As always, the safety and health of guests, volunteers, and employees, are our greatest concerns at the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE). With that in mind, and as the public health situation has evolved, we believe it is the best interest of visitors, staff, and volunteers to suspend public bus tours.

The AMSE team will continue to actively monitor the situation, heeding guidance from public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Bus tour patrons will be fully refunded any fees collected. Thank you in advance, for your patience and understanding, as our focus remains on the health and safety of AMSE guests, volunteers, and employees. AMSE will provide updates on the status of the bus tours here.

The DOE Public Bus Tours Are Closed. No reservations are being taken at this time. Check back for our Reopening Announcement.


Tour Schedule

AMSE Bus Tours

The Department of Energy (DOE) Public Bus Tour is a one-of-a-kind tour that visits the three primary sites of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, TN. Each tour includes two guides to help share the unique scientific history of the Secret City with visits to the Y-12 New Hope Center, ORNL’s historic Graphite Reactor and the K-25 History Center.

Participants must arrive by 8:30am on the day of their tour. Guests must provide a valid photo I.D. for entry on the tour. (passports, driver’s license, federal or state ID with photo). The bus will leave at 9:00 am, no exceptions. The bus leaves from the AMSE parking lot: 115 Main Street East, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

Bus Tour Ticket Pricing: $15 / per guest
Tour lasts 2.5 hours from 9am – 12pm

(requires registration)


$15 / per guest


  • Arrive at 8:30, boarding at 8:45, depart at 9:00 am. BE ON TIME. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Tour leaves from the American Museum of Science and Energy at 9:00am.
  • New Hope Visitor Center: The visitor facility houses the spacious History Center featuring displays about the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, and other Y-12 missions.
  • Graphite Reactor at ORNL: A national historic landmark, the Graphite Reactor located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory served as the pilot project that led to the first production of plutonium. Visitors will view the world’s oldest nuclear reactor.
  • K-25 History Center: Tour visitors learn about the gaseous diffusion process that enriched uranium (later sent to Y-12 for further enrichment) to power the first atomic bomb.
  • Guests return to AMSE and have admission to the museum for the rest of the business day.

Tour Schedule

March: Tuesday & Friday
April through October: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
November: Tuesday & Friday

There are no bus tours in December, January, and February.  There are NO tours on federal holidays: Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, November 27 & 28.

Our current registration process is done at the museum or by calling by calling the museum office at 865-294-4517. If you are registering in-person, everyone who wants to take the bus tour must be present the morning of the tour to register; you cannot sign up anyone but yourself.



  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be 10 years of age or older
  • Must have current photo identification (18 or older. Those from 10-17 must have a family member vouch they are 10 years or older and a U.S. citizen). No photocopies are accepted; it must be the original document.
  • Some restrictions apply

This tour is accessible for a slow walker or wheelchair users who can get up a few steps. If you plan to use a wheelchair, we require 48 hours of notice. The Graphite Reactor portion of the tour is accessible for wheelchairs or walkers but requires participants to traverse a 350-footpath with a 4.8% slope to get from the tour bus to the reactor.


Individuals with walking impairments which require the use of walkers, canes, etc., will be permitted on the DOE Public Bus Tours provided:

  • That Space is available within the bus to safely store and secure such medical devices.
  • That individuals requiring the use of such medical devices can either assist themselves safely onto and off the bus or come with other guests who are prepared to assist these individuals. Neither the AMSE staff, the AMSE Volunteers nor the bus driver can offer such assistance.
  • That individuals with these devices understand and agree that they are prepared to exit the bus at all bus stop and are capable of traversing the 350-foot walkway, with 4.8% slope from the bus, to and from the ORNL Graphite Reactor.

To ensure ADA compliance wheelchair users must book 48 hours in advance. This will ensure an ADA compliant assistant can assist loading and unloading at stops.

If there are questions about the registration process please call 865-294-4517.


The Department of Energy prohibits the introduction, transportation or possession of weapons, explosives, firearms, dangerous materials or instruments, controlled substances, alcoholic beverages, any other items likely to produce substantial injury to persons or property, as well as any and all items prohibited by law.

This restriction includes:

  • Items prohibited by local, state or federal law.
  • Controlled substances (i.e., illegal drugs and associated paraphernalia).
  • Privately owned explosive chemicals and devices.
  • Privately owned handguns or rifle of any make or model, including air-powered.
  • Privately owned knives with blades longer than four inches.
  • Privately owned ammunition or projectiles (e.g., bullets, rockets, arrows, etc., that could be discharged from a weapon).
  • Items that could be used to start fires, excluding personal lighters.

Furthermore, DOE prohibits the introduction, transportation or possession of:

  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Privately owned two-way radios.
  • Any privately owned animal or pet not used as an assistance or trained, certified service animal.

Additional restrictions include:

  • Large items are not allowed on the bus. This includes backpacks, briefcases, bags or purses larger than 12″ x 12″.
  • Camera cases (Cameras are permitted)
  • No food is permitted on the bus tour except for medical reasons. You may bring water.
  • The bus does not stop for food. Please eat before boarding the bus.
  • Smoking is prohibited during the bus tour.

DOE and AMSE reserve the right to remove people from bus tours for these and any other disruptions that may occur and/or which impact the experience of fellow passengers. Thank you for your cooperation.