Discovery Park of America, located in Union City, TN, offers visitors a world-class educational and entertainment experience with more than 70,000 sq. feet of exhibits focused on nature, science, technology, history and art.
History & Mission
The mission of Discovery Park of America is to enhance the educational experience of children and adults and to inspire them to see beyond their current level of knowledge.
The Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation is Discovery Park’s principal benefactor. The Kirklands are long-time supporters of education in the area. Their foundation has donated 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.
The centerpiece of Discovery Park is Discovery Center, a 100,000-square-foot building showcasing ten exhibit galleries: Children’s Exploration, Energy, Enlightenment, Military, Native Americans, Natural History, Regional History, Science/Space/Technology and Transportation. In addition, our Special Exhibit Gallery features traveling exhibits.
Discovery Center’s multi-story atriums are 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 also includes a Grand Hall with space for meetings and social events for groups of approximately 300 people, as well as a Tower Room that accommodates about 70 people.
Outside at Discovery Park
Discovery Park’s 50-acre site offers visitors a variety of experiences.
Outdoor highlights include:
- A water feature that bisects the site, flowing north to south. Originating at the circa-1800’s gristmill, the water feature includes waterfalls and bridges as well as extensive landscaping. Japanese, European and American gardens 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.
Cooperation & 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 helped to plan each area of the venue. Local and state government also played an active role in the Park’s development.
Discovery Center was designed by noted Boston Museum architects Verner Johnson Inc. The exhibits were designed by Thinc Design, located in New York. Maltbie was the exhibit fabricator from New Jersey. Aquarium displays and systems were designed and installed by Tenji . The landscape was done by Richie Smith Associates from Memphis, Tennessee.