Gordon Hartman’s Daughter Morgan Inspired Him to Build an Accessible World for Her and Others With Special Needs – Opinion


One week has passed since the historic decision was reversed Roethe Supreme Court. There have been more than 63 million aborted babies since. Roe‘s passage in 1973, we have no idea how many of these babies would have been special needs.


Any parent who chose the life of their special needs child over a “perfect” child will tell you that what makes these children so special is that they transform and complete their families, as well as the world around them.


Morgan Hartman is an example of this. Her father Gordon was able to help her create a recreational world where she felt welcome and safe.


They are the subject of this week’s Feel-Good Friday story.



You can call her a catalyst or a spark. Morgan Hartman doesn’t realize it, but her ability to smile through physical and cognitive special needs spurred her parents – Gordon and Maggie Hartman – to do things never before accomplished for individuals with special needs and their families. Morgan was the inspiration for the creation of an exclusive theme park as well as other projects that benefit the inclusive community.


The tipping point occurred in 2006 when Gordon observed Morgan wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids were leery of Morgan and didn’t want to interact with her. Gordon and Maggie decided that they wanted to provide opportunities for those with disabilities and other people who are able to enjoy each others’ company and help one another. That led to the construction of Morgan’s Wonderland in an abandoned quarry in Northeast San Antonio. It’s apropos that the butterfly is the symbol of this unique theme park; soaring to one success after another is now commonplace.



Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special needs children in mind, opened in 2010. The park is completely wheelchair accessible and incorporates rides, playgrounds, and a host of eye-catching attractions—more than 25—to bring delight and enjoyment, and create an atmosphere where these children can bond with their families and make new friends.


Admission is free for those with special needs; there are no fees.


In 2017, Hartman, through his Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, opened up a new park: Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a water park that is also built with special needs and mobility assistance in mind.




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Hartman still uses his daughter Hartman (now 28 years old) as an inspiration and to further his vision to make the world a more welcoming place for individuals with special needs. The 2019 edition San Antonio Magazine interview, Hartman outlined his plans to open Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, an ultra-accessible camp that will have a challenge course, cabins, and more designed to accommodate those with disabilities, and even those without. Morgan’s Wonderland Sports, a sports facility for adults and kids with special needs, was also in the works. Hartman also wanted to expand his assistance for special needs beyond the recreational realm into practical. Hartman intends to establish a Multi-Assistance Center or MAC, a facility where parents with special needs can seek help to expedite the application process for benefits such as medical and social insurance.


Even further, the Foundation supports programs and projects as well as collaboration with other non-profits in San Antonio that serve the special needs community. Through monetary grants and sponsorships, as well as events and resources, more than 600 non profit agencies have received assistance from the Foundation.


Hartman has this to offer for those parents who believe aborting special-needs babies is necessary to save them and their families from pain, suffering, and hardship:



Here’s what I can tell you: Many times people speak about special needs as being a negative and I’ve seen it as nothing but a positive. Because of Morgan’s special needs, my daughter and I have become closer than ever before. Morgan was a wonderful teacher who taught me and my family in a positive manner about life.



Morgan is the reason Gordon Hartman created a world she loved, and other children with special needs and their families feel welcome and accepted.