08 January 2014

Holiday at Discovery Park

Okay, okay, before we get too excited about this new year (we = me), I need to go back and fill you in on our Christmas holiday. I know, you’re ready for projects. But sometimes driving all over the country while maintaining a positive attitude for family time is a project!

And anyway, I’m not going to subject you to twenty blurry photos of my family opening Christmas presents, or the thirty attempts at a nice family photo in front of the Christmas tree. Instead, I’m going to tell you all about our adventure here, which I first hinted about back on Photo Friday.

If you didn’t click the link to see what it was (I get it, I can’t be bothered to click links either), that’s the main building for this attraction:

It’s a big indoor/outdoor museum in practically the middle of nowhere, which just so happens to be near when my parents live. It opened earlier this year, and I jumped at the chance to have something to do in the area! My parents were kind enough to put day passes in everyone’s stocking, so the whole family made a day trip out of it the day after Christmas. A real family outing!

It’s a little hard to describe Discovery Park as there’s no particular theme to its offerings. There’s giant dinosaur skeletons that accompany a “natural history of the world”-type exhibit:

There’s a giant replica of the Gutenberg printing press:

There are exhibits on military history, regional history, American expansion, antique cars, energy, weather, optical illusions... and that’s just in the main building. Outside there’s the grounds, which have a log cabin settlement, a historic town square, a train station and old train cars, and more.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The first thing we did is go up in the elevator to the viewing gallery where we could see the grounds. It was maybe nine stories off the ground, which is impressive for rural West Tennessee. (I ignored the fact that I routinely work on a ninth floor.)

Then we tackled the main building. And by “tackled”, I mean Mr. P and I put on all the costumes in the small children’s play area.

(That’s a two-story indoor slide behind me! I didn’t go down it, as they make you take off your shoes and hold them on the way down, and I was not about to clutch my muddy riding boots in my lap just for the chance to slide.)

Then we geeked out about our respective disciplines. I found my niche here:

Whereas Mr. P found a massive slide rule:

And my brother-in-law was kind enough to take this photo of us, in which I’m geeking out because a Biology text was placed next to a Math text on the bookshelf to the hidden passage:

Totally a sign that biology and math belong together. (And isn’t my brother-in-law a fantastic photographer?!)

There was way more in that building than I can take the time to show you, so let’s fast forward to lunch!

And after we refueled, it was time to head outside to explore the grounds. There’s plenty of attractions to see, such as the aforementioned train depot, where I put myself in the role of old-timey train dispatcher:

While Mr. P hung out first in the bar car,

And then in the dining car with my mom.

We also stopped by the town square to see the Liberty Bell replica (that you can actually ring OMG IT IS SO LOUD GET THOSE KIDS AWAY THEY’LL DO IT AGAIN).

In the fire house, Mr. P could practice how to land on a trampoline after jumping from a burning building.

And at the school, we could serve as Mr. P’s pupils. Honestly, I could use a good calculus lesson.

Around this time, Mr. P asked if I’d taken enough ridiculous photos of us for the day. “NOT YET,” I replied, and pulled him toward the stocks.

Finally, after watching a local potter work his craft in the old town village:

We headed with my nephew to the hedge maze! Which is currently really more of a, uh, shrubbery maze.

Give it a few years, it’ll fill in.

We had the aerial view from climbing a tower, but my mom guided my nephew through the maze from the ground.

And if we looked up, we could see the entire grounds before us.

So hooray for that bizarre silhouette on the rural horizon! Our family had a blast, and hopefully it’ll become a family tradition to explore Discovery Park every holiday break. If you ever find yourself in rural Tennessee wanting something to do... well, now you’ve got my recommendation!


Miles said...

We've heard nothing but wonderful things about Discovery Park of America. We are really looking forward to visiting it soon. Thanks for the info about it! Hope your fam had a good Christmas and New Years!

Janice said...

What a fun way to spend the day and with the people you love too, bonus! Love the pics of all of you too :)