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streams from the soccer park and pro soccer are so vital. “We realise many families with members having physical or cognitive special needs are on tight budgets,” says Hartman, “so we try to make everything we do for guests as affordable as possible. We even allow them to bring their own food and drinks into the park and to dine at our Picnic Place.”


EXPANSION


So, does the park’s phenomenal success mean that we can expect to see more Morgan’s Wonderlands in the future? “Yes,” says Hartman without hesitation. “When I fi rst came up with the concept, I never thought it would have global impact. But there’s a pent up demand for a place like this. There’s all sorts of potential. Now it’s a case of when, not if, more Morgan’s Wonderlands will be built.” Hartman has had enquiries from other states in the US, the Netherlands, Israel, Australia and Canada. “There’s a lot of homework and planning involved before building a park,” he advises. “For example, they have to have another revenue stream to support the park. We’re taking our time because we want to help people be successful rather than rushing into something and it not working.” Hartman opened a school called the


Monarch Academy, on site last year for 25 students from grade six to age 24, which he also plans to expand. “Developing a school for special needs individuals was always a dream of mine and having it by the park means that we can use much of the park’s infrastructure to support the school,” he says. “The school isn’t just about learning your ABCs, it’s about learning life skills and job skills. We plan to make the school larger so we can teach hundreds of children in the future.”


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Morgan with her parents Gordon and Maggie


MORGAN Morgan attends the school and loves the park, but to her it’s just a park. “Her cognitive delay doesn’t allow her to understand the magnitude of what she’s done and her ability to make a real difference because of her incredible attitude to life, even though she has many things that make her life more diffi cult,” says Hartman proudly. “She often wonders why people want her picture or want her


to sign her name. She sees Morgan’s Wonderland as somewhere that she and her friends, both with and without special needs, can play together.” And, thanks to her dad and his supporters, so can many other people. ●


From Attractions Management Issue 4 2012, p30


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