Weekend before last, Phil and I spent the day at Morgan's Wonderland with my daughter, her husband, and their twin boys. Of course we all went for the boys, because this is a kids' place. To be perfectly frank, neither I nor Phil had as much enthusiasm going in as we should have, because we really don't enjoy busy parks or paying a great deal of money for someone to entertain us. Just not how we roll.
But this was for the kids, it was up north here in San Antonio near my daughter's place, and it was "our turn" to go up there since they'd been down here. So we went.
And we were amazed, had a wonderful time, and came away with a profound respect for this place, its volunteers, and the concept in general. I hope there are many more places like this, or if not, that the idea catches on.
I won't go into the history, or its details--there's a link to it there at the top for you to explore if you want. I'll just post some pictures and try to describe what we found as we went through. The basic premise is this: a park made FOR special needs kids, rather than a park made for regular kids w/ a ramp or wheelchair access thrown in as a second thought. I don't know the politically correct term for "regular kids", so I'm trusting you to know what I mean.
The park is not full of huge carnival rides, nor is it for older kids really. It's more of a cross between a nature center, a kiddie park, and a playground. This place feeds the senses, nurtures curiosity, and inspires imagination. What better place for kids?
Okay, enough explanation. Time for pictures...I'll try to keep it to a minimum, but it'll be hard.
|Pictures while you wait in line to pay? Perfect.|
|Electronic kid finder gadgets...kid bracelets correspond to the adult bracelet in the info system.|
|This was The Waterworks. We spend a lot of time here, and came back to play and cool off frequently.|
|They learn all kinds of water physics here...how to channel water, connect pipes, etc. The kids couldn't get enough of this water play, (neither could the grownups.)|
|Throughout the park are giant pavilions, w/ rubber flooring, exercise/climbing/and experiential or interactive stations everywhere.|
|Granny Jan, Things One and Two, and the world's largest plastic caterpillar.|
|Renee (mom), Pa Phil, and Jeremy (dad) on the rocking boat. There's a kid down there too, crawling around on the floor boards and laughing his head off. You have to use your legs to get it rocking, good exercise!|
|All over the railings were boards like this, teaching about the life cycles of living things.|
|A relief map of the park. See how the pavilion covers make a butterfly?|
|There was a little store w/ plastic items, little baskets, and play checkout registers. The boys went Shopping.|
|There was a Green Screen, so they got to play Weather Forecaster, and see themselves superimposed on the map. Vincent wore a green shirt, so it looked like his head was floating!|
|Everywhere there were tools and instruments to satisfy the physical senses. "Pa" Phil is playing with one of the many musical toys around the sand box pavilion.|
|In the sand box there are little seats w/ toy earth moving equipment. Kids had a blast here too.|
|Wind-operated art was everywhere...looked like perpetual motion machines.|
|The expression on a child's face when he gets to experience a swing, safe in his wheelchair...something I won't forget.|
Sorry for all the pictures...as you can imagine, "Granny Jan" took a whole lot more, so this was only a smidgin. But I had to tell the story of this great place. Hope your week is fabulous.