Discovery Center at Murfree Spring

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Discovery Center
Type Children's museum, Nature center
Location 502 S.E. Broad Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
Area 20 acres (8.1 ha)
Created 2002

The Discovery Center is a children's museum, nature center and wetlands boardwalk near downtown Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Exhibits include themed exploration areas for town life, science, trains, cars, a fire engine and farmers market. There are live animals on display, an outdoor nature play area, and trails through the wetlands.


The Discovery Center began as the "Discovery House", a children's museum, in 1986.[1] During its first year of operation it had 11,000 visitors.[2]

In 1995 after it outgrew its old location the Discovery House staff, Congressman Bart Gordon and Murfreesboro Mayor Joe Jackson, with the help of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, began to study the possibility of reusing the vacated site of the old Murfreesboro Water & Sewer Plant. After several years it was decided that, for environmental reasons, the old structures should be demolished and new buildings built.

In 1996 the City of Murfreesboro leased 612 acres of city land to the Discovery House. The Board of Directors, with the help of local citizens, was able to procure a large amount of privately donated wetlands. They then began a grassroots funding campaign to raise the money needed for the 'Discovery Center". By 1999 $1.8 million had been raised and the construction of the 18,000 sq ft (1,700 m2) center began in 2001. Its grand opening was held August 3, 2002.

As well as its museum the Discovery Center includes 20 acres (81,000 m2) of wetland. The Discovery Center and the City's Greenway trail system and parks have reversed decades of local environmental damage and preserved large areas of vanishing wetlands and natural areas which include rare native plants. The Discovery Center marsh contains the state's largest population of sessile water-speedwell.[3]

Today the Center receives over 130,000 visitors annually.[4]


  1. ^ "About Us". Discovery Center. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Tara MacDougall new CEO of Discovery Center". WGNS Radio. June 1, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Murfreesboro-East Franklin and Pinhook-Radnor 161-KV Transmission Lines" (PDF). Tennessee Valley Authority. March 2007. p. 37. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Discovery Center adds Lifelong Learning classes". The Daily News Journal. February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 

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Coordinates: 35°50′19.0″N 86°23′13.0″W / 35.838611°N 86.386944°W / 35.838611; -86.386944