SAN ANTONIO – Gordon Hartman, the founder of Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-inclusive theme park, has felt the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic first hand. Not only has the business taken a hit, being shut down since spring, but Hartman himself battled the virus.
“I’m pretty much over it,” he said. “There are people who are not as fortunate as I was in respect to the degree that they’ve had COVID-19. And it’s allowed me an opportunity to now be involved in giving plasma, which is so desperately needed.”
But Hartman said the Morgan’s Wonderland community has also felt the impact.
“It has really changed things for everyone in particular people with special needs. Morgan’s Wonderland is a place that, they know, is always there for them. It’s a place of inclusion, a place that’s ultra-accessible, no matter how acute someone’s special needs may be. They can play right alongside someone who does not have special needs. And so it’s always been there. And this year it couldn’t be there,” he explained.
Throughout the park closure, Morgan’s Wonderland has made big efforts to maintain its connection with the community. They’ve put on parades, home visits and now a huge KSAT community virtual gala. The annual event is in honor of Hartman’s daughter, Morgan’s birthday.
“Morgan has had a little bit of a tough time with [the pandemic]. She’s had a hard time not being around her friends and not being able to just have that interaction, if you will. And we’ve heard those stories from a lot of people. And that’s why we really wanted to, number one, go out to the community, as I mentioned earlier, but also make sure we put out this virtual gala on KSAT12. Because there are so many people who are involved with Morgan’s Wonderland, not just here in San Antonio, but throughout the state, throughout the country,” he said.
The virtual gala is happening from 7 to 8 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 25. Tune into KSAT on air, online, on Facebook Live, on your smart TV by downloading the KSAT-TV app, or on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV by searching for “KSAT-TV” in the app store. Click here for more information.