Oak Ridge is a city built of war, living for peace, and growing through science. In the early 1940’s, while Germany struggled to find the fuel source for the ultimate weapon, the United States battles the same race against time. In 1942, the U.S. looked for a site to build a top-secret city to create the world’s first atomic bomb. That city, enclosed behind a fence and not even on a map until 1949, is now called Oak Ridge. It stands as a testimony to the hard work and insurmountable courage of a people whose hope of ending the war gave them the strength to work on a top-secret mission called the Manhattan Project.
American Museum of Science & Energy ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-576-3200
Learn how 75,000 people kept a secret during WWII. From the frontier of Appalachia to the frontier of the nuclear age, you will learn about Oak Ridge’s leading-edge technology that continues to earn the U.S. the title of “Super Power.” Open Mon-Sat, 9 am – 5 pm; Sun 1 pm – 5 pm. Allow 1 – 3 hours. Admission charged.
Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-482-1074
Explore a child-size dollhouse, experience the wonders of a rainforest, and learn the unique heritage of the region through the eyes of a child. Don’t miss the World of Trains exhibit and the many special events, classes and camps that are offered throughout the year. Tues-Fri 9 am – 5 pm; Sat 10 am – 4 pm; Sun 1 pm – 4 pm; Mondays (June through August) 9 am – 5 pm. Admission charged.
DOE Facilities Public Bus Tour ~ Departs from AMSE ~ 865-576-3200
Explore original Manhattan Project sites around Oak Ridge and learn the history behind the world’s first atomic weapon which helped to end WWII. Tour schedule varies seasonally. Call for more info. US Citizens only age 10+.
Historic Jackson Square / Greenwich Village ~ Oak Ridge
Jackson Square lies at the center of the historic district that was once the original Townsite of Oak Ridge. During the war, this facility was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, it features unique shopping, dining and historic displays.
International Friendship Bell ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-482-7821
The first monument between a U.S. Manhattan Project city and Japan, the bell serves as an expression of hope for everlasting peace. FREE.
K-25 Interpretive Center ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-574-9683
View the historic former Manhattan Project facility in this overlook that features pictures, historic displays and a video. Open daily, dawn till dusk. FREE.
New Hope Center ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-574-3280
Located at Y-12, one of the original Manhattan Project facilities, this center houses historic displays and videos about Y-12. Mon-Thurs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. FREE
Secret City Commemorative Walk ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-482-7821
A memorial dedicated to everyone who came at their nation’s call, to a city that was not on any map, to help end the greatest war this world has ever seen. FREE
Secret City Scenic Excursion Train ~ Oak Ridge ~ 865-241-2140
Ride the Atomic Train on a 14-mile excursion to learn about the birthplace of the atomic age. Plan your visit around a dinner train or special event ride like the Fall Colors or Santa Trains. Train runs select Saturdays and Sundays from February to December. Admission charged.
Wheat Community Burial Ground ~ Oak Ridge ~ 800-887-3429
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. FREE.