who was 12, tried to play with some other children in the pool, but they avoided her in return.
“[Morgan] looked around and gave me that look of, 'I don’t understand,'" Hartman said. "I jumped back in and we played for a while. All Morgan wanted to do was ask for interaction with the kids.”
Hartman started thinking of other places he could take Morgan to meet other kids, but he knew most other parks would not suit her needs.
“What we found was there was no place we could find that’s an ultra-accessible fully-inclusive park,” Hartman said.
That’s when Hartman decided to build the world’s first “ultra-accessible theme park.”
“The beauty of Morgan’s Wonderland is we slowly adapted her into the rides because it’s that kind of place,” Hartman said.
The park has reportedly received visitors from all over the world, and many of them do not have special needs.
Just seven weeks ago, the park added a water park, which set Hartman’s non-profit foundation back another $17 million.
“When we opened this, we didn’t know if it was going to work," Hartman said. "We knew we were gambling with a $35 million investment. All we wanted to do was bring people who have special needs and people who don’t have special needs together and play.”
According to Inside Edition, while the park is not solely meant for individuals with special needs, it is free for people with special needs.
“To see the smiles and see the stories and listen to the stories of first time ever, that’s incredible. I can’t even give you words that describe what that feels like,” Hartman said. “Not only is it great for the special needs individual and their families… but also, the beauty of this is that it allows children who do not have special needs to engage with individuals with special needs.”