Discovery Garden At the Hands On! Discovery Center

1212 Suncrest Drive, Gray, Tennessee

The Discovery Garden is a new addition to the Hands On! Discovery Center located at the Gray Fossil Site NETMGA adopted this project in January 2021 before the site was open to the public. The garden is approximately 10,000 square feet of native shrubs, trees, grasses, flowering perennials, and vines.  It serves as a sustainable pollinator garden and a learning experience for the 90,000 visitors to the museum each year. The garden has recently been designated as a Certified Monarch Waystation.

Many of the plants in the garden are the same ones that existed at this site over 4 million years ago in the Pliocene epoch; others are in the same family or genus. These plants attract pollinating insects and animals that play an important role in the ecosystem. 

The adjacent shelter provides a children’s agricultural exhibit to show how agriculture relies on pollinators. The garden and shelter are designed for community involvement whether it’s tending the garden, participating in educational workshops, or enjoying the beauty of the garden. Each visitor can gain an appreciation of native plants and an understanding of pollinators in our region.