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Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Nature or Wildlife Center
Tennessee National Wildlife Visitor Center – Joan Howe

ADA Accessibility Notes

This Visitor Center is fully ADA Accessible.

The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1945 as an important resting and feeding area for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds. Situated along 65 miles of the Tennessee River, it's 51,358 acres of water, forests, farmland, wetlands and grasslands are homes for over 300 species of birds and a wide variety of other wildlife. In 2020, the refuge will be celebrating all year long it's 75 anniversary with a long list of events that culminate in an October 17th large celebration.

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service constructed a 7,000 square foot Visitor Center designed to connect people with the natural resources that abound on Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge and in the area. Overlooking a beautiful bay of Kentucky Lake this Visitor Center includes an exhibit hall, auditorium, classroom and Blue Heron Nature Bookstore. This Center is a very "kid friendly" place and perfect for families to visit!

The theme of the exhibit hall is to interpret the refuge’s mission of managing for migratory birds, while also highlighting local wildlife and habitats. These state of the art exhibits allow the visitor to interact with and explore the unique features of this area of Kentucky Lake.

The visitor center’s environmental classroom provides an opportunity for refuge staff to provide programs, field trips and workshops for local educators, students and groups visiting the refuge. All refuge programs are correlated to state standards which help the educator in field trip planning. The public should schedule field trips with the refuge at least 2 weeks prior to their visit.

Eco-Friendly Notes

The Visitor Center has a Silver LEED (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in Green Technology. From the solar panels on the roof, to the Geothermal system all parts of this building were designed to lessen the Carbon Footprint and blend in with it's natural surroundings.

How to Get There

The new refuge Visitor Center is located about a 15 minute drive from Paris. Turn onto Oak Grove Road South from Highway 79 North of Paris and follow directional signs.

Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs are welcome on the refuge as long as they are on a leash. However, dogs (excluding service dogs) are not permitted in the Visitor Center.


Monday - Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Seasons Open

Open Year Round




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