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DPA - Where the dinosaurs roam and the skies are not cloudy all day
Russell Orr, Discovery Guide and educator at Discovery Park of America, takes a sneak peek at the mechanized dinosaurs of Jurassic Journeys.

The Discovery Park of America, aka DPA, in small town Union City Tennessee will be home to dinosaurs until the end of 2016. Then the prehistoric giants brought to life in a traveling show by Kokoro Company will lumber away to their next engagement. In the meantime, Jurassic Journeys will bring encounters with the prehistoric monsters familiar to movie goers in the Jurassic Park movies to thrill and chill old and young.

It is a show fit for P. T. Barnum. According to a DPA press release " Wander through the winding trail that will take you past a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Stegosaurus, a Pachycephalosaurus, a Maiasaura, a Deinonychus pack attacking a Tenontosaurus, a Triceratops, a Mosasaurus, an Elasmosaurus and a Pteranodon. Watch as these creatures move, roar and appear to come to life before your eyes!"

The Discovery Park of America is fast becoming one of the most see attractions for those visiting West Kentucky and West Tennessee. Located two hours north of Memphis, one hour south of Paducah (on four lane roads) and most importantly, seventeen miles south of Clinton Kentucky on a scenic back road, the Park is an amazing place.

When asked what is special about DPA, spokeswoman Mary Nita Bondurant said ""What is really special about Discovery Park of America is that it is world-class, it could be located anywhere....Atlanta, St. Louis, Nashville...but, it's not, it is in Union City, TN. It is really something to have an attraction of this magnitude located in this rural town, population just over 10,000!"

Bondurant, who has been with DPA since its beginning, is not exaggerating. Coming upon the Park and seeing the observation tower on the white building, the train station, frontier village spread out evokes a "Wow" from first time visitors. The interactive learning and teaching site sprawls over 50 acres and invites visitors to experience 250 million years of history in its Discovery Center and on its grounds.

Since opening in November 2013, the Park has entertained over 750,000 visitors. The Discovery Park of America was born out of the generosity of Union City residents Entrepreneur and philanthropist Robert Kirkland and his wife Jenny who donated more than 142 million to build and provide operating and expansion funds. for Discovery Park of America in Union City (population 11,000), a rural Tennessee community located 115 miles north of Memphis and 170 miles west of Nashville.

The Kirklands enlisted the aid of national names in design to make DPA a stand out attraction. The Discovery Center was designed by museum architects from Boston-based Verner Johnson. Exhibits were designed by Thinc Design of New York, and fabricated by New Jersey-based Maltbie. The Aquarium was designed and installed by Tenji of California. At right, families enjoy the summer concerts on the lawn of DPA.

Compared to the costs of similar attractions, costs to tour the facility are modest. A year membership is $60 - which includes free fishing on the grounds and other perks.

From the DPA website:

Adult (ages 13-64) Single Day


Adult 2-Day Special*


Child (ages 4-12) Single Day


Child 2-Day Special*


Senior** (ages 65+) Single Day


Senior** 2-Day Special*


Children 3 & Under


During October, visitors can wander through the McDonald's Pumpkin Village, one of the many attractions included in the admission price. Shown at right, a friendly straw lion waits to greet children.DPA Pumpkin Village lion

Special exhibits and traveling shows, like Jurassic Journeys, are a small added expense. To go through the exhibit is $5.00 for all students, $6.00 for Discovery Park members and groups of 20 or more, and $7.00 for all others. Pre-kindergarten children are free.

The Park is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 - 5:00.

One of the most attractive things about the Park is that the management does not operate on a "if you build it, they will come" mentality. Upcoming permanent displays and attractions promise to bring in new visitors and tempt regulars to return.

2017 promises more to do and see at The Discovery Park of America:

  • JANUARY 15 - APRIL 30, 2017- Da Vinci Machines and Robotics (ATA Traveling Exhibit Hall)
  • JANUARY 20, 2017- 70's Dinner Show
  • FEBRUARY 14, 2017- Valentine's Day Dinner in Dino Hall
  • MARCH 16, 2017- Dinner Theater (TBD)
  • MARCH 25, 2017- Rubber Ducky Race
  • APRIL 1- Southern Nights Concert (TBD)
  • APRIL 6 - OCTOBER 26, 2017- Libation Station opens for the summer. Enjoy LIVE entertainment, adult beverages and snacks every Thursday evening through October with weekly entertainment on the DPA website.
  • APRIL 15, 2017- Dino Egg Hunt
  • APRIL 21 - APRIL 23, 2017- Civil War Days
  • APRIL 28, 2017- Movies on the Lawn
  • MAY 6, 2017- Southern Nights Music Festival
  • MAY 13, 2017- Cardboard Boat Regatta
  • MAY 18, 2017- Singer Songwriter Event
  • MAY 26 - MAY 29, 2017- Military Living History Weekend
  • MAY 29, 2017- Open for Memorial Day (Members get in FREE, all others $10.00)
  • JUNE 14 - SEPTEMBER 30, 2017- Made In Tennessee Traveling Exhibit (Reelfoot Room)
  • JUNE 24, 2017- Discovery Park of America Car Show
  • SEPTEMBER 2, 2017- Southern Nights Music Festival
  • SEPTEMBER 4, 2017- Open for Labor Day (Members get in FREE, all others $10.00)
  • SEPTEMBER 15, 2017- Cornfest Concert on the Great Lawn
  • SEPTEMBER 16, 2017- The Great American Airshow
  • SEPTEMBER 30, 2017- McDonald's 5K / Fun Run (Proceeds go to Ronald McDonald Charities of Memphis)
  • OCTOBER 1 - OCTOBER 31, 2017- McDonald's Pumpkin Village
  • OCTOBER 13, 2017 - JANUARY 7, 2018- World of Giant Insects (BUGS!) Traveling Exhibit (ATA Traveling Exhibit Hall)
  • OCTOBER 7, 2017- Beer, Blues and Brats
  • DECEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 30, 2017- Christmas Lights!
  • DECEMBER 2, 2017- David Johnson Chorus in Dino Hall
  • DECEMBER 3, 10 AND 17, 2017- Polar Express at the Train
  • DECEMBER 31, 2017- Children's "Noon" Year's Eve Daytime Celebration!
  • DECEMBER 31, 2017- New Year's Eve Gala

The Discovery Park of America is the perfect example of what a creative spirit can achieve. Mr. Kirkland lived to see his dream come true.

The folks at DPA are committed to keeping his dream alive.


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