Father creates special water park named after his daughter
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- In the south Texas heat, an afternoon at a water park is one of the best ways to cool down. That's something 10-year-old Hayden Young had never enjoyed until now.
The fifth grader with cerebral palsy is splashing around at Morgan's Inspiration Island in San Antonio. It's the first water park built for all kids, even ones in wheelchairs.
The water park features accessible splash pads, a river ride built for wheelchairs, and a valet stand for the guests on wheels. The park even has a first-of-its-kind waterproof wheelchair powered by compressed air.
The park was created by San Antonio businessman Gordon Hartman. He came up with the idea after watching other children at a pool party shun his special needs daughter because of her disability.
"The way she looked at me, that look of, 'Dad I don't understand'… she couldn't tell me," Hartman told us. "She told me with her eyes and that stuck with me."
Hartman -- using his own money -- turned to doctors, therapists and people with special needs to create the 4-acre, $17 million park at the site of a former quarry.
He opened it this summer and named it after his daughter, Morgan. It took three years for it to become a reality.
"I may have had some success in the beginning through business but I want to have a life of significance in a bigger way and I couldn't ask for anything," Morgan said. "I mean Morgan has taught me so much, this has taught me so much."
Hartman also made the park financially accessible. Disabled guests like 7-year-old Rhaya Edison get into the park for free.
She said she wants to visit the park at least 17 more times.
We asked Hayden's mother what it's like to see her son in the water just being a kid.
"Making him happy makes me happy," she said.
Happy -- and cool -- in a place where kids can beat the heat, and their limitations.
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