‘STEAM Festival’ brings science to life across Tennessee

Nearly 70 partners offer array of activities for all ages, Oct. 12-22

MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Sept. 28, 2017—Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) will come to life at nearly 70 events across the state during the inaugural Tennessee STEAM Festival, taking place Oct. 12‑22.

The Festival was founded by the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring and incorporates events at a wide range of museums, schools, community centers and other attractions. A complete listing of activities and locations is available at TennesseeSteamFestival.org.

“The Tennessee STEAM Festival is like nothing we’ve seen before in the state,” said Discovery Center CEO Tara MacDougall. “We’re thrilled that so many organizations and businesses have stepped up to participate and offer truly unique opportunities to experience the fun and excitement of ‘STEAM’ in our everyday lives.”

From art classes and virtual reality demonstrations to tracking monarch butterflies and the physics of chunking pumpkins, there’s something for nearly all ages and interests at the Tennessee STEAM Festival.

Major participating organizations include:

  • Discovery Center, Murfreesboro
  • The Muse Knoxville
  • Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville
  • Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville
  • Discovery Park of America, Union City
  • Knoxville Museum of Art
  • Belcourt Theatre, Nashville

Signature events during the Festival include “physics of fastballs” clinic with the Vanderbilt Baseball team, “science of fear” lecture and screening of Friday the 13th at the Belcourt Theatre, robot challenges with The Muse and Knox Makers in downtown Knoxville’s Market Square, and much more.

While most of the Festival’s events are free and open to the public, some are subject to admission charges and space limitations.

In addition to the various events, the Tennessee STEAM Festival will provide outreach opportunities like Sounds of Science: Be Brilliant, Be Sharp. This hands-on set of science activities promote intergenerational explorations of sound. The Discovery Center, in partnership with the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon County’s Afterschool Network, has developed hands-on activity kits that will be facilitated by science and education students from Middle Tennessee State University’s MTeach program and held at afterschool and community sites around Rutherford and Cannon counties.

“The Tennessee STEAM Festival aspires to build interest and excitement in science, technology, engineering, art and math. Our goal is to help cultivate the next generation of citizen and professional science advocates and practitioners. We hope that many thousands of Tennesseans will be able to participate and, perhaps, learn something new or be inspired,” MacDougall said. “And we’re so grateful to our sponsors and partners who have supported this vital effort in communities throughout the state. We couldn’t have launched this Festival without them.”

Other participating organizations:

  • Adventure Science Center, Nashville
  • Arrington Vineyards
  • Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury
  • Batey Farms, Murfreesboro
  • Blount County Public Library, Maryville
  • Central Magnet School, Murfreesboro
  • Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, Nashville
  • East Tennessee History Center, Knoxville
  • The Grove, Murfreesboro
  • Hobgood Elementary, Murfreesboro
  • Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville
  • Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum
  • Lanes, Trains, and Automobiles, Murfreesboro
  • Linebaugh Library, Murfreesboro
  • Lotz House, Franklin
  • McFadden Community Center, Murfreesboro
  • Montvale Elementary, Maryville
  • Murfreesboro Center for the Arts
  • Murfreesboro Municipal Airport
  • Murfreesboro Parks & Recreation
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Patterson Park Community Center, Murfreesboro
  • Rutherford County Farmers’ Market, Murfreesboro
  • Schulz Brau Brewery, Knoxville
  • Schwan Cosmetics, Murfreesboro
  • Seven Islands State Birding Park, Kodak
  • Short Mountain Cultures, Woodbury
  • Sinking Creek Farm, Murfreesboro
  • Spring Hill Senior Center
  • Clair Street Senior Center, Murfreesboro
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville
  • Union Grove Elementary, Friendsville
  • University of Tennessee Arboretum, Oak Ridge
  • Volunteer Princess Cruises, Knoxville
  • Voorhies Engineering Technology, Murfreesboro
  • West Town Mall, Knoxville
  • Zoo Knoxville

The Tennessee STEAM Festival was developed by the Discovery Center, in partnership with the Tennessee Science Alliance.

Sponsored by TVA, Education Networks of America, FedEx, the Tennessee Section of the American Chemical Society, Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Schwan Cosmetics.

About the Discovery Center

Marking its 30th anniversary in 2017, the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring is a hands-on, environmental, cultural and educational museum located in the heart of Middle Tennessee. More than 120,000 children and families visit annually, exploring exhibits and participating in programs that promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math) education. Adjacent to the Center is the protected Murfree Spring wetlands, a natural habitat for a variety of fish, amphibians and birds. Located at 502 S.E. Broad Street in Murfreesboro, TN, the Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.explorethedc.org or call (615) 890‑2300.

Engaging Curious Minds to Fuel the Future.

# # #


Jeff Krinks, Prufrock Communications

New ‘5 Senses’ exhibit

Discovery Center unveils new ‘5 Senses’ exhibit this Saturday

Features larger-than-life eye, nose, tongue, ear and hand

NOTE TO MEDIA: Photos available

MURFREESBORO, Tenn., June 30, 2016—The color of the sky, the sound of a dog barking, the scent of a rose, the taste of chocolate cake, the feel of a cool breeze—everything that we know about the world comes to us through our five senses.

This Saturday, July 2, the Discovery Center opens the new 5 Senses exhibit, with special activities. More information about the exhibit is available at www.explorethedc.org/5senses.

Special opening day activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 (included with admission):

  • Explore Taste and Nano Foods
  • Explore Materials: Polarizer Lenses
  • Eye Spy Scavenger Hunt (prizes available)
  • Make a Craft: jingle ankle or wrist bracelet (while supplies last)

About the exhibit

Humans gather information about their environment through the use of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Each of the five senses responds to specific stimuli in the world around us, and each uses a unique part of the body to take in information. Featuring a larger-than-life eye, nose, tongue, ear and hand, the 5 Senses exhibit is full of interactive displays where you can explore your senses and actively participate as scientists as you learn how your brain computes sensory data.

Included in the exhibit are a series of STEM-ulating experiments:

  • Test your sense of smell by gently inhaling the air inside the puffer bottles. Can you accurately guess what you are smelling?
  • At the giant tongue, use technology to get up close and personal with the tongue’s “bumps” which enable us to taste what we put in our mouth.
  • How sharp is your sense of hearing? Check out the mystery sounds at the larger than life ear.
  • Want a mind-bending experience? Stare at the optical illusions to see how our brain and eyes sometimes play tricks on us.
  • Feeling brave? Put your hand inside a feely box… Can you identify what’s in there?

“We’re grateful to our Special Needs Council, which was integral to developing the exhibit’s functionality,” said Tara MacDougall, CEO of the Discovery Center. “As a result, the exhibit has a counter-top for guests who use wheelchairs. And pieces of the text and some interactives were put into place to help start a dialogue about living without the full use or function of one of our senses.

“Our hope is that this will help to build awareness and start a dialogue between guests that leads to greater acceptance and inclusion,” she added.

Exhibit sponsored by The HCA Foundation, The Hillsdale Fund, Five Senses Restaurant & Catering, Thigpen Hearing Center, Elements Massage, Dr. & Mrs. Mark Converse and Jackson National Community Fund.

About the Discovery Center

The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring is a hands-on, environmental, cultural and educational museum located in the heart of Middle Tennessee. More than 120,000 children and families visit annually, exploring exhibits and participating in programs that promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math) education. Adjacent to the Center is the protected Murfree Spring wetlands, a natural habitat for a variety of fish, amphibians and birds. Located at 502 S.E. Broad Street in Murfreesboro, TN, the Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.explorethedc.org or call (615) 890-2300.

Engaging Curious Minds to Fuel the Future.

# # #


Jeff Krinks, Prufrock Communications


2015 Membership & Admission Changes FAQ

Why are you increasing prices?

The Discovery Center is committed to delivering the best museum experience to our visitors. We have always strived to keep our admission and membership prices as low as possible.

We’ve accomplished a lot in just the last three years including the development, design, and construction of four new exhibits: Nature Play, Makerspace, The STEAM Bus, and The Science of Music. We’ve added new programs like Story time and Science a la cart, and we’ve raised the bar on early childhood education through our SPARK! program. We’ve also made a commitment to diversity and accessibility through our Kids First outreach initiative and our Special Needs Task Force.

We want to continue to provide high-quality programming and exhibits, and bring world-class traveling exhibits like Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering to you – our loyal visitors.

There’s even more exciting changes in store for the Discovery Center, and we want to share it with you! These adjusted prices will help keep the Discovery Center experience extraordinary while at the same time ensuring the necessary funds are in place to sustain our exhibits, programs, and educational efforts. Thank you for your support.

What prices are changing?

Effective June 15, 2015, our daily admission rates will increase to $8.00 per person ages two and up. Military families receive $1 off regular admission (excludes special event pricing and $3 Thursdays).
Although our basic and premier membership levels are increasing, we have added a new One + One membership level starting at just $65!

New membership levels
One + One Membership $65
Discovery Membership $100
Deluxe Membership $135 -> Best Value!
Sustaining Membership $275

Discovery Center also offers a 15% discount for current Tennessee licensed educators and active or retired military families on any membership level.

What are the new membership levels and benefits?

One + One Membership – $65
• Unlimited admission for one parent & one named child (or one grandparent & one child)
• Free admission to special events
• Invitations to members-only events
• Discounts on birthdays and camps
• Priority enrollment in camps
• 10% off in the gift shop
• $3 off* regular admission for any guest attending with the member
*not valid on discounted admission days like $3 Thursdays, Great Pumpkin Festival & Countdown to Noon

Discovery Membership – $100
• Unlimited admission for 2 named adults and 4 named children of the same household
• Free admission to special events
• Invitations to members-only events
• Discounts on birthdays and camps
• Priority enrollment in camps
• 10% off in the gift shop
$3 off* regular admission for any guest attending with the member
*not valid on discounted admission days like $3 Thursdays, Great Pumpkin Festival & Countdown to Noon

Grandparent Discovery Membership – $100
Same as Discovery Membership except
• Unlimited admission for 2 named grandparents and up to 4 grandchildren each visit

Deluxe or Deluxe Grandparent Membership – $135 <-Best Value!
All benefits of Discovery Membership, plus
• 50% off admission to over 150 participating museums in the ACM Reciprocal Program.
• One free Additional Caregiver Card
• Free admission to SPARK! during the term of the membership

Sustaining Membership – $275
All benefits of Deluxe Membership, plus
• 2 additional guests each visit
• 50% off a 3-hour facility rental or one free Discovery birthday party ($150 value!)
• Recognition as Sustaining Member in one e-newsletter

Will I get to keep my benefits under my current membership?
Members who have purchased their membership prior to June 15, 2015 will keep the benefits allotted under the membership they purchased. All members will be eligible for the $3 off* guest ticket discount no matter when their membership was purchased.
*not valid on discounted admission days like $3 Thursdays, Great Pumpkin Festival & Countdown to Noon

To purchase or renew your membership before the price change on June 15, 2015, please click here.

Winter is here!

Everyone give a big cheer! The first colony of several thousand monarch butterflies has arrived at their winter rest over in the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary, Mexico. What a journey on two beautiful wings! The monarchs migrate from as far away as Canada and New England to a stopover in Texas before flying over the Gulf of Mexico. Many of them fly almost 3000 miles! They will overwinter in Mexico until spring when warmer temperatures beckon them northward once again.

Discovery Center is proud to have participated with Journey North in this amazing wonder of nature by hatching, tagging and releasing 30+ monarchs this summer. Journey North engages citizen scientists in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. We hope our monarchs have found their way to the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary.

While the monarchs rest in Mexico other animals are preparing for winter as well. Look to the sky and you may see large flocks of birds migrating southward. Geese and ducks leave the lakes and ponds to seek warmer waters. Muskrats, otters and raccoons grow denser fur while turtles bury in thick mud as they begin their winter sleep. Observe squirrels busily gathering nuts and storing them in the crooks of trees. Winter birds visit feeders as the trees shed leaves and lower sap to begin a period of rest. Early in the morning frost may cover the ground. Our pets grow thicker coats of fur to protect them from winter’s colder temperatures and we pull our warm coats and scarves from the back of our closets. Winter is coming soon!

Discovery Center has also engaged our young citizen scientists in the Spark! program by planting a tulip garden. On November 10th and 11th they planted 50 emperor tulip bulbs. They will chart and report their observations of the garden over the next several months.

Food Allergy Smart

Preparing for a trip to the Discovery Center with our family probably looks a little different than most. After we put on our coats and shoes we also have to do one last check to make sure we have our wipes, EpiPens, and safe snacks. You probably guessed it; we are a food allergy family.

We have not one, but two young children with life-threatening food allergies. While it is not the norm to have food allergies, and rarer still to have two kids with them, the number of people with food allergies is growing at an alarming rate. According to FARE, Food Allergy Research & Education, “up to 15 million Americans have food allergies.” Also, FARE estimates that food allergies, “affect 1 in every 13 children in the U.S.”

Traveling, even in town, with our family requires extra research and preparation. We ask many questions and think through any possible scenarios that might present an issue. Is food served where we are going? If so, are our allergens present? Are there designated areas for eating? Is the place we are visiting well maintained? What is the food allergy knowledge of the staff? Basically, is the place we are visiting “food allergy smart”. It is impossible for any location to be completely safe for someone with food allergies. Even if there is no food served, others may bring food with them that contains allergens, or allergens can remain on unwashed hands or belongings. Letting our guard down is not an option, however; places like the Discovery Center, that take deliberate measures to make their facility “food allergy smart”, help families like ours in many important ways.

For a location to be “food allergy smart”, the staff needs to be well informed about food allergies. Training should be in place to understand what a food allergy is (an overreaction of the immune system), both the mild and serious forms that a reaction can take (from rash or nausea, to anaphylaxis), and how reactions can occur (by ingestion, touch, or sometimes, inhalation). Having this basic information helps facilities examine where risks to people with food allergies exist and how to reduce or eliminate those risks.

At the Discovery Center, the staff is routinely trained about food allergies. The Discovery Center also asks visitors not to eat in the exhibit areas, instead offering designated areas for eating and food programs. The staff at the Discovery Center cleans the exhibits multiple times a day. In addition, the Discovery Center has taken steps to eliminate the foods most commonly responsible for causing serious reactions from its programs, such as Snack Attack, and retail area.

While we are always cautious when it comes to our family’s food allergies, we are so appreciative of the steps that the Discovery Center takes to help keep our kids safe. Both of our children love the Discovery Center. They always have fun and learn something new when we visit. Because we know the Discovery Center is “food allergy smart”, we love it too!

Go teal for an allergy smart Halloween!

Learn about the Teal Pumpkin program.

Ideas for Non-food Treats  from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE).

Available at dollar stores, party supply stores, or online shops, these low-cost items can be purchased and handed out to all trick-or-treaters, or made available in a separate bowl from candy if you choose to hand out both options. Nearly all of these items can be found in a Halloween theme or festive colors.

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils

By guest blogger Jessica N., Mom of two fabulous kids with food allergies.

Bill’s Blog- Where did the summer go?

Wow! Where did the summer go? I can hardly believe it’s the end of vacation and time for back to school. So many of you were our guests at Discovery Center, and we really enjoyed having you visit!

Were you here when wonderful spicy aromas drifted from our kitchens as the staff busily baked loaves of zucchini bread? The DC gardens have been supplying an abundance of squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, and scrumptious blackberries. Ms. Rachel found the bounty irresistible and made lots of tasty dishes in her cooking camp and Snack Attack. Mr. Eric and Ms. Micki continue to monitor the gardens to assure they are in tip-top condition.

The gardens have also provided nectar for our honeybees and created natural vegetation and a habitat for beneficial insects like butterflies and praying mantis. The gardens also received a visit from one of Tennessee’s native snakes, the rough green snake.

I understand the gardens will soon be converted to fall crops. The sweet potatoes will be dug and the basil will be whirled into delicious pesto. Yum!

Stay connected to Discovery Center through my blog as there is always exciting news to share with you!

Insect Facts:
The number of insects is believed to be between 6-10 million. Insects have 3 body parts: Head, Thorax and Abdomen, 2 antennae and 3 pairs of legs (6 legs total). Spiders are NOT insects, they are arachnids.
Mantis Facts:
Praying Mantis eat other insects, and as pictured below they are the only insect that can turn their head side-to-side (180 degrees). Praying mantis have 5 eyes; 2 compound eyes and 3 simple eyes but only one ear. There are over 1500 species of praying mantis worldwide.

Rough Green Snake facts:
A fairly common snake, but can be difficult to see. This camouflaged snake is an excellent climber and can hide easily in green vegetation.


Bill’s Blog: Discovery Center Bees

Hello everyone! I hope you are staying cool and enjoying your summer. I’ve been having a ball seeing so many of you laughing and having a good time here at Discovery Center. Our summer schedule is full of so many exciting and fun things to do.

Have you heard the buzz at Discovery Center? No, I don’t mean the saws in Makerspace,Meet the Bees Install (20)
although I can hear the sounds of hammering and sawing as our visitors explore their creativity. I’m talking about the buzz made by our bees. Oh yes, the bees are back!


Our first colony of Discovery Center bees had swarmed in the spring and left the hive. Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honeybee colonies. We really missed our bees until Keith Elrod installed a new colony of beautiful honeybees for the observation hive. The new queen has a green spot on her back, and all of the bees are strong and industrious. The bees have settled into their routine of gathering pollen from the DC gardens, attending to the Queen, and nurturing the babies. Katie Woodward of our DC staff keeps a close watch over the bees. She recently dusted them with vitamins to insure they stay healthy. She also does her best to keep the hive free of disease or infestations of mites and beetles.

Let me share some interesting bee facts:
Bees will visit up to 2 million flowers to fill a single jar of honey.
Bees can buzz up to 15 miles per hour.
Worker bees (girls) do all the work inside the hive, care for the Queen and live for 4 weeks.
Drone bees (boys) are only for mating and die after mating.
Queen bees (girls) one to a hive, their only job is to lay eggs and they can live for about 5 years.

Our butterfly garden is in full bloom and our new bees love collecting pollen from the mint
and basil flowers. I can curl in a ball and observe them for hours! Make plans to come to
Discovery Center soon to see these marvelous honeybees at work.

Wetland Wonders


Spring took a long time to arrive at the Wetlands this year and now it is already summer!  There is so much activity to report! My animal friends are a-buzz with stories about all the children that visited Discovery Center and participated in our Wetland Wonders tour.


10257854_10152375107114591_8262904027533771679_nDuring the tour, the children saw muskrats, which are herbivores, feeding on fresh green shoots of arrowroot and cattail. Nearby sleek otters playfully swam and dove for fish. Otters are carnivores; they rely on varying combinations of aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, fish, and other prey. Many species of mammals depend on wetland habitats for survival.

Plump tadpoles have emerged from layers of mud and young turtles swim upon the surface of the water in the Lily Pad Pond. A Frogs life cycle starts in the pond as an egg. The tadpole hatches out and stays in the pond, slowly growing back legs and then front legs. As it turns into an adult frog, its whole body slowly changes. Its mouth and tongue become better suited for catching insects and other living things. As adults, only two of our local frogs spend much time in the pond: the Bullfrog and the Green Frog.



Dragonflies sport brilliant blue and green coats as they flit about in the air and water snakes slither out to sunbathe on logs. Birdwatchers have reported sightings of cedar waxwings and hummingbirds. Soon the yellow-rumped warbler will announce its’ arrival. Recently a pair of American Wigeon rested here from their long migration. They are a rare sight as they mainly stay in the southwest. You can learn more about birds and migration with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (http://www.allaboutbirds.org)

How wonderful to see the Wetlands come awake after all these months! Come to Discovery Center and walk through the Wetlands to see what spring offers to those who love and connect to nature.


Experience the wetlands on a guided Wetland Walk, Citizen Science, and Nature Nuts. Find out more here!


Bill’s Brain Building Vocabulary

Wetlands: A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. They include swamps, marshes and bogs. Wetlands are important because they contain more life than any other habitat in our area. Mosquitos, dragonflies, frogs, salamanders, and many other animals need wetlands as a key part in their life cycles. They also provide habitat for herons, ducks, and geese to live in and rest in as they migrate. Wetlands are the most diverse habitat in our area.
Learn more about wetlands . . . (http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Animals/Mixture-of-Species/What-Is-A-Wetland.aspx)

Life Cycle: a life cycle is a series of changes in form that an organism undergoes. Check out these fun life cycle games from turtlediary.com (http://www.turtlediary.com/kids-games/science-topics/life-cycle-games.html)

Migration: For animals, migration means to move from one area to another at different times of the year.

In the Driver’s Seat

When I found out that I was going to learn how to drive a vehicle the size of a school bus I was nervous and excited. I enjoy learning new things, especially if the mission behind the learning impacts the students I meet. This blog entry is about my adventure with the Discovery Center STEAM Bus (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math).

Working at the Discovery Center as an Education Specialist has been one of the best jobs I have had. This local treasure that I call my workplace offers me a dynamic environment where I am constantly growing and inspiring students in the Middle Tennessee area. For about 3 years I have been working with an outreach project called Super Science. This program impacts the 4th grade students in the Murfreesboro City Schools with hands-on science activities to supplement in-classroom learning. The time spent helping these students has been so rewarding.

We have been visiting students in their classrooms for the past 5 years. The next step for this program is to add a mobile science laboratory. This vehicle is a full-sized school bus, which was donated to us through our partnership with Murfreesboro City Schools. The retired school bus is currently making its transformation into the STEAM Bus: seating removed, lighting, flat screens, cabinets, and workstations added.

This is where my part comes in: the S.T.E.A.M. Bus needs a driver! Driving a bus requires a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This is a two-step process: I had to first pass the knowledge tests and then pass a driver’s test. In order to learn how to maneuver a 40 foot long vehicle, I have been training with Jeff Nelson at the Murfreesboro City Schools Transportation Department. He has been teaching me exactly how to drive and park a school bus.

On Day One I found out that I love driving a large bus! I sit in the driver’s seat and see the world around me with a heightened perspective … pun intended! Every day Mr. Jeff has me perform a brake test, slow down for a railroad crossing, and go out on the roads. Additionally, I need to identify the outside components of the bus, emergency exits, and buttons on the dashboard. There will be 3 parking tests that I will have to pass: side-to-side, alley dock, and parallel park. I have found my driver’s training to be much easier than my knowledge testing! I use the side mirrors all the time and take my turns with caution. One fellow driver told me: “You will do fine as long as you remember that whatever you fit the front of the bus through that the back of the bus has to make it through too!”

Learning to drive a bus has been a great adventure! I cannot wait to bring people on the finished STEAM Bus and help them learn science in a fun way. My favorite moment in teaching is when a student has the “light bulb moment” when they truly understand how something works. I am honored to bring this program to the Middle Tennessee area and see that light bulb moment happen for those that I teach.

*Courtney Morgan graduated from Lee University in 2008 with her Bachelors in Biology. Mrs. Morgan has been working at the Discovery Center as an Education Specialist since July 2011. She loves teaching people of all ages and her favorite animal is the manatee.

Bill’s Blog

Welcome to my blog! My name is Bill and I am a ball python living in Discovery Center at Murfree Spring. I have a great time here with all my animal friends, and I excited to bring you news about them through my blog.

Discovery Center is a hands-on museum and nature center which houses a collection of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals for the teaching and enjoyment of our visitors.


Let me begin my blog by telling you that we had a fire at Discovery Center in the reptile and amphibian room.  It started in my terrarium! It was in the early morning of October 1st, 2013. I was awakened by the smell of smoke and before I could call out for help and warn my friends, the sprinkler system began to rain water down on us! Oh my, we were very frightened! Our terrariums began to fill with water and became aquariums! Many of my friends don’t swim and were beginning to panic. Within a few minutes, though, the Murfreesboro firemen charged in and began to put out the fire and rescue us. Whew! Thank you, firefighters!



We were moved out of our quarters and placed in safe areas around the museum. Workers quickly began to repair the damage and soon we were all back in new homes. I think Panzer, our leopard tortoise, had the most fun with her new enclosure. It was not quite tall enough, and she enjoyed climbing over the side and wandering all around our room! Miss Shelly found a better home with higher sides and now Panzer is secure and enjoying her daily salad.






It has been fun watching the bearded dragons, Rex-Ann and Saphira. They are next door neighbors in our new home, and I think before their move they had no idea what they looked like! They just stare at each other and try to climb over their terrariums to see each other. It is so much fun to watch!





Mazie is the newest addition to our reptile family, and she was a very brave little girl during the fire. Mazie recently outgrew her small home and now resides in a new 10 gallon terrarium. She looks so sleek in her spacious home.


The king snakes, Scarlett and Rhett, have had the hardest time with the transition to new homes. I was a bit worried about them because they weren’t eating. I checked a web-site, http://www.livescience.com/7348-snakes-survive-months-food.html and discovered that just like myself, these amazing friends can go for months without food and still keep growing! Sure enough, they have begun to enjoy mealtime again and have adjusted well. They love curling up in the fresh shavings and taking long naps.


We are all doing fine and look forward to seeing you here at Discovery Center. I have many other animal friends that I will be telling you about in the future. Our Great Horned Owl, Pemberton, will have exciting news soon. You won’t want to miss it, so please visit my blog often!


If you’d like to learn more about some of my animal friends, check out these great sites:

Bearded Dragons (link to http://www.thebeardeddragon.org/)
A-Z Animals (link to http://a-z-animals.com/)
Kid Zone – Snakes (link to http://www.kidzone.ws/lw/snakes/facts.htm)


Bill’s Brain Building Vocabulary

Terrarium: a closed container for keeping small animals or growing small plants. A terrarium is usually made of clear glass or plastic.

Aquarium: a tank or other container filled with water in which water animals and plants are kept.

Transition: change from one position, stage, or situation to another.