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Sunsphere, Knoxville

(4/5 based on 400+ reviews on the web)
The Sunsphere, in Knoxville, Tennessee, is an 81.07m high hexagonal steel truss structure, topped with a 23m 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The World's Fair Park was rather deserted around 5 on an early spring afternoon so I wasn't even sure if the Sunsphere was open. Once we rode the elevator to the top, we enjoyed the view but I don't t...  more »
  • Although the tower is not as tall as the one in San Antonio, the views were really good. And it is free! Really like the walking bridge that goes over the road. It is a neat place to see and visit!  more »
  • My husband & I celebrated Valentine's Day over dinner at Primo Ristorante Italiano in the Sunsphere. It was romantic & delicious, highly recommend!  more »
Google
  • Besides the views and short historic tour, there's not much you can do here. The windows are a bit dirty to see through. May I suggest maybe transparent pictures or pamphlets to match up with each window to find unique sites like the mural on the downtown parking garage or the veteran's memorial?
  • Very clean. Great environment. Fun times. Can't wait for the water fountains to open back up. Also POKEMON HOT SPOT.
  • Love the views from the Sunsphere! It's easy to walk to this attraction, and it's FREE! HOW great is that?! On a clear day, you can see the Smokies and the Plateau. I always bring out-of-town guests here.
  • Not much to the observation deck, but worth the cost of free. Elevator is very slow and it took a bit for us to find the parking lot for the park. Cool structure, made me wish I remembered more of the World's Fair when we went.
  • Fun for the Simpsons reference and neat enough, but the observation deck windows are very dirty (although the mountain view is nice).