Discovery Park of America, currently under construction in Union City, TN, will soon offer visitors a world-class educational and entertainment experience. With more than 70,000 SF of exhibits focused on nature, science, technology, history, and art, the 50-acre complex will open in mid-2013.
Discovery Park’s mission is education: To enhance children and adults’ educational experiences and to inspire them to reach their full potential. Discovery Park’s exhibits and programs will compel visitors of all ages to “see beyond” their current level of knowledge in many areas.
The Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation is Discovery Park’s principal benefactor. The Kirkland’s are long-time supporters of education in the area. Their foundation has donated or committed approximately $80 million to the creation of Discovery Park and has created a program of $2-3 million continuing support after opening for operational support and expansion.
Cooperation and Involvement
Discovery Park of America is a cooperative endeavor with the citizens of Union City, as well as Obion and surrounding counties. Hundreds of dedicated volunteers are helping plan each area of the venue. Local and state government has also taken an active role in the Park’s development.
The centerpiece of Discovery Park will be Discovery Center, a 100,000-square-foot building that will showcase ten exhibit galleries: Children’s Exploration, Energy, Enlightenment, Military, Native Americans, Natural History, Regional History, Science/Space/Technology, and Transportation. In addition, a Special Exhibit Gallery will feature travelling exhibits.
Discovery Center’s multi-story atriums will be filled with exhibits that invite visitors to open their minds to a greater understanding and appreciation of our world…past, present and future. Highlights include:
- A theater simulation of the 1811-12 earthquakes that shaped the land in this region as well as a planetary tour in the starship theater.
- A 20,000-gallon aquarium revealing the underwater life of Reelfoot Lake.
- A 60-foot replica of a human body with a 30-foot slide.
- Dinosaurs, fossils, Native American artifacts, military equipment, vintage automobiles, and dozens more hands-on experiences for children.
Discovery Center will also include a Grand Hall with space for meetings and social events for groups of approximately 300 people, as well as a Tower Room that will accommodate about 70 people.
Outside at Discovery Park
Discovery Park’s 50-acre site will offer visitors a variety of experiences. Highlights include:
- A water feature that bisects the site, flowing north to south. Originating at the circa-1800s gristmill, the water feature includes waterfalls and bridges as well as extensive landscaping. Japanese, European and American gardens will allow visitors to connect with nature and learn about plants and flowers from around the world.
- Log cabins, farm buildings and equipment, and family items providing a glimpse into rural life in the 1800’s.
- A 100-year old church as well as a train station with a locomotive and various cars.
- A salute to American’s independence including a replica of the Liberty Bell.
Discovery Park is scheduled to open Fall 2013.