/ Road Trips
Road Trips — By Apryl Chapman Thomas on June 17, 2010 at 11:07 pm
Filed under: Art, Attractions, event, history, museum, outdoor, top-feature, town

The Secret (Town) is Out: Visiting Oak Ridge, Tennessee

K-25 Overlook with historical marker Would you work on something that was a secret; that is, something that you didn’t even know about?

Would you believe that the residents of Oak Ridge, Tenn., did during the the 1940s. In fact, this secret was so large that it would shape history.

And one of the more fascinating things about it is that in 1905, resident and mystic John Hendrix predicted this in a way.

Returning to back to the secret, unbeknownst to the workers and residents until 1945, this small valley located in the eastern part of the state was selected as one of the sites for the Manhattan Project. Yes, that one; the one that was the development of the atomic bomb.

This weekend, June 18-19, you can learn more about the area’s past dEngine, people boarding 2uring the 8th annual Secret City Festival. In addition to Southern Appalachia Railway Museum’s (map) Secret City Scenic Train Excursion ($15/adults; $10/children, ages 12 and  under; free/children, ages two and under), there’s the Y-12 National Security Complex Tour (open to U.S. citizens with valid drivers license and minors must be accompanied by adults), where you can view the world’s only Alpha Calutron Magnets. Special festival tours include the K-25 Heritage Bus Trail Tour (must be 10 years or older) that leaves from the American Museum of Science and Energy (map) and the DOE Facilities Public Bus Tours* (pre-registration is required; must be 10 or older, valid picture ID and a U.S. resident.)

Re-enactment 2 Don’t think that’s all to the festival, there’s more. In fact, a lot more. The weekend is filled with live entertainment featuring Chubby Checker (celebrating the 50th anniversary of the twist); arts and crafts, children’s area, and WW II Combat Reenactment and Living History. Aside from the any (or all) of the tours, you want to see the reenactment and living history since the festival is commemorating the 65th anniversary of the end of War World II.

Beyond the Secret

While there’s no arguing about Oak Ridge’s fascinating past, the town has more to it. Some places that you don’t want to miss is the above-mentioned  American Museum of Science anPioneer Cabin with blazing fired Energy, and if you are traveling with children, definitely stop in the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge (map) for some hands-on fun. Before   Oak Ridge was a name on the map, it was primarily made up of farming families and small Appalachian communities. You can revisit this time at the Museum of the Appalachia (map).

For a town of its size, Oak Ridge has quite an arts scene. It fact, it’s home to Oak Ridge Community Playhouse (map), the longest continuously ran theater in the Southeast. Watch a performance or take time to tour Oak Ridge Art Center (map).

For outdoor lovers, there’s numerous places to take a hike, literally. Walk (or run) the trails at University of Tennessee Arboretum (map), Haw Ridge Park (map) or  Oak Ridge Greenways.

Whether you’re a history buff, arts enthusiast, or lover of outdoors, the secret about Oak Ridge, Tenn., is out. It’s a place for everyone to visit.

Easily accessible to both I-40 and I-75, Oak Ridge is located within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the country’s population.

*The DOE Facilities Public Bus Tour is a three-hour tour that takes you behind scenes with four stop. If you can not make it to the festival, this particular tour runs through September 3.

photo credit: All photos are courtesy of Oak Ridge CVB. (top left) K-25 Overlook with Historical Marker; (mid right) Engine, Secret City Scenic Train Excursion; (mid left) Re-enactment; (bottom left) Pioneer Cabin with Blazing Fire at Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge

Related places:
  1. A
    Southern Appalachia Railway Museum
    2010 Highway 58, Oak Ridge, TN
    View Details and Book
  2. B
    American Museum of Science and Energy
    300 South Tulane Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN
    View Details and Book
  3. C
    Children's Museum of Oak Ridge
    461 West Outer Drive, Oak Ridge, TN
    View Details and Book
  4. D
    Museum of Appalachian
    2819 Andersonville Highway, Clinton, TN
    View Details and Book
  5. E
    Oak Ridge Playhouse
    227 Broadway Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN
    View Details and Book
  6. F
    Oak Ridge Art Center
    201 Badger Rd, Oak Ridge, TN
    View Details and Book
  7. G
    University of Tennessee Forestry Stations & Arboretum
    901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN
    View Details and Book
  8. H
    Haw Ridge Park
    View Details and Book
Tags: Art, Attractions, event, history, museum, outdoor, top-feature, town


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