There’s a whole world to discover in the 50-acre heritage park at Discovery Park. Included is a man-made river flowing through the extensively landscaped property, along with waterfalls, bridges and art installations. The water is drawn from a natural underground aquifer. The water is used to turn the waterwheel on the gristmill on its way to the lake. Although you won’t notice, the entire park was slightly graded from north to south to aid in the flow of the water as it travels through the stream, over four small weirs and into the South Lake. From there, the water is pumped through more than 18 miles of lines and used to irrigate the turf, trees, and landscape beds. Depending on the time of year and day, a stroll through the park’s roughly two miles of walking path, may include sightings of some of the animals who call the park home, including rabbits, turtles, ducks, geese and egrets. Many species of fish can also be found. The South Lake features the Final Flight wetlands, an area inspired by the shallow waters of Reelfoot Lake.
There are many beautiful gardens located throughout Discovery Park. On the south side of the park, in front of The Chapel, is the Chapel Lawn with a fountain. Surrounding this lawn is the American Garden. This informal space features a pergola with a dramatic entrance to the Covered Bridge. The Civil War Memorial Garden is in Freedom Square, also on the south side of the park, and stands in honor of Union and Confederate soldiers who served in what remains our nation’s bloodiest conflict. On the north side of the park, the Japanese Garden, the European Garden and The Maze all sit close together. The European Garden features a geometric layout reminiscent of the formal gardens of Europe with a fountain in the center and stately columns along the sides.
The Japanese Garden features Japanese-style architecture and a beautiful water feature complete with a school of koi fish.
Unlike other gardens, Discovery Park is best experienced with all the senses, so feel free to take off your shoes and feel the grass beneath your feet. Guests will find “Please feel free to walk on our grass” signs throughout the park.