Discover Unforgettable Moments in Northwest Tennesseeby Regan Green - Travel Writer

Does anyone remember their parents trying to trick them into enjoying educational experiences growing up? It was easy in the summer: there were caterpillars becoming butterflies in the backyard, blooms unfurling in the sunshine, and plenty of other outdoor fun activities to engage in. But it isn’t as easy in the winter to find something educational and fun without turning to an app or a website.

Enter Discovery Park

Discovery Park has a huge variety of exhibits and features to explore. They’re educational, they’re interactive, and most importantly they have a heating system that works wonders. Just kidding. Most importantly, Discovery Park isn’t just a black screen that just stares back at you. Martin, Tennessee, is a quick 10- to 15-minute drive from the museum and has ample lodging, a great food scene, and tons of unique local shops downtown. It’s the perfect place to stay after you spend the day exploring the museum where you can treat yourself to some retail therapy for being such a stellar parent determined to spark creativity, wonder, and imagination in your little one.

At 100,000 square feet, Discovery Park has an extensive list of exhibits to check out, ranging from the sciences to the arts. One of the main attractions is, of course, the Dinosaur Hall. Kids (and adults) have been fascinated with dinosaur fossils long before Ben Stiller tamed a T-Rex like a dog in Night at the Museum, but you can’t help but imagine the surrounding skeletons secretly playing fetch at night as you walk around this larger-than-life exhibit.

Another crowd-pleaser is the Transportation Gallery, a showcase of historical vehicles, including a 1916 Ford Model T and the Budweiser #8, which Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove in his final season with Budweiser. The Science and Space Gallery will take you on a journey through the universe, the Energy Gallery is a hands-on-experience that visualizes the conversion of energy into electricity, and the Southern Artist Showcase Gallery is a multimedia exhibit of some of the best work by Southern artists.

A short drive away, Martin has a wide variety of restaurants and shopping opportunities downtown.  Stop by  the charming local coffee shops for hot coffee and delicious pastries and desserts. Martin has three unique cafes that all offer a unite experience and vibe. Check them out here: Higher Ground Coffee Co | Martin’s Coffee & Bakery | Vantage Coffee Roasters.

If you’re an early riser with a big appetite, look not further than Blue Oak. This steak house recently began offering big breakfast options and local are flocking to give it a try.  Enjoy a full breakfast featuring classic home-style cooking: pancakes, omelets, bacon, biscuits, the whole shebang. Get your French Toast fix and leave full and fueled for a day filled with shopping and fun in Downtown Martin and Discovery Park. 

If you didn’t get enough breakfast at Blue Oak Oyster Bar & Grill , you can always double down on dinner. The best local burger is called the Luther and can be found at The Grind Mac and Cheese. They top this prime grind burger with cheddar cheese fondue, bacon, and a slice of cheddar cheese and put it all between two warm grilled glazed donuts. You can never have too much breakfast after all. Don’t miss their milkshakes while you’re here. They call these “over-the-top shakes,” and when you order one, you’ll know why. You’d be able to spot one of these coming out of the kitchen from a mile away. They’re literally overflowing with toppings like whole churros, Klondike bars, and s’mores. Needless to say, kids love this place. After a long day of educational fun, who among us doesn’t need a good sugar rush?

After your dinner, hit the downtown shops (they’re varied enough that everyone in the family can find something they love), and then hit the hay at The Pecan Grove Bed and Breakfast – a West TN treasure of rustic log cabins that have been featured in several publications and boasts great reviews. You will enjoy the homestyle full breakfast served at 9:00 a.m. including homemade biscuits, gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, orange juice, Kona coffee from Hawaii, and strawberry freezer jam. This is certain to keep you full on your ride home. Be sure to come back again to see what’s new at Discovery Park because they’re always adding new exhibits for family-friendly, educational opportunities, guaranteed to challenge the mind and spark some seriously unforgettable moments.