Visiting the Discovery Park, located in Union City, Tennessee, is fun for children and adults of all ages. Learn about science, math, history, and other interesting educational subjects as well as being able to have tons of family fun. This world class educational center opened its more than 70,000 square feet of space in 2013.
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Meant to help enhance the learning experiences of both children and adults alike, it currently sits on 50 acres and is constantly expanding both educationally as well as geographically. The park features a huge variety of exhibits and artifacts that are located both inside the center and outside on the grounds.
Permanent Attractions and Exhibits
Discovery Center: The main attraction at the Discovery Park is the Discovery Center. Below are just a few selections of the most popular exhibitions and galleries. Guests should also keep an eye out for temporary and traveling exhibits.
Children’s Exploration area: One of the biggest draws of the center is the area built for children. With an abundance of activities and hands-on exhibits/stations, the exploration area is perfect for getting children involved by letting them learn through experience. There is a water area with experiments revolving around learning about the properties of different liquids, an area that focuses on the senses of smell and sight, and an architectural area that lets children learn through building. There are also sections that cater to the younger children, like the infant ripple pool and the toddler fantasy forest. Everyone will enjoy the huge human sculpture, standing almost 50 feet high, that visitors can enter through and slide down (as long as they are at least three feet tall).
Enlightenment: Considered one of the coolest exhibits at the park, visitors will enter through a mysterious secret passageway in a bookcase. Once inside, there are artifacts from both the United States as well as all over the world. With an actual sunken treasure artifact, a suit of armor, and other unique exhibitions like a replication of the Ark of the Covenant, this gallery never fails to amaze.
Natural history: Visitors to the park often find themselves drawn to the dinosaurs, no matter their age! Several enormous dinosaur skeletons (starting with an Apatosaurus that greets visitors and a T-rex that is a fan favorite) are on display. Guests should also check out the large projection globe that highlights how the earth has changed through the different time periods.
The Grounds: The northwest section of the park is home to a collection of 1800’s community buildings and landscaping. With a log cabin (in the “dog-trot” architectural style), a log farmhouse (with an exhibit about the Union City “Sleeping Beauty”), and heirloom garden.
Artist Showcase: There is also a section of the park that is dedicated to highlighting local artists. Artists who use mediums that can be hung on the wall are invited to submit their work for a six-month rotation.
Field trips are a frequent occurrence at the park, due to its educational mission. Discounts are offered, and field trips are available from 10:00am to 5:00pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Programs are offered at an additional cost as well. The cost of admission also includes a free admission for one adult chaperone for every four students. Additional adult admission can be purchased at a discount as well. Requests for field trips must be made at least three weeks in advance of the preferred date, which is available online through a link on the park’s website. There is also a contract that will need to be signed prior. Field trips must consist of at least 10 students to qualify for the discount, and no deposit is needed although payment is required within a month of the visit via a single payment. Contact the park staff for additional requirements and information.
There are also many teacher resources and educational information on the website as well, for classes who may not be able to make it on-site.
Dining and Shopping
The park also features a combination cafe and gift shop for patrons who visit. The cafe features a menu of family friendly foods like cheese sticks, onion rings, and pizzas. They also offer drink options like juice, milk, and a variety of sodas. They even cater! The park gift shop side has a wide selection of gifts and other souvenirs, like apparel, toys, and other children related items. Stop by and pick up a reminder of the visit, as well as something that can continue the educational journey even at home.
Discovery Park of America, 830 Everett Blvd, Union City, TN, 38261, Phone: 731-885-5455