Tennessee communities are interested in educating both children and adults. For this purpose there are a number of museums and educational facilities in the state. One location is the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This museum is structured for interactive learning for children. It is located in the eastern section of Tennessee, but it is easy for all residents of Tennessee and surrounding states to get to.
The Children's Museum of Oak Ridge has many play centers for children to discover, solve problems, experience different things, and to interact with the exhibits. It is a different style museum that makes it more fun for children. In adult museums children are not allowed to touch the various displays. Here at the Children's Museum the idea is to interact with everything and with others. Arts, science, and history are all about of the museum.
It opened in 1973 as a Girl Scout project. It was originally opened at the Jefferson Junior High School at the library. Later it was moved to an elementary school, before the museum got its own building. In 1983 54,000 square feet of building was built for the Children's Museum.
Hours of operation at the museum are Tuesday through Friday 9am to 5pm all year. Saturday hours are 10am to 4pm, and Sunday is 1pm to 4pm. From June to August the museum is open on Mondays from 9am to 5pm. Admission fees are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children three and up. School tours have a discount of $1 if unguided making admission $4 for school groups.
The museum houses a variety of exhibits beginning with the Rainforest. The rainforest is a simulated Amazon experience with sound effects, a waterfall, walkway, murals, and observation deck above the canopy. Trees, flowers, and wild animals are all fake but part of the exhibit to show what it would be like. There is a field station that guests begin at to learn about the rainforest.
Another exhibit is the model trains. The museum has the "World of Trains'' which is a collection of models donated by Milton Lloyd. He was a prominent citizen in Knoxville and the model train railroaders. The trains have a hands on play room with a mock up of a diesel engine and HO scale. Other sections have a club room, caboose, and garden railroad.
The Appalachian Mountains and culture living in those mountains is very important to Tennessee. Children are able to visit the Appalachian Heritage display with a recreated homestead. Artifacts from the 1850's to the 1880's are on display. The Knoxville 1910's exhibit shows city and country life during that time. The International Hall offers a place for children to learn about different countries such as music from Africa or Japanese Kokeshi dolls. The Children's Museum also has Waterworks, the Bird Room, the Dollhouse, and a nature walk. The Arctic, Native American exhibit, Life in the 30's, and much more is on display for children to learn from.