What to do
Manhattan Project History
The Oak Ridge and Anderson County area is as diverse a region as Tennessee has to offer. From WWII history to Coal Mining disasters to African-American heritage, your visit will prove both educational and entertaining.
American Museum of Science & Energy
300 South Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge, (865) 576-3200, www.amse.org
Discover how 75,000 people kept a secret in Oak Ridge during World War II. Learn about the Oak Ridge’s leading-edge technology that continues to earn the U.S. the title “Super Power.” From a “Hair Raising” experience to the “Atom Smasher” live demonstrations, audiovisuals, machines, and devices will keep you entertained and educated. Open Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge
461 West Outer Drive, Oak Ridge (865) 482-1074 childrensmuseumofoakridge.org
Play in a child-size dollhouse, experience the wonders of a rain forest or learn the unique heritage of the region through the eyes of a child. This hands-on cultural and educational center is fun for children and adults of all ages. Open Monday – Friday 9:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Seasonal Saturday hours
New Hope Visitors Center at Y-12 – FREE
602 Scarboro Road, Oak Ridge, (865) 574-3280
Hours: Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Details: This Visitors Center is located just outside the gates of Y-12, one of the original Manhattan Project facilities used to enrich uranium by the electromagnetic process. Historic displays and and a video of Y-12′s past and present are available for viewing. Y-12 is known as the most precise machine shop in the world.
East Tennessee Technology Park Overlook – FREE
(Former K-25 WWII Manhattan Project Facility)
Hwy. 58, Oak Ridge, (865) 574-9683
Daily 9:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
View the historic former Manhattan Project Facility in this overlook that features pictures, historic displays and video.
International Friendship Bell
Badger Avenue, Oak Ridge
The first monument between a U.S. Manhattan Project city and Japan, the bell serves as an expression of hope for everlasting peace. FREE
Historic Jackson Square/Greenwich Village
East Tennessee Ave., Oak Ridge, (865) 482-8450
The original townsite of Oak Ridge built during the Manhattan Project. Now features unique shopping, dining and historic displays.
Secret City Commemorative Walk – FREE
1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge (865) 482-7821
A memorial dedicated to all who came at thier nation’s call, to a city that was not on any map, to help end the greatest war this world has ever seen.
Pre-Manhattan Project related attractions
Museum of Appalachia
Highway 61, Norris, (865) 494-7680, museumofappalachia.com
Discover the pre-WWII heritage of the area at this 65-acre Appalachian history complex. John Rice Irwin’s open-air museum is called “the most authentic and complete replica of pioneer Appalachian life in the world.” The museum, which has been featured in several national publications, contains over 250,000 pioneer relics including 30 log structures – a chapel, a schoolhouse, cabins and barns. Open daily during daylight hours
Wheat Community African Burial Ground – FREE
Hwy. 58, Oak Ridge, adjacent to East Tennessee Technology Park Overlook
Believed to be part of the Gallaher-Stone Plantation, this 1850s slave cemetery has more than 90 unmarked graves. Includes a beautiful monument in memory of those held in bondage.
Coal Miners Museum – FREE
216 N. Main Street, Lake City, (865) 426-7914, www.coalcreekaml.com
Monday – Friday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Historical artifacts featuring 1800s Coal Creek War and the third worst disaster in U.S. history.
Lenoir Museum Cultural Complex
125 Village Green Circle, Norris, (865) 426-7461
Summer: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Winter 8:00 a.m. – sundown
Discover pioneer life at this complex that includes the Lenoir Pioneer Museum, an 18th century gristmill and threshing barn.
Norris Dam State Park
125 Village Green Circle, Norris, (865) 426-7461, www.norrislakeinfo.com
Park Hours Summer 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Winter 8:00 a.m. – sundown
The first dam built in the TVA system, this area provided part of the electricity for the now historic Manhattan Project. The Park is situated on the shores of Norris Lake in the ridge and valley region of East Tennessee. Norris Lake is a sportsman’s paradise offering 800 miles of shore-line for camping, boating, fishing and more.
Other Great Attractions
Shopping for Antiques, Arts, Crafts, & Unique Items
From mouth-watering fudge in Oliver Springs to specialty shopping in Historic Jackson Square/Greenwich Village in Oak Ridge to bargain shopping on Market Street in Clinton, this beautiful area of East Tennessee is fortunate to have many innovative people and merchants who offer a diverse selection of antiques, arts, crafts and unique products.
Secret City Scenic Excursion Train
Hwy. 58, East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, (865) 241-2140, www.techscribes.com/sarm/sarm.htm
Spring, Summer and Fall season schedules.
Ride the Atomic Train on a 12-mile tour through the once secret K-25 Manhattan Project site and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Blair Community.
Green McAdoo Cultural Center
101 School Street, Clinton, (865) 463-6500, www.greenmcadoo.org
On August 27, 1956, twelve young people in Clinton, Tennessee walked into history and changed the world. They were the first students to desegregate a state-supported high school in the south. Clinton High School holds the honor of having the first Black to graduate from a public high school in the South. It was a great victory for the Civil Rights Movement. Learn the fascinating history of the twelve and how they not only changed a community but a nation at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.
Coal Creek Motor Discovery Trail – FREE
Lake City, (865) 457-4547, www.coalcreekaml.com/history.htm
Relive the history and explore the scenic mountains and streams of Coal Creek by traveling this new trail. Discover how the Coal Creek miners helped end the State’s Convict Lease System by starting the Coal Creek War and how the town survived two of the largest mining disasters in the world. The trail will take you from Militia Hill where the miners fought against the Tennessee Militia to the collapsed mines to where the miners are buried under their headstones engraved with their farewell messages written while buried alive in the ruble.
Norris Museum & Self-Guided City Tour
One Norris Sq. Norris, TN 37828, (865) 457-4542 and (800) 524-3602, www.yallcome.org
Explore a pictoral history of a city that has remained virtually unchanged since the 1930s and the construction of Norris Dam, the first TVA Dam. Along the tour, you can see orginal homes.
River Ridge Farm
220 Mike Miller Ln. Clinton, (865) 457-6774, www.riverridgefarmtn.com
Located on the banks of the Clinch River below Norris Dam, they offer a variety of experiences: Draft horse-pulled wagon rides from one to two hours, fall color tours and guided spring flower tours ranging from two to four hours and picnic shelters.
Stay with us and enjoy some of the regional attractions within a two-hour drive that has made East Tennessee one of the best vacation destinations in the United States.
- Knoxville Zoo
- East Tennessee Historical Society
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
- Cades Cove in Townsend (Directions)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Info & Directions)
- Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg
- Historic British Colony in Rugby
- Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville
- Muddy Pond Mennonite Community in Crossville
- Mayfield Dairy Farm in Athens
- Sweetwater Valley Farm – TN Cheddar in Sweetwater
- The Lost Sea in Sweetwater
- The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga
More about THE OAK RIDGE STORY
We’re so glad you’re visiting Oak Ridge! Whether you’re on your own, with a group, or touring with your family, and whether you’re interested in family fun activities, outdoor recreation, or the history of the Manhattan Project, we have several suggested itineraries prepared to help you on your journey through America’s Secret City:
- Family Fun
- History Revealed
- Outdoor Recreation
- Arts & Antiques
- Local Flavor
- Group Together