Morgan’s Wonderland accepting applications for educational field trips this October

MorgansWonderland_logoMorgan’s Wonderland is a fun place, but it’s also a learning place where elementary students from Greater San Antonio schools can participate in educational field trips.

The unique, completely wheelchair-accessible theme park is now accepting reservations for educational field trips that will begin Monday, Oct. 6, said Becky Lucci, Morgan’s Wonderland programs director.  Other fall field trips will be available Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 20 and Oct. 21.

“Since 2011, our educational field trips have enabled elementary-school students to learn lessons in science, mathematics and other subjects throughout our 25-acre park,” Lucci said.  “Our goal is to offer learning opportunities outside the classroom in a colorful outdoor setting, and the feedback we’ve received from students, teachers and parents has been extremely positive.”

Created in conjunction with the Region 20 Education Service Center, each field-trip activity for students is directly related to the state’s TEKS lesson plans.  Region 20 has updated the curriculum, Lucci noted, and more learning stations throughout the park have been added.

Morgan’s Wonderland offers programs geared especially to students, senior citizens, young moms and scouting groups.  For more information and educational field trip reservations, contact Lucci at (210) 637-3469, or visit

The non-profit theme park and other endeavors to help those with special needs – the nearby STAR Soccer Complex, San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team, Toyota Field multi-purpose stadium and Monarch Academy school for students with learning challenges – were created through the vision and leadership of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation.  Net profits from STAR Soccer, the Scorpions and Toyota Field have been earmarked for the expansion of programs and services at Morgan’s Wonderland to benefit the special-needs community.

Memorial day weekend signals start of 2014 summer season at Morgan’s Wonderland

MorgansWonderland_logoThe 2014 summer season at unique and colorful Morgan’s Wonderland theme park will begin Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26, according to Ron Morander, general manager.

The safe, affordable and completely wheelchair-accessible theme park will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 24; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 25; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, May 26 – Memorial Day.  It will wrap up the month of May welcoming guests from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 28, 29 and 30 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 31.

In addition to its regular attractions, Morgan’s Wonderland will host summertime special events including a Friday, July 4, salute to active-duty members of the armed forces and first-responders such as firefighters, law-enforcement officers and emergency-medical professionals.

In June, July and up through mid-August, the park will be open daily except on Mondays, Morander noted.  And just like in previous summers, Morgan’s Wonderland will open at 9 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday to take advantage of milder morning temperatures for guest comfort and enjoyment.

The latest information about the park’s operating schedule and special events is always available at or at (210) 495-5888 or toll-free (877) 495-5888.

Morgan’s Wonderland offers more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens for everyone’s enjoyment.  “Morgan’s Wonderland is the center of a family fun destination we call Wonderland, Texas,” Morander said.  “Our ‘community’ also includes the new, 8,000-seat home of the San Antonio Scorpions FC pro soccer team and the STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex.”

This summer, the 25-acre park will continue to offer discounts for active-duty and retired military personnel, senior adults and children, plus season passes and discounted multi-ticket packages.  Admission for those with special needs is always free of charge, while admission fees for accompanying family members, friends, caregivers and the general public are affordable.

“Non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland is the very first park of its kind because it was designed with special-needs individuals in mind but built for everyone to enjoy,” Morander noted.  “We’re now in our fifth year of operation, and thus far we’ve welcomed more than a half-million guests from all over America and around the world.”

To provide non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland with a steady revenue stream for expansion of programs and services, the Scorpions are battling North American Soccer League rivals at Toyota Field, just across from the theme park’s main entrance.  All Toyota Field and Scorpions net profits are earmarked for Morgan’s Wonderland.  This is the first time a professional sports team has been organized to benefit the special-needs community.  More information is available at

In addition to Morgan’s Wonderland, the Scorpions and Toyota Field, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation provided the impetus for nearby STAR Soccer, featuring 13 lighted fields for tournament and league play, and Monarch Academy, a school for students with special needs that opened next to Morgan’s Wonderland in August 2011.  To learn more, visit

Morgan’s Wonderland is located at 5223 David Edwards Drive in Northeast San Antonio a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive.

Returning Veterans to be saluted May 17, Armed Forces Day, at Morgan’s Wonderland

MorgansWonderland_logoMore than 1,000 military veterans and members of their immediate families will be saluted at Welcome Home, an Armed Forces Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Morgan’s Wonderland.

“We look forward to welcoming those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn,” said Marie Weldon, director of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS), “however any veteran of the U. S. armed forces is invited to participate.”

Morgans WonderlandFor the third consecutive year, STVHCS and Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment, will team up to offer returning veterans a day of fun at the park plus special musical entertainment, food, games and prizes.

Information Fair _ Morgan's WonderlandIn addition to the family fun, veterans will have access to an information fair in the Morgan’s Wonderland Event Center on a wide variety of services available to them.  The 11 o’clock opening ceremonies will include remarks by Dr. Julianne Flynn, STVHCS chief of staff.

Many returning veterans with physical disabilities are taking advantage of STRAPS (South Texas Regional Adaptive and Paralympic Sports) at Morgan’s Wonderland.

Thanks to support from the San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team and generous gifts from aerospace titan The Boeing Co., and Warm Springs, a leading provider of comprehensive rehabilitation services, STRAPS offers physically challenged athletes competition in sports such as wheelchair soccer, powerchair soccer, goalball (a sport similar to soccer for visually impaired athletes), wheelchair basketball and wheelchair softball.

For more information about Welcome Home, visit  Additional information can be found at and

Completely wheelchair-accessible, Morgan’s Wonderland is located at 5223 David Edwards Drive at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive just west of IH 35 in Northeast San Antonio.

Soccer for a Cause generates almost $700,000 for special-needs community, other charities

scorpions logo

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toyota fieldSoccer for a Cause, a unique effort utilizing professional soccer to generate financial support for the special-needs community, made good on its pledge and this evening unveiled a check for $662,559 during halftime of the San Antonio Scorpions’ North American Soccer League (NASL) match with the New York Cosmos.

“The Scorpions and their newly opened stadium home, Toyota Field, are dedicated to producing net profits to help non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland meet its operating expenses as well as expand programs and services for those with special needs,” said philanthropist Gordon Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. “Tonight’s check presentation reflects a very successful 2013 season for the Scorpions and Toyota Field, and we cannot say thank-you enough to our phenomenal fans and sponsors for their tremendous support.

“We’ve said from the launch of Soccer for a Cause that its purpose would be to produce revenue for the special-needs community, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that we’ve kept that promise. I’m also delighted that the check presentation occurred in front of our devoted fans and in the presence of the New York Cosmos, one of the iconic franchises in all of professional soccer.”

Hartman, who as owner of the Scorpions does not benefit financially from the team or stadium, said the almost-$700,000 grand total includes $20,000 to help Oklahoma City tornado victims (following a summer friendly match with Oklahoma City FC) and $42,974 raised in a Scorpions special event for WINGS (Women Involved in Nurturing, Giving, Sharing), an organization that assists breast-cancer patients.

“The grand total will surely go higher because net profits from the Scorpions-vs.-Cosmos match and from the STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex, with its 13 first-class fields for league and tournament play, aren’t included,” Hartman noted. “When all is said and done, we believe Soccer for a Cause will have been the spark for approximately $1 million in benefits to the special-needs community and other worthy causes.   And keep in mind, this is just the first year of operation for Toyota Field.  We expect the cumulative total to really grow as years go by.”

In addition to benefitting Morgan’s Wonderland, Soccer for a Cause assists Monarch Academy, a school next door to the theme park that concentrates on equipping students with special needs with the knowledge and skills that will help them become productive adults. The school creates an individualized instructional plan for each student, based on the student’s abilities and needs.

Hartman again credited his 20-year-old daughter, Morgan, for being the catalyst that resulted in Morgan’s Wonderland and so much more.

“Morgan is the young lady responsible for pro soccer in San Antonio,” Hartman said. “Her positive outlook in dealing with physical and cognitive challenges inspired so many in the community that it led to the opening in 2010 of Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind but built for everyone to enjoy.

“Shortly thereafter came Soccer for a Cause, a grassroots effort to establish pro soccer in San Antonio, and ultimately the creation of the Scorpions franchise and the construction of multi-purpose Toyota Field, which can be expanded from its current 8,000 seats to 18,000. Soccer for a Cause marks the first time a professional sports team has been organized solely to benefit a non-profit cause helping those with special needs.”

Hartman sold his homebuilding business in 2005 to devote – along with wife Maggie – time, vision and energy to philanthropic pursuits. They began with Morgan’s Wonderland so people of all ages with and without disabilities could come together in a safe, totally wheelchair-accessible theme park for fun and understanding.  Now wrapping up its fourth year, Morgan’s Wonderland features more than 25 attractions including rides, playscapes and gardens spread out over 25 acres in what once was a limestone quarry.  The park admits anyone with a cognitive or physical special need free of charge.

On Aug. 28, 2012, global automaker Toyota announced its presenting sponsorship of Toyota Field. In addition to Scorpions soccer, Toyota Field will host concerts, community activities and special events.  It’s located adjacent to Morgan’s Wonderland at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive just west of IH 35 in Northeast San Antonio.

More information about the San Antonio Scorpions FC is available at, or Additional Morgan’s Wonderland information is located at or by calling (210) 495-5888.  Information about Toyota Field is available at, and more about Monarch Academy can be found at

About the NASL
The North American Soccer League℠ is a professional soccer league established in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The NASL member teams are: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota Stars FC, New York Cosmos, Puerto Rico Islanders, San Antonio Scorpions FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies.  Indianapolis (Indiana), Ottawa (Ontario) and Loudon County (Virginia) will begin play in 2014.  For more information about the NASL, visit  Follow the NASL on Twitter at @NASLOfficial  and Facebook at

SeaWorld San Antonio’s 25th Operating Season in Full-swing

One Ocean Approved Hi Res 3SeaWorld San Antonio has kicked off its 25th operating season by offering more days to enjoy the park. This year, SeaWorld has 231 operating days on the calendar, making it the most days in a single year that the seasonal theme park has operated in more than two decades. The park will feature a variety of amazing animals during “Wild Days” every weekend in February.

SeaWorld’s waterpark, Aquatica, will usher in spring when it opens on March 2, which is the earliest advertised 2013 opening of an outdoor waterpark in Texas. The new waterpark opened in May 2012 and features up-close animal experiences along with water rides from the serene to the extreme.

On Saturdays from March 2 through June 1, SeaWorld guests can enjoy extended hours for Spring into Night, featuring the park’s hottest nighttime shows, including:

  • “Shamu Rocks!,” a crowd rockin’, electrifying show      featuring SeaWorld’s famous killer whale, Shamu.
  • “Sea Lions Tonite,” showcasing pinniped-pranksters, Clyde and Seamore, as they spoof the park’s daytime shows.
  • “Elmo Rocks,” a Sesame Street rock ‘n roll musical show starring Elmo with Zoe, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie.
  • “Sesame Street Bay of Play Block Party,” guests can dance and sing along with all their favorite Sesame Street friends.

SeaWorld’s “Just for Kids” series takes place on weekends in April and features live children’s shows by nationally-recognized entertainers on Saturdays, including Caillou, Laurie Berkner, Choo Choo Soul and Imagination Movers and the Sesame Street stage show “Elmo Rocks” on Sundays.

On May 4, the park welcomes Dove-award winning and Grammy nominated Christian rock group MercyMe as they headline the park’s Praise Wave event.

For more information, visit

Monarch Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland Names Anne Bristol Head of School

monarch academyAnne Bristol

Anne Bristol, with more than 30 years of experience as an educator and administrator, has been named head of school of Monarch Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland, a school for students with special needs next to the unique theme park in San Antonio.

“Anne brings a wide range of experience to her new position,” said Gordon Hartman, founder of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation and driving force behind initiatives benefitting the special-needs community such as the theme park and school.  “She spent 10 years as head of school at Providence Catholic School in San Antonio before coming to Morgan’s Wonderland as director of development and marketing.  She has a proven track record of success in academics, student life, fundraising, marketing and student recruitment.”

Bristol said Monarch Academy prepares students with special needs ranging in age from 11 to 24 to become productive adults.

“We believe every individual deserves the opportunity to be prepared for life,” she said, “so we empower each student to achieve his or her own personal best.  We focus our attention on getting each student ready for independence and employment through reading and math instruction as well as social and life skills and vocational readiness.”

Founded in 2011, Monarch Academy emphasizes a safe teaching environment, holistic focus on the individual, low student-teacher ratio and structured physical education program, she added.  Further information is available at

Born in Dallas, Bristol attended Ursuline Academy in Dallas and earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.  She did additional post graduate work at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.  She taught in the Dallas County Community College District as well as at St. Luke’s School in Irving and Ursuline Academy in Dallas before coming to Providence Catholic School in San Antonio and Morgan’s Wonderland.

Bristol has earned numerous honors including the 2008 Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Outstanding Leader in Catholic Education Award, the 2004 Yellow Rose of Texas Education Award, the 1997 Diocese of Dallas’ Secondary Teacher of the Year Award and the 1996 Ursuline Academy Teacher of the Year Award.

Bristol and her husband, Lew Campbell, live in Universal City.  Their blended family consists of five adult children and 11 grandchildren.  In her leisure time, Bristol enjoys reading, working in her garden and attending theater events.

Monarch Academy, located next to Morgan’s Wonderland at 5235 David Edwards Drive in Northeast San Antonio just off IH 35, is one of many initiatives of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation to help those with special needs.  Morgan’s Wonderland, which is completely wheelchair-accessible, features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens.

The STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex and the San Antonio Scorpions FC pro soccer team also were created through the vision and leadership of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation.  Net profits from STAR Soccer and the Scorpions help Morgan’s Wonderland meet its operating expenses as well as expand programs and services for the special-needs community.