The Messenger has “Dis-cover”ed the date for the long-awaited ribbon-cutting for Discovery Park of America. The 50-acre multi-million dollar education and entertainment venue being built on Everett Boulevard in Union City, in the northwest quadrant of the city, will host the event Nov. 1 at 10 a.m., in conjunction with the Obion County Chamber of Commerce, according to chief executive officer Jim Rippy.
“I can hardly wait to see the impact that Discovery Park of America will have on this region,” Rippy says. “I’m excited for the hotels, the other tourist attractions, the retailers and restaurants. Everybody needs to get ready for at least 150,000 visitors a year … and, it may be more.”
A VIP dinner, in anticipation of the official excitement, is planned for mid-October and an exciting grand opening will be held in the spring of 2014, but the facility will be open to the public from the Nov. 1 date forward, Rippy says.
DPA, the exciting dream envisioned by Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland of Union City as a place where local residents — children in particular — could “see beyond” the ordinary and routine and begin to make giant steps of Discovery in a variety of directions, was first called to the attention of area citizens in October 2007.
Since that time, with the work of more than 200 local volunteers planning the exhibits which will be showcased both within the futuristic Discovery Center and on the grounds and helping to put them in place, DPA has made amazing strides and is reaping attention from around the country.
The Kirkland family foundation is underwriting the majority of the expense associated with start-up, as well as making provisions for ongoing and ever-changing exhibits.
Rippy says visitors are expected to come from all over the United States and from abroad, as well, but home folks will always be the guests the Kirklands and others who have labored so long on the project are most interested in pleasing. In addition to the hundreds of fascinating artifacts and exhibits planned for DPA, there will be monthly opportunities to enjoy “name brand” entertainment events staged outdoors, particularly in the specially-constructed amphitheater, and in Discovery Center, where dinosaurs, a giant human figure and huge woolly creatures will preside over fascinating displays, many of which will be interactive.
Published in The Messenger 6.19.13