Regional History Gallery

Discovery Park celebrates the unique cultural heritage and natural history of Northwest Tennessee and Reelfoot Lake, the only large natural lake in Tennessee, is a significant part of that story. Designated by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark, this beautiful scenic lake covers 25,000 acres of water and wetland where a huge variety of plants and animals make a unique ecosystem unlike anything else in the world. It was formed during the earthquakes that occurred along the New Madrid Fault in the winter of 1811-1812. In the upheaval, land on the east side of the Mississippi River sank, creating a depression that river water rushed in to fill. The earthquake was said to have been felt as far away as New England where newspapers reported it made church bells ring, and there were confirmed reports of damage more than 225 miles away in St. Louis.

The fish you may see in the aquarium include largemouth bass, black crappie, bowfin, shortnose gar, longnose gar, smallmouth buffalo and blue and channel catfish. Housed in several smaller tanks in the gallery are a red-eared slider turtle, snapping turtle and eastern box turtle. There are also several snakes, including a speckled king snake, corn snake and pine snake.

As of November 2023, the Regional History Gallery now features the indoor portion of our new exhibit, “Duck, Duck, Goose: Waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway.” The exhibit features interactive, scenic learning stations and shows the incredible work that local biologists, hunters, and conservationists are doing to protect waterfowl.

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