Visit Knoxville announces today that over 100,000 visitors from around the world have visited the Sunsphere’s 4th Floor Observation Deck as of November 25, 2023, since reopening on February 22, 2022. Additionally, since reopening, the Sunsphere has welcomed visitors from all 50 states and 54 countries, including the US.
“We are thrilled to reach this impressive milestone in less than two years of reopening,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “This speaks to the Sunsphere’s status as an attraction and highlights its power to attract visitors from across the country and beyond.”
“What an amazing milestone for our city’s iconic landmark,” said City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “Thanks to Visit Knoxville, the Sunsphere is getting a much-needed facelift and will go on to welcome visitors and locals for years to come.”
Additionally, the Sunsphere base has been painted back to its original blue color, achieving the goal to complete Phase I of this project by the end of 2023. Visit Knoxville, in partnership with the City of Knoxville, the Public Building Authority, and Knox County, managed the painting of the structure’s base to the original PANTONE® color Classic Blue 19-4052 TCX. CertaPro Painters started this project on October 1, 2023, and finished on November 17, using over 315 gallons of paint.
“We are proud to be able to partner with Visit Knoxville, the City of Knoxville, and McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects, Inc on this historic project to return the 1982 World’s Fair Sunsphere to its original color,” said Steve Thrasher of CertaPro Painters. “Our dedicated production team was able to complete the project on time and with minimal delays to park activities. We look forward to seeing more exiting enhancements to World’s Fair Park and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the project.”
Visit Knoxville will begin Phase II of the plan to update and enhance the iconic structure in early 2024. This phase will encompass the construction of a new Welcome Center at the third level of the Sunsphere. This enclosed area will enhance the visitor experience, and will include an expanded retail space, additional brochures and visitor information, and provide a clear view of World’s Fair Park. Phase II is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.
Visit Knoxville participated in the conceptual process with the East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC) and through this partnership the vision was vetted, and organizations were connected to develop the planning for both phases of this project. McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects (MHM) is serving as architects and engineers, which continues their involvement from the original creation of the Sunsphere to present day renovations.
The permitting process for the Sunsphere Welcome Center is underway, and further details will be announced throughout the buildout during 2024. Follow the Sunsphere on Facebook, Instagram, and visit sunspherecam.com for updates.
Media: Please access time lapse video of painting and images available for use here.