- Located at the Mark Russell Recreation Center: 429 Taylor Road, Huntsville, AL 35763
- Open daily until dusk
Did you know that Madison County’s first universal playground recently opened? It is called Cove Universal Playground (CUP). CUP is located on the grounds of Mark Russell Recreation Center in Owens Cross Roads and is open daily. What makes this playground truly universal is its unique design that allows both children with and without special needs to play together on the same equipment.
As of today Phase 1 is complete and installed. Fundraising efforts are underway for Phase 2 of the playground. More into Phase 2 in a bit…
Parent Review: Cove Universal Playground
When I pulled up to Cove Universal Playground with my 6 and 9 year old I was immediately impressed by the mountain theme and size of the equipment. The entire structure is surrounded by a fence. Get this: not only does the fence have one way in and one way out, it is double gated. On the other side of the first gate is stroller parking and a beautiful personalized brick entryway before you reach the second gate. If you need to park near the gate to enter the playground be sure to park on the side opposite of Taylor Road.
A few friendly reminders can be found on Cove Universal Playground’s Facebook and Instagram:
1) The playground is open until dusk.
2) We respectfully ask that cleats NOT be used within the gates of the playground. This will help to maintain our poured in place surfacing!
3) Please enjoy snacks at one of our many benches or picnic tables and not on the equipment. We are especially protective of our little ones with food allergies and want all to be safe! Please also use one of the many trash cans available to clean up after you’ve enjoyed your time at the site.
4) Issues can be reported by sending us a private message and we will happily communicate with our City partners.
5) No glass or bottles in the play area.
6) No pets within the playground area.
7) HAVE FUN!
Playground Features & Accommodations
Once inside the playground both of my children played nonstop for an hour and a half. The largest structure on the playground as well as a few sitting areas are covered by sun sails. There are several sensory stations around the playground such as a musical instruments center and a Sounds of Water station. There is also a cave-like area with a sleeping deer statue underneath the waterfall where sensory overloaded children can go for a break before heading back out to play.
Yet another part of CUP that sets it apart are the picture communication boards it has displayed so that nonverbal or children or those with expressive language difficulties can communicate with others by pointing to the picture(s) on the board of what they need/ feel/ want.
The main portion of the structure has a ramp as well as the option of various ladders and a climbing wall so that children with different physical abilities will be entertained. There are several varieties and heights of slides including one made of small rolling bars that allow the child to slide more slowly.
Surrounding the center structure is a high back (for head and neck support) spinning/ merry-go-round type ride and also a high back seesaw type ride. My children’s favorite was the merry-go-round. They enjoyed it so much they asked for one last ride before we went home.
There is a bathroom within the fence of the playground. It is equipped with an adult-size changing table which can accommodate a wide range of ages. There is also a water fountain, garbage can, several benches, covered picnic tables, and a charging station for mobility devices and mobile phones.
As of Phase 1 the only swing is a fun disc shaped swing. Phase 2 has several different swing options planned. As a matter of fact I looked on Cove Universal Playgrounds’s Facebook page and was able to see all of the amazing structures planned for Phase 2. Just a few of these include: a KidNetix Twirl roundabout, a covered toddler area, Expression Swing Tandem, Expression Swing with Adaptive Seat, OmniTri Net maze, Cliffhanger Bridge, SkyRun Zip Track, and traditional swings.
Support the Cove Universal Playground
If you would like to help support Cove Universal Playground efforts to make Phase 2 a reality please consider making a tax deductible donation. You can even purchase a personalized brick that will be installed at the playground starting at $100.
I think it’s fair to say both my 6 and 9 year old had a great time at CUP. We will definitely be back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leigh Wren lives in Hampton Cove – Owens Cross Roads with her husband and two children. She holds a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, currently homeschools part-time and volunteers throughout her community. When she is not volunteering you can find her supporting local businesses and enjoying the many parks and museums that the Rocket City has to offer.
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