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The original item was published from 9/12/2023 3:38:26 PM to 9/21/2023 5:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: September 12, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Ceremony to celebrate final Nature Center exhibits

sloth web

Community members are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of the final exhibit at Bristol Tennessee’s Nature Center at Steele Creek Park and learn more about the giant ground sloths that once inhabited our region.

The event is slated for Thursday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m. at the Nature Center at Steele Creek Park. It will include a presentation from Nature Center Manager Jeremy Stout, who will provide detailed information about the giant ground sloth and the reasons special efforts were made to include it among the Nature Center’s exhibits. The event also will focus on the “Park after Dark” exhibit that showcases nocturnal creatures within the park.

The nocturnal exhibit is located on the upper floor, while the recently installed ground sloth skeleton has been nestled into a small space under the staircase that allows visitors to appreciate the size of the enormous creature. 

“The giant ground sloth or Megalonyx jeffersonii is one of the Ice Age megafauna,” Stout explained. “It’s not a dinosaur, but rather a mammal like you and me, and it is only recently extinct. There is a fossil record of the giant ground sloth from Sullivan County, yet many people don’t know that they existed in our own backyard just a few thousand years ago.“ 

Steele Creek Nature Center originally opened as a one-room facility in 1995, but was expanded to a two-story, 8,000-square-foot facility in 2017.  Friends of Steele Creek Nature Center & Park, a nonprofit organization that supports educational experiences within the park, spearheaded fundraising efforts for all interior exhibits. Their work will be recognized during the upcoming event. 

For additional information about the upcoming ribbon-cutting ceremony or any of the exhibits within Steele Creek Nature Center, please contact Stout at (423) 989-5616 or

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