Open 7 days a week from 9 AM - 10 PM.
Built for the 1982 World’s Fair (one of the last successful World’s Fairs), this iconic feature of the Knoxville skyline is the only structure of its kind. The Sunsphere and the Amphitheatre are the only two remaining structures from the historic 1982 World's Fair.The 4th Floor Observation Deck features a gallery of Knoxville images, as well as information on Knoxville and the World’s Fair and offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Knoxville. The Observation Deck is open free to the public daily.
- A band played atop the Sunsphere during opening ceremonies of the World’s Fair.
- A former Vol once zip-lined from the top of the Sunsphere.
- The Sunsphere was featured on The Simpsons television episode, "Bart on the Road" as the “Wigsphere”.
History of the Sunsphere:
- Designed by the architecture firm, Community Tectonics as the theme structure for the 1982 World's Fair, the Sunsphere is noted for its unique design in several engineering publications, the structure stands 266 feet high/26 stories tall.
- The 24-karat gold-dust filled, glass-paneled ball is 75 feet in diameter.
- Each pane of glass is made with 24-karat gold giving the Sphere its reflective gold color and each pane cost around $1,000 at the time of construction.
- During the time of the World's Fair, the tower color was blue to represent the color of the sky. The current color of the tower is forest green.
- The Observation Deck features a gallery of Knoxville images, as well as information on Knoxville and the World’s Fair and offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Knoxville.
- The Sunsphere closed to the public after the World’s Fair and remained vacant or underutilized for most of its post-fair existence. The City briefly reopened the 4th Floor Observation Deck in 1999 but reclosed it so that the Public Building Authority could utilize the space to oversee construction of the Knoxville Convention Center (completed in 2001). The Observation Deck remained closed until it (and the Tennessee Amphitheatre) was renovated and restored in 2007.
- The Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheatre are the only structures that remain from the World’s Fair.
Check out this video about remembering the World’s Fair in Knoxville.
Help us protect and preserve this ICONIC piece of the Knoxville Skyline
Visit Knoxville established The Sunsphere Fund in 2019 to preserve and maintain this historic structure.