If there is a universal language, it is probably the one that’s shared by children at play. Anyone who has ever watched kids playing together, even when divided by the largest language barrier, has witnessed the amazing connective power of fun.

On this installment of Saturdays Around the World, we are going to a theme park unlike any other. Morgan’s Wonderland, located in San Antonio, Texas, is the brainchild of a man by the name of Gordon Hartman. He was inspired by his daughter, Morgan, to create a space of inclusion where people of all abilities can play together! And it looks pretty awesome.

In fact, let’s discover the people and innovations that made this place, built to celebrate the connective power of fun, a reality.

Since opening its doors in 2010, the park has been a haven for people across the globe to connect, play, and most importantly, share in those moments together. In 2017, they expanded the park with the addition of Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a completely accessible water park.

But in order to make this dream a reality, Hartman and his team had to tackle a problem: how do you make a waterproof motorized wheelchair?

The New York Times did a beautiful profile of Morgan’s Inspiration Island, and how a remarkable team of innovators found an ingenious solution to that problem. It’s an amazing story of how vision, ingenuity, and out-of-the-box thinking can create life-changing experiences!

We’ve paired this video with thought-provoking discussion questions perfect for the classroom in this touchstone on our education platform, EWCed!

The layers of innovation here really do point to how amazing this world is! From the work that Human Engineering Laboratories is doing on projects like the Pneuchair to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities, to the vision of passionate people like Gordon Hartman to build spaces of inclusivity and connection.

These are the innovators, particularly when combined in projects like Morgan’s Inspiration Island, that should make us all optimistic about our collective future.

55 minutes

Why Should We Be Optimistic About Our World?

Looking at the news, it's hard to formulate a reason to think things are actually great and getting better. But here's a podcast that might shift your perspective dramatically! Enjoy!

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It’s easy to forget how powerful shared experiences are for everyone involved. These experiences strengthen our connection to one another, by building our sense of community and trust. Additionally, we are given the opportunity to confront our biases and grow. We do this when we are faced with shared experiences that make us interact with people who are new and different than ourselves in fun and exciting ways.

20 minutes

Could “Connection” Start at the Level of Our Five Senses?

Are we starting at the right level when we strive to understand each other? What if videos about new technologies that correct sensory disabilities can point us to a new starting point for connection?

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Morgan’s Wonderland is only a small part of the remarkable work Gordon Hartman and his foundation are doing. This work furthers the accessibility and quality of life for disabled and special needs individuals. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend you head over to the Morgan’s Wonderland website to read their full story!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

–  Liesl

Want to see more amazing parts of this world?

See where we’ve gone on past Saturdays!

Saturdays Around the World on EWC

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  1. “A Place to Play for Children of All Abilities | Opinion.” YouTube. The New York Times, 27 Dec. 2017. Web. 01 June 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=55&v=oytDRrHdM6Q>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV