DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — David Rives has combined science and religion over an area greater than 100,000 square feet.
“I believe in divine inspiration, preservation, and a greater plan as a Christian,” he said.
As a kid, Rives became fascinated with life beyond and within our planet.
“I distinctly remember picking up in my backyard…I picked up rocks, but I realized some of these things weren’t rocks,” he said. “Some of them were fossils.”
So a year and a half ago when the opportunity came to purchase the old Renaissance Center in Dickson, Rives jumped at the chance.
“We really wanted something special that the public could come to and be amazed at science, and the design and the complexity of everything we see around us,” he said.
With that, the Wonders Center and Science Museum was born.
Rives spent millions transforming this massive space, filling it with unique artifacts, a few live animals, and even Tesla Coils that use their voltage to produce the sound of music.
“We really wanted to have something that not only the community could enjoy, but really everyone around the country could enjoy,” he said.
News spread in Dickson, leading Dana Wright, Kristen Raines, and their children to come up and visit.
“It’s nice,” said Raines. “It’s nice to have something like this close to take the kids to.”
“I think it’s wonderful,” Wright added. “I think it’s a great way for everyone to get educated, but it gives people something to do.”
With a 450-seat theater and even a dinner theater hidden below, Rives believes his museum will attract visitors.
“Based on projections, we really expect hundreds of thousands of people per year to be exploring this area, and many of those to be at least out of county, many times out of state,” he said.
Rives knows combining these two topics together can cause some speculation, but he believes they actually work well together, allowing the museum to create a unique experience for families stopping by.
“When you walk out, we want you to be amazed, inspired, and also thinking about the idea that these things all point towards a bigger picture, a grand designer, who made these things for us to enjoy,” he said.
The museum is officially open to the public, but Rives said they will have an official ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 10 a.m.
You can learn more about the museum here.