About 1,600 people toured the Oak Ridge Reservation during this summer’s public bus tour, the U.S. Department of Energy announced.
The annual tour of Oak Ridge facilities ended Aug. 31, and it attracted visitors from 40 states, a press release said.
Since it started in 1996, the DOE public tour program has taken more than 27,600 visitors through the Oak Ridge Reservation, the release said.
“Getting a look behind the fence is a special treat that individuals can only experience through this public tour,” said Katy Brown, Oak Ridge Visitor and Convention Bureau president. “The growing numbers are evident that this tour is an extremely important asset to our tourism product.”
The three-hour bus tour includes off-the-bus stops, and it takes visitors to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, and the East Tennessee Technology Park. Tour guides offer historical facts and updates about the world-class missions under way in Oak Ridge, the release said.
“The Oak Ridge story of the Secret City truly comes alive when bus tour participants can view these historic sites and walk in the footsteps of our 1940s American citizen soldiers,” said Lissa Clarke, public information officer for the American Museum of Science and Energy. “Visitors are in awe of how 75,000 people would keep a secret, and they are inspired by the enormous American patriotism, personal sacrifice, and resolve to end World War II provided by Oak Ridgers.”
The DOE Oak Ridge Office and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Y-12 Site Office sponsor the tour program each year, and a handful of companies and organizations serve as tour partners.