(Union City, Tennessee, December 5, 2023) — Thanks to a partnership with Magnolia Place Assisted Living, children 17 and younger will receive free admission to Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee throughout the month of January 2024. There are also many other unique exhibits, experiences and programs taking place during the year.
A series of sculptures built with more than 250,000 LEGO® bricks will be on display throughout Discovery Park’s 50 acres from May 3 to September 2, 2024, with the award-winning traveling exhibition “Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects® Made with LEGO® Bricks.” Featuring works created by artist Sean Kenney, “Nature Connects” presents 18 displays of sculptures made from LEGO bricks that were specially curated to enhance a visit to Discovery Park. This one-of-a-kind LEGO exhibit is brought to you by Leaders Credit Union. Leaders is insured by the NCUA.
For more than 15 years, Kenney has been creating contemporary sculptures with LEGO bricks for high-profile clients including museums around the world. His multiple-award-winning traveling exhibitions have been touring globally since 2012, he has authored 9 children’s books and guest-judged the hit TV show “LEGO Masters.”
Included in this collection is a monarch butterfly built with 60,500 LEGO bricks that took 377 hours to build, a life-sized gardener built with 37,400 LEGO bricks that took 320 hours to build and various giant plants, animals and insects. An educator guide for the exhibit is now available online for parents or educators who would like to provide lessons before or after experiencing the exhibit. The temporary exhibit will be free with admission or membership, and there will be several week-long Lego camps this summer.
The newest permanent exhibit, “Duck, Duck, Goose: Waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway,” will be open in 2024. Created in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, the $1.1 million exhibit uses artifacts, interactive elements and hands-on experiences to tell the story of waterfowl hunting, conservation and the ecosystem of the Mississippi Flyway. It’s located both inside Discovery Center and outside in The Settlement at the William A. (Bill) Homra and Allen Homra Lodge and Landing.
This is not the only place waterfowl can be found at Discovery Park in 2024. Now through Jan. 21, 2024, a temporary exhibit, “Capturing Waterfowl: Seth Dortch Photography,” takes viewers on a waterfowl hunt through a collection of photographs taken by photographer and outdoorsman, Seth Dortch of Union City, Tennessee. The photography showcased will provide snapshots into the world of waterfowl hunting and provide a visual journey through the eyes and lens of Dortch.
From Feb. 27 to Aug. 11, 2024, the Southern Artist Showcase will feature the art of Jubie Henderson. A self-taught artist and cabinet maker from Fulton, Kentucky, Henderson was an artist with a disability whose paintings and carved birds of the southern United States won accolades and fans among art collectors and others. Although bedridden for many years, he found art was a way to remember the hills and farm country where he lived. He also painted many scenes of Reelfoot Lake as he remembered it from his youth. Henderson died in 1999 leaving behind an impressive collection of artwork.
A unique opportunity will occur on April 8, 2024, when a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada. An alternative to traveling to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Paducah, Kentucky or one of the other nearby points of totality, is experiencing the eclipse at 12:41 p.m. at Discovery Park where there will be 99.2% sun coverage. There will be fun activities and educational opportunities to provide a comfortable space for families to witness the eclipse and learn more about the science behind it.
Discovery Park recently opened the Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion and two new greenhouses. In 2024, they will provide hands-on opportunities for guests to learn about growing cycles, garden design, soil health and other topics relating to the basics of plant science.
The popular Canstruction event has been moved to February 1, 2024. This event is open to local students 10 to 18 years of age. Each team will design a 3-D structure, using only canned goods and other limited, approved materials. Teams will receive money to purchase canned food for their sculptures. The sculptures will be judged and awards presented to the winners. They will be on display in the ATA Temporary Exhibit Gallery Feb. 1 to Mar. 4, 2024.
“Pumpkin Village” returns in October 2024 with a section of the park enhanced with pumpkins, mums and other festive fall decorations.
Other popular events will return in 2024 including “Singer-Songwriter Night with Phillip Coleman,” the “Rhythm on the Rails” spring concert series on the Total Tech Solutions Stage, “Discovery Park’s Military Expo,” “The Northwest Tennessee Educational Powwow,” The “Let it Glow” Drive-thru and Walk-thru and more. In addition to the powwow, there will be other opportunities for children and adults to engage in unique ways with specific cultures including the return of Juneteenth and Hispanic Heritage Day.
Timed to be on exhibit during Discovery Park’s annual Military Expo is a traveling photography exhibit, “Vietnam: 2 soldiers. 2 Artists. 2 Journeys Then & Now.” The exhibition, on loan from Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center in Hendersonville, Tennessee, spotlights the work of David Wright and Chuck Creasey. Both were soldiers on the ground during the Vietnam War who wrote about and drew illustrations of their experiences. The exhibit includes these early artworks and works painted later from photos taken in Vietnam during the war and from a trip to Vietnam fifty years later. The exhibition will be displayed in the ATA Temporary Exhibits Gallery from March 6 – May 31, 2024.
The Northwest Tennessee Photography Club Showcase in Art Hall will be updated in June and December 2024.
For a complete list of exhibits, programs and events in 2024, visit DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com/calendar, and for helpful reminders and details about events throughout the year, be sure to sign up for the museum and park’s weekly enewsletters and follow Facebook.com/DiscoveryParkofAmerica.
Photo Caption: Misha Sams, precision ag lead
for the Tennessee/West Kentucky Division of
Nutrien Ag Solutions, with students at Discovery
Park’s 2023 Ag Day. Discovery Park has announced
a year of fun programs and events and free admission
for children throughout January 2024.