Attractions Handbook 2017-2018

Page 126

Innovative waterparks

CREST Of a wave Visionary design and innovative technology – Helen Patenall dips into the global waterparks that have got the drift

Morgan’s Inspiration Island


Inspiration Island enhances mutual understanding between all visitors

photo: ©AHHAA

Morgan’s Inspiration Island – the world’s first ultra-accessible waterpark – is the latest addition to the highly successful Morgan’s Wonderland theme park launched in Texas back in 2010. In similar fashion, it’s non-profit and admits anyone with a special need free of charge. Inspired by the cognitive and physical challenges facing his wife’s daughter, Morgan, CEO Gordon Hartman wants to encourage people with special needs to do things previously thought impossible. Not only that, Gordon also wants to bridge the gap and enhance mutual understanding between visitors with a disability and those without a disability through the inclusive medium of play. Overlooking the theme park’s eight-acre (three-hectare) catch-and-release fishing lake, the new US$17m (€15.2m, £13.4m) tropically themed waterpark features a 680-foot (63-metre) River Boat Adventure ride twisting through a jungle setting brought alive by bird and animal sounds. Five waterplay zones – Hang 10 Harbor, Rainbow Reef, Shipwreck Island, Castaway Bay and Calypso Cove – offer

splash time fun elements such as raintrees, falls, geysers, jets, water cannons and tipping buckets. Other facilities include the Rusty Anchor Galley Grub and Little Italy Bistro food outlets; the Surf Shack Gifts and Gear sundries shop; a panoramic viewing deck; an air-conditioned party/meeting room; and private cabanas for rent. Talking about masterplanners Luna Architecture & Design and designers Taylor Ochoa, Hartman explains that “In many ways, creating Morgan’s Inspiration Island feels a lot like it did when our team designed and built Morgan’s Wonderland – it’s never been done before”. As with Morgan’s Wonderland, consultations with a team of doctors and special needs therapists, plus the creation of three waterproof motorised wheelchairs, means that all elements of the waterpark are wheelchair-accessible and suitable for guests of all ages and abilities. Spacious private areas enable guests to transfer from their own wheelchair into one of the park’s waterproof wheelchairs with greater ease. Other special features include the capability of conditioning water to a