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DPA selected for inclusion as Interpretive Center on the Great River Road

Discovery Park of America in Union City was selected for inclusion as an Interpretive Center on the Great River Road.

Discovery Park of America, located in Union City, was unanimously selected for inclusion as an Interpretive Center on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway last month at the 2023 Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC) annual meeting in Alton, Illinois. 

Celebrating 85 years in 2023, the Great River Road was established in 1938 when governors of the 10 river states opted to use existing roads and highways rather than building a new continuous road, as a means of conserving land, time and money.

Stretching for 3,000 miles through and beside 10 states — including Tennessee — the Great River Road has a separate commission in each state. These commissions coordinate through the MRPC, founded to preserve and improve the natural resources, cultural heritage, economic viability, scenic quality, recreational amenities and other features significant to economic development in the Mississippi River Valley.

Interpretive Centers must first apply to be included and then go through an evaluation process after which they are voted on by the Culture and Heritage Committee of the MRPC.

Edmond McDavis III, director of the TN Delta Alliance, which is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, is the point person for interpretive centers in Tennessee.

“With the stories they share with visitors about the history, culture and wildlife of the river and the region, Discovery Park was a great candidate for inclusion as an Interpretive Center,” said McDavis. “And when I read about the addition of their new permanent exhibit about waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway, I knew they would really be able to enhance the experience of anyone traveling the Great River Road.”

On Nov. 10, 2023, Discovery Park will open a new, permanent exhibit, “Duck, Duck, Goose: Waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway.” The exhibit, created in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, explores how the government, landowners, hunters, scientists and conservationists protect and restore waterfowl populations and the land needed for them to thrive.

As one of more than 100 Interpretive Centers, Discovery Park will now be included in the free 10-state Great River Road map that shows the Great River Road’s route through all 10 states and highlights the Interpretive Centers along the way. Travelers can plot their route and find scenic overlooks, agritourism attractions, museums and more. Maps are distributed to tourists at various locations and can also be ordered on the Great River Road website. Discovery Park will also be included on future signage that indicates the locations of Interpretive Centers along the Great River Road.

“I am especially grateful we can announce this great news of our new partnership in September, which is Drive the Great River Road Month,” said Scott Williams, president and CEO of Discovery Park. “The annual celebration spotlights the countless things to see and do along the Great River Road, including visiting Interpretive Centers like Discovery Park and the one nearby at Reelfoot Lake State Park. We very much look forward to welcoming travelers along the Great River Road to Discovery Park.”

For more information, visit www.discoveryparkofamerica.com/greatriverroad.

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