Inside Events: Morgan’s Sports | Sports Destination Management

Inside Events: Morgan’s Sports

An Interview with Barry Mills, President
May 23, 2024 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

In San Antonio, there is a sports complex specifically designed for visitors with physical, sensory and developmental challenges. Right next door to that is a theme park for those same special populations. And a camp. And a splash park. And an assistance center with its own salon. And according to the officials at Morgan’s, the organization behind all this development, it’s nowhere near the end of the road. More is planned and all of it is inclusive.

It’s almost too much to take in at once but the whole complex grew out of one incident: Two parents who took their child to a hotel swimming pool while on vacation. Morgan, who had cognitive and physical challenges, was hurt and embarrassed when other children excluded her from their games.

The website notes, “Observing the painful look on Morgan’s face, her parents, Gordon and Maggie Hartman, resolved then and there to create a fun, colorful, barrier-free environment where those with and without special needs could come together to have fun and better understand each other.

Morgan's Sports
All photos courtesy of Morgan's

In 2010, Morgan’s Wonderland became the world’s first Ultra-Accessible™, fully inclusive theme park. Morgan’s boundless love and ability to soar above her physical and cognitive challenges were the true inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland. The park’s overwhelming success and Morgan’s ongoing positive influence have created many other opportunities for inclusion, such as Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park, Morgan’s Camp, Morgan’s Sports, and Morgan’s Multi-Assistance Center (MAC). Together they comprise Morgan’s, a nonprofit that coordinates planning, fundraising, and communication for the entire Morgan’s “family.”

Sports Destination Management had never heard of such a broad-based approach to sports, recreation and personal fulfillment, so of course, it was a top priority to sit down and learn more.

Sports Destination Management: Morgan’s is an innovative concept and of course, we are really interested in the sports complex. Can you tell us a little about that?

Barry Mills: Well, of course, we’re working with five entities, and for all of them, accessibility is the primary footprint. For the sports complex, what I am doing is creating five championship tennis courts, 14 pickleball courts – and of course, programs associated with those sports.

SDM: What else does the facility have?

Mills: We have a standalone accessible softball field and covered basketball courts. All in all, we have 100,000 square feet.

SDM: You have a LOT! How many events are you hosting?

Mills: We will start doing more aggressive marketing once we have more programs in place. We currently have some existing programs: our FIESTA events are popular and we get a lot of military programs. What we like to see is when our bigger customers come in, take over the facilities and run their own programs; it’s a win/win for everyone.

SDM: What are some of the programs you have put on?

Mills: We are working on some CrossFit events; those organizations need a place where there can be unified competition.

SDM: There’s obviously no better place for it.

Morgan's SportsMills: No, there isn’t! And sometimes, when we think of something that isn’t currently being offered, we think, “Why not invent it?”

SDM: You have pickleball, which is just about the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. – and it’s accessible too.

Mills: We’re going to have 14 courts. I intend to compete with Chicken N Pickle and other places like that. We’re getting tennis and pickleball coaches, and we’re going to have wheelchair versions of both those sports as well.

SDM: Are all facilities in the complex accessible?

Mills: Not just the sports complex, but everywhere: the theme park, the splash park, the camp, everywhere. Restrooms, concessions, parking – everything is accessible. Even our offices are accessible.

Something fun is that there is fishing in the theme park; we have people to help bait the hook and get the fish off so that the guests can enjoy the experience of catching their first fish. We have a barge that goes around the lake; everyone can ride it. It’s called the Queen Morgan. There is a carousel in the theme park that is made so that everyone is able to ride. Oh, and we have a zipline that everyone can ride too!

SDM: It sounds like you know the value of having everyone be able to participate in sports.

Morgan's SportsMills: I’ve participated in unified golf with my daughter. People want to be able to do what their family does, what their friends do. In fact, I would say we sell out more often to inclusive entities than to anything else.

SDM: If someone wants to put on an event, or to contact you about hosting something, how do they do that?

Mills: They can email me at

SDM: Is Morgan’s still under development or have you hit the end?

Mills: No, in fact, our slogan is, “We’re just getting started.”

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