Discovery Park of America Let It Glow lights show - things to do with kids, holiday events, family activities, Christmas lights, photos with Santa, Polar Express, wine & painting

Discovery Park of America will be opening the “Let it Glow Light Show,” at 5:00 p.m. on November 24th, the day after Thanksgiving this year.

According to CEO Jim Rippy, many local residents requested that the light show open early, so that they could treat their out-of-town guests who are in for Thanksgiving. “There’s not much that gets people in the holiday spirit more than Christmas lights, so we are lighting things up at Discovery Park,” Jim Rippy, CEO,  said.  Grounds Director, John Watkins, has headed up the effort, but he said that it takes a large team of helpers to light the park for “Let it Glow.”  The light exhibit will be open each evening that the park is open from 5:00 until 9:00 through December 30th.  The park is closed on Mondays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so the drive through will be closed on those days as well.  According to Watkins, there are over 400 thousand lights…over 26 miles if you stretched them all out.   The exhibit is sponsored by The City of Union City.

The cost to drive through the light show is $5.00 per car, $10 for a 15 passenger van, $25 for a larger bus like a school bus and $50 for a charter bus.  The access road is almost a mile long, so we expect it to take about ten minutes to drive through the luminations, with one of the highlights being a 60 foot drive through tunnel of dancing lights.  “We hope everyone will come out enjoy this amazing light show,” Rippy said.

Other December activities include “Photos with Santa” each Saturday from noon until 5:00.  According to park officials, everyone is invited to bring a camera and snap a photo with Santa, who will be located in Dinosaur Hall this year.  There’s no extra charge to visit with Santa, it is free with park admission.  Plus, Discovery Park has a mail box that is guaranteed delivery to the North Pole, so your children are welcome to bring their letters to Santa and mail them in the special mailbox which will be in the Discovery Center lobby on Saturdays.  All letters with a legible return address will receive a reply from Santa!

Sunday afternoons bring Polar Express at the Train Depot. Tickets for Polar Express went on sale in July, and the event is completely sold out.  Everyone who purchased a special Polar Express ticket is welcome to bring their children in their pajamas for their appointed show.  If you would like to go to Polar Express next year, you can call the park and add your name to a waiting list and you will be notified before the tickets go on sale in 2018.  This event is sponsored by ATA.

Saturday, December 2nd will be a big day at the park, as the nationally recognized David Johnson Chorus will be singing on the hour in Dinosaur Hall throughout the day.  This event is sponsored by Clark Cattle Company and is free with park admission.

Tickets are on sale now for a very special “Christmas Smoke on the Mountain,” which will be presented by the Badgett Playhouse Theater Group on December 14th in The Chapel.  There are two shows, one at 5:30 and one at 8:00 p.m., with dinner in between in Dinosaur Hall.  Green Plains is the sponsor of this dinner theater.

The park will have its monthly Wine and Paint class on December 8th, Kid’s Create art class on December 9th and the Musical History of the Christmas Carol will be presented on December 9th, as well.

One of the more popular activities we offer at Discovery Park is the “Noon Year’s Eve” party for children!  It will be held in Dinosaur Hall again this year, with crafts, food and fun for children ages 12 and under.  The party is free with park admission.  That evening, the adults will dance the night away and ring in the New Year to the music of Magi.  Tickets for the Gala are on sale now at .  Tables can be reserved by calling the marketing department at the park at 731-885-5455.

“December is packed with fun things to do at Discovery Park,” Rippy said.  For more complete information, visit the website at  Discovery Park has been open since November 1st, 2013 and will soon celebrate its one millionth guest.  “If you live around here, and you haven’t been out yet, give yourself a treat this December and come see Discovery Park,” Rippy said.  “You won’t believe you are in Union City, Tennessee,” he added.

Discovery Park is located at 830 Everett Blvd. in Union City, TN.  The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, architecture, art and fun.  Visit the park’s website for more information at


Holiday Events at Discovery Park of America 

11/24- Let it Glow Light Show opens for the season

12/2- Holiday STEM 11:30 and 1:30

12/2- David Johnson Chorus in Dino Hall

12/2; 12/9 and 12/16- SANTA!  Noon until 5:00 in Dino Hall

12/3; 12/10 and 12/17- Polar Express at the Train Depot (Sold Out)

12/10- PBS- Clifford the Big Red Dog 1:30 – 3:00

12/14- Christmas “Smoke on the Mountain” Dinner Theater 5:30 and 8:00

12/31- “Noon Year’s Eve” party for ages 12 and under

12/31- New Year’s Eve Gala with Magi

Visit our Event’s Page for more information!