• 1982 World's Fair

    1982 World's Fair

    The Sunsphere was constructed for the 1982 World's Fair. During that time, it served as the symbol to the Fair.

  • Leasing and Event Planning

    Leasing and Event Planning

    The 6th level of the Sunsphere houses an event floor.

  • Observation Deck

    Observation Deck

    The 4th level of the Sunsphere houses the Observation Deck.

  • 360-degree view

    360-degree view

    It offers a 360-degree view of the original 1982 World's Fair site (now World's Fair Park), downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee, and the Smoky Mountains.

The Sunsphere

Observation Deck, 4th Level

The Observation Deck is re-open to the public as of Monday, May 5, 2014, with a new look and feel, thanks to the efforts of Visit Knoxville, in partnership with the City of Knoxville and the Public Building Authority, to renovate the information features.

The 4th level of the Sunsphere houses the Observation Deck. It offers a 360-degree view of the original 1982 World's Fair site (now World's Fair Park), downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee, and the Smoky Mountains.

There is no admission charge to visit the Observation Deck and access is limited to the double elevators facing the lake at the base of the Sunsphere and at the Convention Center level.


Events, 6th & 8th Levels

The 6th & 8th levels of the Sunsphere houses event floors. Please call (865) 363-9538 or visit Sunsphere Event Rentals for more information.

Observation Deck Hours

  • 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Hours of observation are subject to change. There is no cost to visit the Observation Deck.

History of The Sunsphere

The Sunsphere was constructed for the 1982 World's Fair and during that time, it served as the symbol to the Fair. It was also home to a full service restaurant and the Observation Deck, which used to cost $2.00 for the elevator ride up to visit. The Sunsphere closed to the public with the Fair's end and remained vacant or underutilized for most of its post-fair life. The Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheater are the only structures that remain from the 1982 World's Fair.

The city briefly reopened the Observation Deck sometime in 1999, but reclosed it so that the Public Building Authority could use the space for offices to oversee the construction of the Knoxville Convention Center. The Convention Center was complete in 2001, but the Observation Deck remained closed following its completion.

However, in 2005, Mayor Bill Haslam announced that the Sunsphere and Tennessee Amphitheater would be renovated for public use. In 2007 he announced that they would be renovated without use of taxpayer's money. Later that year, the Sunsphere's Observation Deck reopened to the public free of charge and Mayor Haslam held his Inaugural Address, for his second term in office, in the Amphitheater. In early 2008, privately-owned businesses took up residence on the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth levels of the Sunsphere.


Security

PARK PATROL: (865) 215-2246

The park is staffed by Park Patrol officers at all times. Emergency phones are located throughout the park. All visitors are subject to video monitoring while on these premises.

Parking

Eleventh Street, Clinch Avenue and World’s Fair Park Drive provide direct vehicular access to numerous parking areas:

  • Fort Kid Lot (78 spaces)
  • WFP North Lot (100 car spaces and four bus spaces)
  • Blackstock Lot (364 spaces)
  • Locust Street Garage (642 spaces)

Visit PBA Parking for More Information


Sunsphere Rules

  • Please dispose of trash and food at the base of the Sunsphere.
  • Do not leave children unattended while on the Observation Deck.
  • No one is permitted beyond the glass railing.
  • No pets allowed.

Thank you in advance for helping us keep this facility safe, clean and enjoyable for everyone.

Park Rules

  • No skateboarding
  • Keep pets on leashes and curb your pet
  • No littering
  • No pets allowed in the fountain
  • Vending, solicitation or use of alcoholic beverages without proper permits is prohibited
  • Use of charcoal grills is prohibited
  • Glass containers are prohibited in the fountain area only
  • Cleats/spikes are not allowed on the lawn
  • No swimming or wading in the lake
  • Vehicles are not allowed on the lawns/sidewalks without permission (865) 254-1534

Please note that the World's Fair Park & Volunteer Landing Event Office does not handle any event inquiries, bookings, or delivery notifications for the businesses at the 5th and 6th levels of the Sunsphere. The World's Fair Park & Volunteer Landing Event Office only handles the events and activities associated with the ground-level of the Park.