The most accessible amusement park in the United States will be built in Missouri

The developers hope to innovate in 2023 on an amusement park outside St. Louis that they call the most innovative and accessible park in the world.

Spirit of Discovery Park will be located in Wentzville, Missouri, approximately 40 minutes west of St. Louis. It will join Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas as the world’s only ultra-accessible amusement park.

“When we had a vision, it was joy for everyone. And our mission is to build this amusement park for all skill levels,” co-founder Jamie Vann told KMOV.

The developers are aiming for a 2025 opening for a park specifically designed for everyone, including people with physical and mental disabilities.

“Many of us have fond memories of visiting theme parks as children, but not everyone can be so lucky,” the developers said on the park’s website. “There are children and parents all over the world who have challenges that prevent them from enjoying theme parks and activities of all kinds.”

The park will target people with Down syndrome, autism, PTSD or anyone battling a life-threatening condition, as well as the hearing, visual, mental and physical impaired.

“Everyone in the park will have something they can do and want to do, and all of the needs of all of our communities will be catered for, but our focus is on those with special needs,” said Vann at Fox2Now. . “They deserve it, they need it, our community needs it.”

The 60-acre park will feature rides, a playground, a greenhouse, a dog park, wading pools, an arcade and more.

“We always think of wheelchairs when we think of special needs,” said architect Rick Hill, who helps design the park. “We are talking about hospital beds. We talk about all disabilities, whether it’s autism or epilepsy, we look at all the different ones and try to incorporate them here.

For example, the greenhouse will feature raised gardens to allow people in wheelchairs to pick pumpkins and other vegetables directly from the vine.

“It’s also about the grandparent who’s in a wheelchair and has oxygen,” Vann said. “It’s about the parents who served in our military and came home who aren’t whole and want to do something with their child.”

Vann said the idea for the park had been floating around for about a decade, after a friend with three children, including one with Down syndrome, said they wouldn’t be going to Disney World. It sparked the idea in his mind that families with loved ones with disabilities deserve the same opportunity for fun.

Developers expect the cost to build the park to be around $100 million and they are looking for donations to support the effort. Once open, they do not plan to charge people with disabilities to enter the park, and only a nominal fee for those who accompany them.

The developers plan to raise funds through grants, fundraising, and community outreach. They will appeal to businesses and philanthropists by conveying the message that everyone deserves a special place.

Local officials are thrilled with the idea, with Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione calling it an incredible opportunity for the community.

“I think we’re going to bring people from all over the world,” he said. “Wentzville will be a destination.”

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Harold B. McConnell