Discovery Park of America
Backstory and Context
Inspiring Children and Adults to See Beyond
In the late 1990s, successful businessman, Robert Kirkland, and his wife Jenny sold their business holdings to concentrate on philanthropic efforts, including leading their community of Union City, Tenn. in the building of a museum and heritage park. It was intended to, in Kirkland’s own words, “enhance education for children as well as adults and to do it in an entertaining way.” He added, “I hope it will be a destination that people will visit again and again and walk away each time with an expectation for continued innovation.”
The combined efforts of experts, novices and volunteers were fully realized on Nov. 1, 2013 as Robert and Jenny Kirkland cut the red ribbon. The public was impressed from the start. Not only had there never been anything like this in Obion County, there had never been anything quite like Discovery Park in the world. Although Kirkland and his wife have passed away, their vision has been realized, and each year since opening more than 250,000 guests experience this 100-million-dollar masterpiece now sitting in what was once a quiet cornfield.