The day after Thanksgiving is a great day to begin getting in the Christmas spirit and the “Let it Glow Light Show,”
at Discovery Park of America is the perfect place to start!Load up all those leftover relatives and head to the biggest light show in Northwest, Tennessee beginning at 5:00 p.m. on November 23rd. According to Grounds Director John Watkins, who heads up the light show at Discovery Park, 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. “We love opening the light show the day after Thanksgiving, because it is a great way to help people get in the Christmas spirit,” Watkins said. And, while Watkins has headed up the effort, he was quick to share the glory. Watkins said that it takes a large team of Discovery Park employees to light the park for the “Let it Glow Light Show.” The Grounds department, IT department and Maintenance departments all work together to create the magic, Watkins explained. The light exhibit will be open each evening that the park is open from 5:00 until 9:00 through December 30th. The park and light show will be closed on Mondays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. According to Watkins, there are over 700 thousand lights…over 30 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 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 two drive-through tunnels of dancing lights, choreographed to music. “Our guests can tune into a special radio station, 88.1 on the FM dial, as they enter the light show,” Watkins said. “They will find that often the lights and the music are synchronized,” he added.
This year, a special treat is in store as light show fans are invited to stop and visit with Santa at the Train Depot on Friday evenings from 5:00 until 9:00 p.m. For $5 each, guests will enjoy strolling through the Train Depot area while munching a special cookie from Sammies and sipping delicious hot chocolate or coffee from Higher Ground, which are included in the price. Additionally, one free group photo with Santa will be provided. Additional photos are available for $5 each.
Other December activities include “Photos with Santa” each Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., sponsored by Green Plains. 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 for members and anyone with park admission. Plus, Discovery Park has a mail box that offers guaranteed delivery to the North Pole. 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 and at Polar Express on Sundays. All letters with a legible return address will receive a reply from Santa!
Sunday afternoons bring Polar Express at the Train Depot, sponsored by ATA. 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 weren’t able to get a Polar Express ticket this year, and 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 2019.
Saturday, December 1st is a big day at the park, as the nationally recognized David Johnson Chorus is singing at the top of each hour throughout the day. This event is sponsored by Clark Cattle Company and is free with park admission. The Family Education Series (FES) will host “Laughing all the Way” the same day, with performances at 11:30 and 2:00 in the Chapel on the grounds at Discovery Park. According to Education Director, Polly Brasher, this choral group from UTM presents a musical history of the Christmas Carol that is both delightful and informative.
The park will have its monthly Wine and Paint class on December 7th, Kid’s Create art class on December 8th and the popular PBS character, Nature Cat, will be in Dinosaur Hall from 1:30 until 3:00 on December 9th.
One of the more popular activities we offer at Discovery Park is the New Year’s Eve party with MAGI. This adult only event is limited to the first 150 people who purchase their tickets either online or by calling the park at 731-885-5455. Reserved tables for 10 may be purchased by calling the park and asking for the Marketing Department.
“December is packed with fun things to do at Discovery Park,” Event Director Lauren Jones said. For more complete information, visit the website at www.discoveryparkofamerica.com. Discovery Park has been open since November 1st, 2013 and has had over one million visitors. “If you live around here, and you haven’t been out yet, give yourself a treat this December and come see Discovery Park,” Jones said. “You won’t believe you are in Union City, Tennessee,” she added.