After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour on December 7 1941, Oak Ridge did not yet even exist. It was an infamous event which forced the Americans to enter the greatest war our planet has ever known. It was however also the start of the secret ‘Manhattan project’, which involved the quest to create the atom bomb after scientists had discovered that atoms could explode at great pressure. This meant that around 75,000 people had to keep the secret in an area of Tennessee called Oak ridge.
The area was subsequently sold to the public in 1949 and schools and private estates grew in Oak Ridge at a rate reminiscent of mushrooms after heavy rain. Nowadays, Oak Ridge has become a centre of huge tourist interest, including a variety of tours and package deals to both educate and entertain visitors of the famous World War II episode which few knew about at the time.
Near the top of the list is the American Museum of Science and Energy, a comfortable way for the tourist to view and experience how the locals of Tennessee were lulled into keeping such a secret.
Furthermore, there is the Oak Ridge driving tour, which is available on compact disc or on cassette. Although not an actual tour, virtual visitors are able to grasp the atmosphere of the area from their own homes. The famous Manhattan project history collections are educational and entertaining way for Second World War enthusiasts to appreciate an array of coal mining disasters and the other Manhattan project locations.
These are just a handful of the tours available today. Others include coal mining tours as visitors are offered the chance to explore the scenic mountains and streams in the area. Let’s not forget that it is not all about history as many are enthralled by the surrounding nature too.