During the darkest days of World War II, a Secret City was born. 59,000 acres of farmland and fields were transformed into the largest secret scientific and technological effort of its time – The Manhattan Project. Oak Ridge was most secret place in America during that time, but today the secret is out!
Visitors can explore Oak Ridge’s history around every turn. The Manhattan Project helped end World War II and changed the world in the process. The American Museum of Science and Energy, a Smithsonian affiliate, offers visitors an interactive way to experience the city’s unique history as well as explore the modern innovative advancements achieved in Oak Ridge over the past 75 years. Spend the day looking through the museums interesting exhibits or take a bus tour of the Department of Energy’s historic Manhattan Project sites like the X-10 Graphite Reactor. Although no longer in use, the Graphite Reactor was used during the Manhattan Project in the production of Plutonium. After the war ended, the reactor remained in service producing isotopes used for medical and scientific purposes.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 Security Complex along with many other local organizations continue to make Oak Ridge one of the nation’s centers for scientific innovation. Tours of the National Laboratory and Y-12’s New Hope Center are available with reservation.
Visitors to Oak Ridge will find more to explore than just science and history. Oak Ridge is also home to over 65 miles of greenway hiking and biking trails. This vast network of trails takes visitors through beautiful wooded areas rich with wildlife, along the shore of calm Melton Lake and through many of the city’s lovely parks. Birdwatchers and flower seekers will enjoy the University of Tennessee’s Arboretum trails.
If you need a little more excitement, then bring your mountain bike to Haw Ridge Park for some of the most exhilarating and challenging mountain bike trails in the southeast. Oak Ridge is also home to two golf courses. Centennial Golf Course is one of the premier public golf courses in East Tennessee and the private Oak Ridge Country Club, home of 2-time PGA Tour winner Scott Stallings.
Melton Lake Park is one of Oak Ridge’s most inviting parks offering kayak, stand up paddleboard and paddleboat rental. With easy access to the Lake, Melton Lake Park is a popular fishing destination. In spring the park plays host to several prestigious rowing regattas. There is also a lakeside playground and gazebo perfectly situated for a lovely afternoon picnic.
But that’s not all. Oak Ridge is also city rich with arts and culture. A thriving scene for artists and performers, Oak Ridge, boasts the Oak Ridge Playhouse, Symphony, Ballet and Arts Center. Oak Ridge’s cultural offerings provide inspiring entertainment in intimate venues. Visitors will also enjoy the various arts, crafts and antique shops of historic Jackson Square.
Ready to Explore Oak Ridge? Find out more at www.exploreOakRidge.com.
Experience Oak Ridge
Born in war and built from scratch, today Oak Ridge is a small city with a big story to tell and a wealth of scientific achievement to its credit. It's remarkable history is still within recent memory, but its natural beauty is timeless.