Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: earlier in October Anne and I drove down through Kentucky and down to Knoxville, Tennessee, to meet a few fabulous folks at Fanboy Expo’s Totally Awesome Weekend, a convention we’d never done before. After we’d had another round of geek fun, we capped off our weekend with quite a bit of sightseeing (including but not limited to a giant dragon).
Knoxville’s most prominent landmark is the Sunsphere, one of two surviving major remnants from the 1982 World’s Fair, but this remnant enjoyed a spot of fame in an episode of The Simpsons. We showed you the iconic exterior from a distance, which for us raised an obvious question: what about the inside?
Officially the Sunsphere has eight floors. The first three are at or slightly above ground level, connecting to the outer walkways surrounding the Knoxville Convention Center. Their center only has two exhibit halls, but its multiple floors confuse rather easily if you don’t know where you’re headed inside. Access to Sunsphere levels 5 through 8 is granted only for the businesses on those levels and their permitted patrons via a restricted elevator. On the opposite side is an elevator allowing free rides up to the fourth-floor observation deck in the Sun’s bottom half, where all the Knoxville panorama viewing magic is.
On the outside it’s layered in 24K gold dust. On the inside is a 360-degree greenish-tinted view of all your surroundings from downtown Knoxville to the surrounding Appalachian Mountains, which are naturally verdant without the extra tinting.
Around the inner walls, more decorations educate and welcome guests to the Marble City.