Sunsphere – Knoxville TN

About the Sunsphere in Knoxville TN

This magnificent landmark is known as the feature piece for the 1982 World’s Fair. The tower is 266 feet tall with a 75-foot wide ball topping the artistic structure. The building is commonly found on postcards, photos, and now the state license plates. Besides rental space and businesses operating on the top floors, the fourth level is an observation deck giving visitors a complete view of the city from any angle. Visiting hours for the Sunsphere are from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day of the week.

Amazing views and spectacular photo opportunities

Inside the fourth-floor observation deck, there are tons of historical photos depicting the 1982 World’s Fair and popular participants. Visitors can spend hours looking at the pictures and pointing out landmarks and famous attendees. A welcome center offers information about the famous fair and talks about fun facts like how people were charged a fee to ride to the observation deck and sunburgers served in the Sunsphere restaurant overlooking the city.

From the platform, you can see for miles and miles across the city. The Sunsphere deck is an excellent place to view the Smokey Mountains and see the peaks from the most unique spot in the entire state. Another beautiful place to photograph from the observation deck is the Tennessee River. You can even see across the entire University of Tennessee campus.

Little tidbits you may not know about the Sunsphere unless you live in Knoxville

  • The glass panels in the sphere contain 24-karat gold dust
  • In 2007, the Sunsphere went through a major restoration project
  • The Hard Knox Roller Girls use the Sunsphere as the main feature in the team’s logo
  • The iconic structure shows up in two episodes of The Simpsons
  • The 1982 World’s Fair featured a live band playing on the top of the Sunsphere
  • The green tower was once blue for the sky
  • Much of the existence of the Sunsphere has seen little activity with few occupants
  • Each window pane in the gold ball of the Sunsphere cost about $1,000 when the observation deck was built

How to get to the Sunsphere

This attraction is located in the World’s Fair Park at 810 Clinch Avenue. From South Knoxville and Old Sevier, visitors can hop on Interstate 441 and take it to the Clinch Avenue. Turn left onto Clinch Avenue and left into the park. From Fort Sanders, residents can take Clinch Avenue directly to the Sunsphere or hop on Interstate 11 to speed up the trip.

Rules to remember when visiting the Sunsphere

No pets are allowed on the observation deck or at the businesses on the upper levels of the orb. The glass railing is there for everyone’s protection. The Sunsphere staff do not permit anyone to pass this point for any reason. Children must have adult supervision at all times when visiting this attraction. All trash and debris must go in the rubbish and recycling containers at the ground level of the observatory. Food is allowed on the viewing platform.

When you want to look across Knoxville TN, then there is no better place to see the city than from the Sunsphere. This magnificent structure is famous for many reasons. You can take your children to the top of the building to see the vast expanse of the World’s Fair Park and the entire city. The historical information and unimaginable views will make memories for a lifetime.

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