Fort Donelson National Battlefield | VISITOR CENTER

Temporary Visitor Center at Fort Donelson National Battlefield

Temporary Visitor Center at Fort Donelson National Battlefield

GENERAL INFORMATION

The original Visitor Center for Fort Donelson National Battlefield, which was built in the 1960s, has been closed for renovation since 2015. A temporary Visitor Center—a double-wide mobile home—is located next to the original building.

OPERATING HOURS

The Fort Donelson National Battlefield Visitor Center is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM, except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that times can always change, so before heading to the park, be sure to get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page.

The park road is gated and closed to vehicles in the evening, but pedestrians and bikers are allowed on the park grounds until sunset. The Visitor Center is outside the gate, so park here if you want to access the grounds after hours.

AMENITIES

  • Ranger-staffed information desk where you can pick up a free park brochure and information on the Dover Hotel and National Cemetery
  • Exhibits
  • Small book / souvenir store
  • Restrooms
Information desk and souvenir store inside the Visitor Center at Fort Donelson National Battlefield

Information desk and souvenir store inside the Visitor Center at Fort Donelson National Battlefield

PARK FILM

The park film, Fort Donelson: Gateway to the Confederate Heartland, is not being shown at the temporary Visitor Center. However, it is available at www.nps.gov/fodo/planyourvisit/things2do (scroll to the bottom of the page). The film is 17 minutes long. Be sure to watch it before heading to the park so that you have a better understanding of what you are looking at when touring the battlefield. There is also a film about the Dover Hotel, the site where Confederate General Simon Buckner surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on February 16, 1862, ending the fighting at Fort Donelson.

EXHIBITS

A limited number of exhibits are on display inside the temporary Visitor Center. However, information on the actual battle is almost nonexistent, as the three information panels focus on ironclad battleships, the Dover Hotel, and Confederate prisoners of war. Watching the two aforementioned films ahead of time is definitely the best way to learn about Fort Donelson.

In addition to the information panels are a few display cases of artifacts found on the battlefield and other general Civil War memorabilia.

Display of Civil War artifacts found on the Fort Donelson battlefield

Display of Civil War artifacts found on the Fort Donelson battlefield

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

With limited information available at the Visitor Center, the best way to utilize your time is to talk with a park Ranger about what went on at Fort Donelson. I spent 20 minutes in conversation and 10 minutes reading through the exhibits. I can’t see anyone spending much more than 30 minutes for a stop at the Visitor Center.

Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on February 28, 2023
Share this article