Oak Ridge is a city built of war, living for peace, and growing through science. In the early 1940’s, while Hitler and the Germans struggled to find the fuel source for a weapon that would give them the ultimate power, the United States was in the same race against time. In 1942, when thousands of soldiers were battling on the front lines across Europe, the U.S. government was looking for a site where they could build a top-secret city that would be used to create the world’s first Atomic Bomb. That city, which was enclosed behind a fence from 1942 until 1949 and was not even on a map until 1949, is now called Oak Ridge. It stands as a living testimony to the hard work, secrecy, and insurmountable courage of a people whose hope of ending the war gave them the strength they needed to leave their families behind and travel to a city that didn’t exist, to work on a top-secret mission called the Manhattan Project.
American Museum of Science & Energy
300 South Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge
Learn how 75,000 people kept a secret during WWII. Explore the Frontier of Appalachia to the Frontier of the Nuclear Age as you learn about Oak Ridge’s leading-edge technology that continues to earn the U.S. the title of “Super Power.” Admission charged.
Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge
461 West Outer Drive, Oak Ridge
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. Admission Charged.
Secret City Scenic Excursion Train
Highway 58, East TN Technology Park, Oak Ridge
Ride the Atomic Train on a 14-mile excursion to learn about the birthplace of the atomic age on a one-hour ride. Plan your visit around a dinner train or special event ride like the Fall Colors or Santa Trains. Select Saturdays, April – Oct, plus event weekends Feb, Nov, and Dec. Admission charged.
Historic Jackson Square/Greenwich Village
East Tennessee Avenue, 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.
K-25 Interpretive Center
Highway 58, Oak Ridge
View the historic former Manhattan Project facility in this overlook that features pictures, historic displays, and a video. Open daily, dawn till dusk. FREE.
International Friendship Bell
Badger Ave., 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.
Secret City Commemorative Walk
1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge
A memorial dedicated to the men and women 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
DOE Facilities Public Bus Tour
Departs from American Museum of Science and energy
Explore the original Manhattan Project sites around Oak Ridge and learn the history behind the development of the world’s first atomic weapon which helped to end WWII. Tour runs M-F, June thru Sept., except major holidays. US Citizens only age 10+.