Discovery Park of America Unveils First Guidebook as Museum and Heritage Park Prepares to Reopen to the Public

Union City, Tenn.—According to Lauren Sims, director of guest services and retail at Discovery Park of America, the number one most requested item in the gift shop since opening has been a guidebook. When the 50-acre heritage park reopens to the public on June 1, 2020, that need will be met as Discovery Park just received a shipment of its first official guidebook. A link to purchase the guidebook on Amazon is now available at

Sims, who has been with the organization since it opened in 2013, is responsible for stocking the gift shops with merchandise that ranges from apparel to unique items made in the region.

“Discovery Park is such a unique place that features things you cannot see and experience anywhere else in the world,” said Sims. “It’s no wonder to me guests want to take a small piece of it home with them when they leave.”

The 50-page guidebook opens with a brief history and acknowledgement of the founder of the organization, Robert Kirkland, with his quote, “Discovery Park of America should enhance education for children as well as adults and do it in an entertaining way. I hope it will be a destination that people will visit again and again and walk away each time with an expectation for continued innovation.”

This official guidebook, designed by Discovery Park’s graphic designer, Carly Christiansen, features more than 175 photographs along with descriptions and unique facts about the entire museum and park. Also included are stories and behind-the-scenes details combined with images of the galleries and artifacts both inside and out. The guidebook is intended to be useful during a visit or afterwards to continue to benefit from the one-of-a-kind experiences that can be found at Discovery Park.

Polly Brasher, Discovery Park’s director of education, was instrumental in providing many little-known details that make this guide such an asset. Brasher worked closely alongside Kirkland and others as Discovery Park was being built, and she created the training manual used by the museum and park’s docents and other employees. Throughout the guidebook are references to many of the individuals who contributed to the items on display, as well as fascinating details about where some of the artifacts originated that provide a more comprehensive look at the museum and park.

“The biggest challenge was determining what not to include,” noted Jennifer Wildes, Discovery Park’s collections and exhibits director. “With more than 5,000 items in our collection, it was a challenge for the team working on the guidebook to choose the artifacts we thought would be the most enlightening.”

Caption: Lauren Sims, director of guest services and retail at Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tenn., is stocking the Hugh Wade Feed Store with the new guidebook as the 50-acre heritage park plans to reopen to the public on June 1, 2020.