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EdVentures , Summer 2017

Oak Ridge, TN:
The Manhattan Project’s Secret City

Date:  Wednesday, May 24 2017
Depart:  7:15 a.m. sharp
Return: Approximately 9:30 p.m.
Cost:  $105.00
Activity Level: Moderate, extended periods of walking, some standing and climbing of some stairs.
Included: Transportation, all admissions, step-on guide, one boxed meal, driver’s gratuity, insurance and all taxes and tips.
Registration Deadline: Thursday, April 20
Not Included:  Lunch at ORNL

NOTE:  All names must be submitted to ORNL three (3) weeks in advance of our arrival.  Foreign nationals must have a green card, passport, or visa.  US citizens must have a picture ID.  All participants must be cleared and a badge issued upon entering the facility.

Depart and return from Lower Patton parking lot, BRCC, Corner of Airport Rd and College Drive.


The city of Oak Ridge did not exist when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II. Century old family farms and small Appalachian communities occupied this area. In 1942, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bought 59,000 acres of this rural farmland, land that met the military requirements for isolation, electric power from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Norris Dam, water, accessible highways and railroads – criteria deemed necessary to build a city and manufacturing plants of unprecedented scope to produce the world’s first atomic weapons.  When completed, the “Secret City” was enclosed with 94 miles of security fencing and protected by 1,000 armed guards. The population climbed from 3,000 to 75,000 during the three year life of the project. In just one and a half years, Oak Ridge became the fifth largest city in Tennessee, yet it did not appear on a map until 1949.

We’ll begin with a “Manhattan Project” customized historic tour at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), formerly one of the four plants built to separate and produce uranium and plutonium. Included on this excursion will be the X-10 Graphite Reactor and the New Bethel Church, which is now a museum focusing on the residents who were displaced in order for the government to build the “Secret City”. Time permitting, we will also visit the Climate Change Science Institute.

Lunch will be on your own at the ORNL cafeteria, which has an extensive selection ranging from salads to burgers and stir fry. Everyone will be able to find something they like.

After lunch, we’ll visit the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) operated by the US Department of Energy. We’ll view the 15 minute film “The Oak Ridge Story” during our group orientation followed by a self-guided tour. AMSE has won many awards for its exhibits. One of these includes a 574 square foot World War II-era “flat top” cemesto prefab house. These residences took two hours to build.

Next, our step-on guide will join us for an interesting and informative tour of Oak Ridge historic site including the International Friendship Bell, Chapel on the Hill, the New Hope Y-12 Center and several others on the National Register of Historic Places.

A boxed meal from the Soup Kitchen will be enjoyed during our return ride to BRCC. This is included in the price of the trip. Please make your selection on page 17.

Note the refund policy

Click here for the registration form