‘It’s just something special that I love to be able to pass on’: Bays Mountain celebrates 50 years


KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium, a landmark in the community for decades, is celebrating 50 years.

Parkgoers Rachel Phipps and Andrew Murray brought their 9-month-old son Theodore to the park.

“To be able to share something with him that I grew up with is incredible,” Phipps said. “You know, my parents grew up with this. I grew up with this, and now he’ll be able to. It’s just something special that I love to be able to pass on.”

Murray said seeing the animals is a highlight for Theodore.

“Since he’s getting kind of big enough, we want to try to get him out there and see all kinds of animals,” Murray said.

“We are an anomaly,” Bays Mountain Senior Naturalist Megan Krager said. “You don’t have too many parks that are a nature preserve, have 3,600 acres, a zipline, animals, and also a planetarium, all in one spot.”

Krager said some refer to the park as the crown jewel of Kingsport.

“We’re really excited about celebrating 50 years, not just with the staff here but with our community,” Krager said. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community itself. “

The park keeps generation after generation coming back.

“I think it’s an incredible resource for us to have, and I want him to be able to be a part of that too,” Murray said.

Celebrations are going to happen all weekend long ahead of the official anniversary date on Monday, May 24.

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