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Sunsphere, Knoxville

4.0
The Sunsphere, in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a 266ft high hexagonal steel truss structure, topped with a 75ft gold-colored glass sphere that served as the symbol of the 1982 World's Fair.DesignDesigned by the Knoxville architectural firm Community Tectonics, the Sunsphere was created as the theme structure for the 1982 World's Fair. It was noted for its unique design in several engineering publications.The World's Fair site later became a public park alongside Knoxville's official convention center and adjacent to the University of Tennessee's main campus. The Sunsphere remains standing directly across a man-made pond from the Tennessee Amphitheater, the only structure other than the Sunsphere that still remains from the 1982 World's Fair.In its original design, the sphere portion was to have had a diameter of 86.5ft to represent symbolically the 865000mi diameter sun. The tower's window glass panels are layered in 24-karat gold dust and cut to seven different shapes. It weighs 600 tons and features six double steel truss columns in supporting the seven-story sphere. The tower has a volume of 203689cuft and a surface of 16742sqft.HistoryDuring the fair it cost $2 to take the elevator to its observation deck. The tower served as a restaurant and featured food items such as the Sunburger and a rum and fruit juice cocktail called the Sunburst. In the early morning hours on May 12, 1982, a shot was fired from outside the fair site and shattered one of the sphere's windows. No one was ever arrested for the incident.
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Sunsphere Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
465 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • The Sunscape is free and open at 9:00 am. Take the elevator up to the 4th floor. Great views of Knoxville. Beautiful park! This is a must see that doesn’t take long to do.  more »
  • I was surprised that it's free to go up the tower. The views are nice, but the windows are pretty dirty. Definitely worth a visit  more »
  • Due to a foot race of some sort, police wouldn't allow access to World's Fair Park. We truly wanted to get to the top of the Sunsphere to view Knoxville.  more »
Google
  • We loved it!!! Reasonable prices, nice place for a date or share a drink with friends. Staff was excellent. Wonderful view. We will definitely visit again.
  • Beautiful view of Knoxville and vicinity from the top and a nice elevator ride up. It gets better every year I go when I visit my friend Sam. Last visit was back in September 2015. Great scenery!
  • The view was incredible here, and it was completely free. I enjoyed myself up there, but there was only one floor available to us for the attraction. The rest was all businesses, restaurants, and gift shops or something. There were times where it wasn't crowded at all, but also times where it was very noisy. For the most part, I didn't mind these negative qualities. Rank A.
  • World's Fair Park is a wonderful place to spend the day from the rail Museum to the top of the sunsphere you'll have a great time little kids will love wadding in the fountain at the North End of the lake
  • This place offers amazing views of downtown Knoxville and the UT campus. Worth a visit.

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Where to stay in Knoxville

A high concentration of popular hotel chains are grouped downtown. These are all located within walking distance of the city's major attractions. A handful of quirky hostels offer economy lodging with character, as do the bed and breakfasts located in the Old City. The city's website provides a comprehensive list of all the city's lodging options, along with their locations and contact information.
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