A few years ago, we were driving toward Knoxville, TN and saw a sign for the American Museum of Science and Energy. We decided to stop and take a tour. It was such a unique visit that we went back again a few years later when the kids were a bit older. My friend Amy took a family vacation day a while back and toured the Museum and surrounding area. There’s so much to learn and experience in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Here is a recap of their visit.
American Museum of Science & Energy
from Amy N: If you are planning to be visiting in the area, I have to recommend Oak Ridge, TN. That’s where the Manhattan Project happened (the atom bomb that ended WWII). The town was built in a just a few weeks to secretly build the bomb. Workers weren’t told what they were building, it was all top secret. Lots of scientists moved there (My husband had family that worked for the Department of Energy for years and his dad worked there for a while) so the whole area is very science/nature minded.
Today the town is still there and has a great museum, plus you can drive out to the sites to see where it all happened. They’re still doing some cleanup so you can’t go inside the buildings, but you can ride a train around the perimeter. Some of the old motivational signs are still there (one reminding workers how evil Hitler is was especially creepy) and you can see the guard shacks. It’s freaky, honestly. Hard to imagine everything that happened there and how the government managed to keep it secret.
If you’re not familiar with the history of the town you should definitely start your day at the American Museum of Science and Energy .
Admission is fairly cheap: $5 adults, $4 kids, kids under 5 are free.
There’s a big display explaining how the town was built and what happened there as well as lots of display pieces and pictures. Kids won’t fully understand this part, but it’s very interesting. The rest of the museum is neat too, with lots of science exhibits.
After your education you should drive out to the old K-25 facility and take the Secret City Scenic Excursion. This isn’t cheap, but lasts about an hour and combines history with a fun train ride. $19 adults, $15 kids.
I had to do some digging to find some pictures of our visit from summer, 2009. It looks like we need to make another visit. The kids have grown so much, they would be ready to see it all brand new.
Have you ever visited this museum? Do you enjoy taking your children on vacation outings where they learn?