Knoxville, Tennessee - Visit Knoxville, the City of Knoxville and the Public Building Authority have worked together to create an updated experience on the observation deck of the Sunsphere.  In addition to basic upgrades including new floor and ceiling tiles, the observation deck features updated information on the numerous and diverse educational and entertainment opportunities Knoxville has to offer both visitors and locals. The grand opening takes place in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-11.

“The Sunsphere is the first thing many people see when they come to visit our city and a favorite spot for locals in the community,” remarks Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville. “We were proud to partner with the city and the Public Building Authority to create a fresh, new experience for everyone.”

The structure underwent renovations more than 7 years ago. The story of the World’s Fair continues to be told here. In addition, visitors and community members will find fun and informative information as they take in a 360-degree view looking as far as the eye can see. The Sunsphere will officially open to the public Tuesday, May 6. Regular business hour are 9am - 10pm.

“The Sunsphere is a Knoxville icon, and the Observation Deck offers a breathtaking view of our city and our beautiful natural landscape. I want to thank Visit Knoxville for their great work in making it more attractive and informative for visitors,” says Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.

Project Overview

The original kiosks that line the perimeter of the observation deck have been updated to feature information on local attractions as well as historical and fun facts about our city. Two kiosks feature wayfinding and street maps – with convenient QR codes for downloading, and an iPad has been installed in one kiosk to provide and collect visitor information.


A gallery of what will become rotating images of iconic Knoxville sites, scenes and events has been installed along the interior wall. Locals will recognize pictures from the historic Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville Zoo and Ijams Nature Park – just to name a few.

A separate section of the interior wall displays the history of the World’s Fair. Information and images tell the story of how this “scruffy city” hosted more than 11 million visitors from around the world in what would become America’s last successful World’s Fair.

In addition to these upgrades, Visit Knoxville has teamed with Knox County School’s Art Department to develop Knoxville themed murals in the two alcoves located within the space. Each alcove contains a flatscreen TV monitor displaying information on Knoxville.

Operations are still running on the fifth floor, location of the Icon Lounge, sixth floor, headquarters for Sunsphere events such as receptions or parties, and the seventh and eighth floors, which house offices for private tenants.



Contact: Erin Donovan

Cell: 865-306-4341



May 5, 2014