Melaina’s Magical Playland was inspired by the daughter of Jeff and Andrea Cunningham.

Melaina Cunningham was a vibrant and spunky 3-year-old who didn’t let a disease like Nemaline Myopathy diminish her spirit. Even though she had some physical limitations, she still wanted the adventure that comes to a child through a playground. Unfortunately, most average playgrounds in the city in which she lived were geared toward children without any limitations and, therefore, made it very challenging for Melaina and others with special needs to use them.

As a result of these circumstances, Jeff and Andrea, along with the assistance of State Representative, Scott Lipke, vowed to address this need by organizing a committee with the hope of building a playground that didn’t limit itself to any individual, no matter their disability. They were determined to get an all-inclusive and fully-accessible playground built in Cape Girardeau County. In 2012 this determination turned into a reality with the official opening of Melania’s Magical Playland.

This playground is available to all children and adults, and does not exclude anyone because of a disability. Melaina Cunningham was a joy and gift in the lives of Jeff and Andrea. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to stay here with them long enough to see the playground built. However, her spirit and inspiration will always live on at Melaina’s Magical Playland.

Since the Parks Opening

Since opening the park, we’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of positive support from our community. We’re so excited to share more about our story soon!