Discovery Center has 59 animals, soon to be 60!


During a visit to the Discovery Center you may see an African Leopard tortoise, a Ball Python, a Chinchilla, and maybe even a giraffe. (Just kidding about the giraffe) But when May comes, you might catch a glimpse of a Bubo virginianus.

Pemberton, a Great Horned Owl, was found tangled in a barbed wire fence. She was taken to Walden’s Puddle, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Joelton, Tennessee, where she underwent emergency surgery on her left wing. The damage to her nerves and thin-walled hollow bones in her wing was severe and she is now unable to fly.

Pemberton’s life quickly became much different. Instead of sleeping all day and stalking her prey at night, she was living inside and having to put up with a man with a perch and a glove………………

Over the next few months I will be training Pemberton, or maybe she will be training me, for use in our educational programs. She will be a perfect addition to our already outstanding array of animals. We are currently in the process of building an enclosure for her here at the DC so she can make herself at home. We hope to have her at the opening to our travelling exhibit, Animal Secrets, which opens in May 2013.

If you would like to know more about training “birds of prey,” Pemberton, or would like to follow along with our progress, you can subscribe to this blog or continue to check it weekly.

Keep your ear tufts up,


Leif Kixmiller is an Education and Program Specialist at the Discovery Center. He loves to teach children so he can pass on his knowledge and love of nature to future generations. He loves birds, books, and ice cream breaks.

Raising Confident and Comfortable Kids in a Diverse and Changing World

Multiculturalism is defined as the doctrine that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country. At Discovery Center we promote multiculturalism both as educators and advocates for the children in our community. We believe that all children and their families be accepted and respected, nurtured and educated. We believe that understanding the commonality of all people is good preparation for living in a rapidly changing world where not everyone will look, or act, just like us.

Here you’ll find a diverse mix of families enjoying our programs every day.

In 1988, working with black community leaders, we hosted our first Martin Luther King Day Event. It brought families together and became an annual event. The recently held MLK Day celebration, sponsored by Nissan Foundation, is one of ten free days offered annually.

Plan to attend our Chinese New Year Celebration, February 8 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. The event provides a great opportunity for families to learn about and embrace diversity. Activities include a chance to explore Asian New Year traditions, enjoy food samples from Chef Want’s, create a Year of the Snake craft, and watch the dragon dance.

Like everything else we do as parents, we speak most clearly through our actions. When young children observe your respectful behavior of others, it teaches them to behave similarly. When we seek out opportunities to learn about and appreciate other cultures, we are showing our willingness and desire to live in a more peaceful, harmonious world. What better gift can we give our children?


About Chinese New Year

The Chinese Zodiac depicts 12 different animals and represents the 12-year cycle of the lunar calendar. It was built on the foundation of astronomy and Chinese astrology over 5,000 years ago.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, but is unlike our calendar. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the year falls somewhere between late January and early February. The Chinese adopted the Western calendar in 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used to determine the date of Chinese New year.

People born in the Year of the Snake are said to be smart, generous, charming, analytic and good with money.


Make at Home: Year of the Snake Craft

You will need:

  • an egg carton
  • markers, crayons, or stickers
  • colored scrap paper or a bit of ribbon or cloth
  • tape



You can make your snake as simple or fancy as you want!

  • First cut the egg carton down the middle, making two long pieces.
  • Decide which end of the carton will be the head.
  • Cut a sliver of paper or cloth into a long, skinny strip for a tongue.
  • Tape it underneath the snake’s head.
  • Use tape to connect the two pieces of egg carton to make one long bumpy snake.
  • Decorate your snake with markers, stickers or crayons

Make your snake hiss and wiggle!