Special thanks to our donors:
- UPS Store #3016
- Hugbug Designs
- Dye Studios
- Cliff Ernst Collection
- Kitti Simonsen Photography
- MK Impressions
- BB's Bar-B-Q
- Apollo Burger
- Dawson's Bakery
- Nothing Bundt Cakes
- Don Miguel’s Juicery + Rustic Kitchen
- Shane's Rib Shack
- Maggie Moo's
- Brixx Wood Fired Pizza
- Fox's Pizza Den
- Heat's Kids' Triathlon
- Hendersonville Half Marathon
Mary’s Magical Place is a playground to be designed and created where people can gather and play regardless of abilities and to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Hendersonville, Sumner County and Middle Tennessee by bringing families together.
Mary’s Magical Place will be an all-inclusive playground designed around, but not limited to, children with special needs. It will also be a place where ALL children and adults, ranging from able bodied to those in wheelchairs, to come and play.
The park is being built in memory of Mary Elizabeth McAuley, daughter of Rachel and Tommy McAuley, sister of Grant and Griffin. Many knew her magical smile, and even though she never spoke a word, she touched the lives of many people. Mary passed away in September 2015 at the age of 14 due to complications from cerebral palsy.
In the News
Mary's Magical Place gets boost from JSL Hendersonville
The Junior Service League of Hendersonville recently presented Mary’s Magical Place with a check for more than $47,000 for the construction of a playground for youth with special needs.
Bink's Outfitters Makes it Happen
Mary's Magical Place is pleased to announce Bink's Outfitters, with its new location at the Streets of Indian Lake, is helping "Make It Happen"!!
City officially designates land in Veterans Park for Mary's Magical Place
City leaders voted unanimously last week to designate a piece of property in Veterans Park for an all-inclusive playground.
'All-inclusive' playground planned for Veteran's Park
When someone showed Carol Ernst an older photo of her children playing on a swing set with their neighbors, Ernst was struck more by who wasn’t in the photo than who was.
It was Sept. 3, 2015, and 14-year-old Mary McAuley — Ernst’s neighbor for more than a decade — had just died from complications related to cerebral palsy.
Remembering Mary McAuley - 2001-2015
“Do not worry about me no more, for I made it to heaven just fine. It’s my bedtime back home, but there is so much up here for me to see. You ought to see this place - it is magical. I can breathe, I can try food, I can run, I can play and I can ride any horse I want. I feel no pain. I know my mommy, daddy, brothers, and all of you below are crying, but remember my sweet smile to get you through. Remember me forever whatever good I left. God bless each of you and thank you for everything you did for me for 14 years. I felt so much happiness, but it was time for me to go. Don’t forget to pray - God likes to be remembered. See you soon friends. Until we meet again at the gates. I loved each of you that crossed my path. Sincerely, Mary Elizabeth McAuley.”
Teen's short life inspired a community
Without uttering a word, Mary McAuley taught a community about gratitude, courage, and yes, even joy.
The joy part may confuse those who only knew of her condition, and hadn’t seen for themselves that broad, contagious smile.
Many in Hendersonville are mourning the loss of that smile – the 14-year-old whose brief life ended Thursday after inspiring countless others.
Hendersonville Group To Build Inclusive Playground To Honor Girl
Volunteers have planned to pay for and build a playground that will be accessible for children and adults of all abilities to honor a Hendersonville teen who died from complications of cerebral palsy.
Mary McAuley, 14, was wheelchair bound all her life, though her mother says she never let disabilities define her daughter.
In the News
Mary's Magical Place plans Hendersonville half-marathon
Runners will hit the streets for Hendersonville’s first half-marathon Sept. 17 to raise money for Mary’s Magical Place, an all-inclusive playground designed for, but not limited to, children and adults with special needs planned for Veterans Park.
Smiles Await at Mary's Magical Place
There is nothing more special than the smile of a child. But the smile of Mary McAuley was absolutely magical. Daughter of Rachel and Tommy McAuley, Mary passed away at the age of 14 due to complications from cerebral palsy.
Junior Service League gives large donation to Mary's Magical Place
The Junior Service League of Hendersonville presented a check for $47,662 to Mary's Magical Place at Veterans Park on Nov. 22. This check represented the proceeds from ticket sales, auction sales and donations collected from the 2nd annual Mr. Sumner County Pageant, which was held on Nov. 5.
Making a mark in 2016
As the end of a year is often a time to reflect on a personal level, so too should we ask collectively how we all stacked up in 2016, and what can we do better in 2017.
Women of St. Timothy donate to Mary's Magical Place
At the annual Christmas dinner for the women at St. Timothy Lutheran Church a free will offering of over $475 was collected for Mary's Magical Place. Presenting the gift is Women of the ELCA president, Kelly Miley.
Mary's Magical Place shares tentative design
Mary's Magical Place, a playground wholly usable and accessible for all, with and without disabilities, is coming further into fruition.
Mary's Magical Place wins $50K from USA Today
Mary's Magical Place has surpassed its initial fundraising goal of $500,000, thanks to winning USA Today's A Community Thrives grant-giving contest.
Positively Tennessee: Mary’s Magical Place
An entire community has come together to honor a 14 year old little girl who passed away 2 years ago. It will be in the form of a brand new playground, but , this is not just any playground.
Located off of Vietnam Veterans Boulevard, Exit #7 beside the inline hockey rinks