Father builds $35m theme park for daughter with special needs, it’s free for people with disabilities

No parent likes to see their child suffer. Some parents worry about whether their child will do well in school or whether they will get a job that makes them happy. Gordon Hartman’s concern was whether or not his daughter would make friends. Gordan wanted his daughter, who is autistic, to feel safe and comfortable enough to be able to socialize and make friends, so she built a theme park designed with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. It is the first of its kind.

morgan theme park
Gordan Hartman is a loving father who dotes on his daughter Morgan, who is autistic. One year, the Hartman family went on vacation. Morgan desperately wanted to make friends with the other children playing by the pool. But, they were afraid to participate. It was a sight that Gordon struggled to watch. He knew the other kids just didn’t get Morgan because she’s a little bit different. This was the time that he came up with a plan to create a theme park in Morgan’s honor. He called it, Morgan’s Wonderland.

Hartman wanted the theme park to be a place where all kinds of human beings could have fun. This includes those with any type of disability, as well as those without. “It’s a park for 100 percent of people, not 90 or 80 percent of them, it’s for everyone, no matter how acute their special need is,” Hartman said in an interview with People. “That was my dream.”

The theme park was to be an inclusive playground. The intention was that children with disabilities would be able to play safely with everyone else as equals. This would allow them to make friends much more easily. “It’s about not letting anyone feel different. That’s what we’re trying to do with this park,” Hartman said.
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In 2005, Gordan decided to sell his home construction business that he started at a young age. He was quite successful, but seeing Morgan struggling to make friends changed his goals. Once he sold the company, he started The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. Then, after a few years of fundraising, the $35 million theme park was under construction. It opened its doors in 2010.

The result was exactly what Gordon had hoped for. All children, disabled or not, were able to spend a day full of fun and laughter. Without worrying about your disability. A couple thanked Gordon because his daughter was able to join in the fun. Instead of sitting back and watching the fun. “A lot of people told us that this would be an opportunity for our daughter to finally have a place where she doesn’t have to sit on the sidelines, she could actually do everything,” they said.