Dead Children's Playground – Huntsville, Alabama - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

Huntsville, Alabama

Dead Children's Playground

What else would you call a playground hidden in Alabama's oldest and largest cemetery? 

Cemeteries can be boring for kids. The weight and import of death has not truly sunk in yet, so the cool headstones and elaborate grave markers must just seem like awesome rocks to play on, but no one will let them. They are going to live forever, so why is everyone so sad?

Well in a park space adjoining Alabama’s Maple Hill Cemetery, the largest and oldest in the state, there is a small playground where they can have a place to release that energy. Of course this cemetery playground sees more ghost hunters and teenagers than bored children.

It seems like simple math that a sparse playground built on the grounds of a century-old cemetery would come to have a reputation more sinister than silly, but the planners put it in anyway.The small array of simple playground equipment includes swings, and a modern jungle gym. It is set in a low spot of the graveyard and surrounded by rocks and trees on three sides, making it all the more claustrophobic.

As the historic cemetery began running out of room in 2007, officials from the city of Huntsville decided to raze the play area to make room for more burials. Yet the locals were so outraged at the loss of their playground that a new playground was built, bringing the site back from the dead, so to speak.

Today the playground is known to locals as Dead Children’s Playground and the mundane site has accumulated a deep catalogue of supernatural associations. As the believers would tell it, the swings can often be found to sway by themselves, spheres of cold ghost light can be seen floating around, and even the spectres of little kids have been spotted having a little midnight fun. 

Dead Children’s Playground, where kids can have the time of their afterlife.

Know Before You Go

The playground is located at the end of Newport Drive which is just off of McClung Ave SE. You can use Google Maps to map you there by typing in Dead Children’s Playground. To access the park from inside the cemetery, you can park near section 40 and walk up the hill. You’ll see a pavilion and the park is just the left of that.