Discovery Park of America: Explore Tennessee’s Newest Museum
Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Monday, December 3rd, 2012
A new discovery museum opening in Summer 2013 is expected to be a big draw for tourism in rural Tennessee. Discovery Park of America is being described as a “Smithsonian-like” museum and exploration park in Union City, Tennessee.
Discovery Park’s major attraction is its Discovery Center, an expansive exhibit hall designed by New York-based Thinc Design, best known for their work on the World Trade Center Memorial. With its futuristic glass and curved white aluminum exterior, the Discovery Center building is a stunning example of modern architecture. The sleek modern concept is in stark contrast with the traditional architecture of the surrounding rural area.
The Discovery Center will feature ten themed exhibits that highlight the history and beauty of our world. According to the Discovery Park website, exhibit themes range from Children’s Exploration to Energy, Enlightenment, Military, Native Americans, Natural History, Regional History, Science/Space/Technology, and Transportation. They also plan to have a Special Exhibit that will showcase revolving temporary exhibits as well.
In addition to a stunning array of exhibitions, Discovery Park will also feature an on-site theater with a movie about the 1812 earthquake that shaped the landscape of Obion County; a massive aquarium with local species of aquatic life; a towering replica of a human being that stands over 60 feet tall; and a number of hands on exploration exhibits that will surely appeal to the youngest and most curious members of your family.
With its population of 11,000 residents, Union City may seem like a surprising choice for a museum project of this magnitude. While it may be ambitious, the natural landscape of the Obion County area holds a certain appeal for visitors. Outdoor enthusiasts and explorers will be drawn in by the beauty of nearby Reelfoot Lake, one of the world’s natural wonders and Tennessee’s only natural lake. It was formed as a result of the 1812 earthquakes. It’s expected that Discovery Park will provide a huge boost for area tourism.
Hit hard by the recession and the closure of local manufacturing plants, Union City could use an economic boost. Discovery Park presents a tremendous opportunity for the long term economic growth of the area. The museum will generate dozens of jobs for local residents and projected annual revenue is over $15 million.
The Discovery Park of America project was made possible by the Kirkland Foundation, which committed over $70 million for the development of the museum. Founder Robert Kirkland was born in Union City, and is well known for his philanthropic efforts related to education in the area. His hope for Discovery Park is that, “…It will be a destination that people will visit again and again and walk away each time having learned something new about our universe, our planet, culture in other parts of the world, the unique history of our region, people that made our country great and with an expectation for continued innovation.”
With its countless opportunities for exploring, Discovery Park of America is sure to be a hit with both the young and the young-at-heart. If you’re planning a trip to Tennessee next year, it’s definitely worth visiting!Image source: Discovery Park of America