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Fun Things About the Tourism Industry in Knoxville, TN

While the rest of the globe appears to be slowing down in the second year of the epidemic, one industry in Knoxville is booming: tourism.

According to Visit Knoxville’s first-quarter fiscal report, tourism has brought in more than $1.17 billion in travel-generated expenditure. In comparison to the same period last year, people reserving rooms in Knoxville increased by 40.2 percent.

3 Things That Can Only Be Found in Knoxville

Here are ten fun things that can only be found in Knoxville:


1. Sunsphere 


Let’s start with the massive gold disco ball tower that rises over downtown. So, what exactly is that thing? The Sunsphere was constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair. Yes, Knoxville, Tennessee had a World’s Fair (the least profitable one, as we’d like to point out). The Eiffel Tower, which was erected in Paris for the Exposition Universelle of 1889, the Space Needle, which was built in Seattle for the 1962 World’s Fair, and the Unisphere, which was built in New York City for the 1964 World’s Fair, are all examples of world fair constructions. Without it, Knoxville’s skyline would be unrecognizable.


2. Rubik’s Cube, the World’s Largest


Given that we’re discussing the 1982 World’s Fair, did you know Knoxville is home to the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube? It was a gift from the Hungarian government in honor of Hungarian architect Erno Rubik’s 1974 innovation. It stands around ten feet tall and weighs over a thousand pounds! A Rubik’s Cube has 43 quintillion potential configurations (that’s 43,252,003,274,489,856,000) and only one solution if you’ve ever been frustrated by your inability to solve it. I promise it’s rigged!


3. Knoxville Zoo


We know what you’re thinking, practically all decently-sized cities have a zoo. What’s the big deal about Knoxville’s? Zoo Knoxville is a fantastic institution dedicated to endangered species conservation and preservation. They were the first people in the Western Hemisphere to successfully breed an African elephant. They are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and have a few unique features that distinguish them from other zoos. More red pandas have been born in Knoxville than any other zoo in the world, prompting them to be recognized as the “Red Panda Capital of the World.” They’re also the first zoo in the world to successfully produce the second generation of captive-born Arakan forest turtles and common spider tortoises, which are highly endangered.

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