The Manhattan Project sites offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the history, science, and impact of the Manhattan Project, which was a critical part of World War II and the development of nuclear weapons.
Several sites associated with the project are open to the public, and they provide valuable insights into this pivotal period in history.
Here is a list of the available Manhattan Project Site tours:
Los Alamos, New Mexico:
The Los Alamos National Laboratory played a crucial role in the engineering and manufacturing of the atomic bombs in the Manhattan Project.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory offers tours of the Manhattan Project sites in Los Alamos. The tour includes the original Pond Cabin, which served as an office for physicist Emilio Segrè’s Radioactivity Group; the bunkers that protected staff during explosives testing and the Slotin Building which was the site of a deadly radiation accident that killed scientist Louis Slotin in 1946.
Admission is free but spots are limited. Tour participants must be 18 years old and must provide proof of U.S. citizenship at the tour check-in.
This area is now a part of the Manhattan Project National Park which also offers a virtual tour during which visitors can view photos and information about the various sites in the park, including the bunker, the concrete bowl, the gun site, the Slotin Building, the Quonset Hut, the Pond Cabin, the K-site, L-site, Q-site, S-site, and the V-site.
In addition, the nearby Trinity Test Site on the White Sands Missile Range, where the first atomic bomb was tested, is open to the public twice a year on the first Saturdays in April and October.
Hanford Site, Washington:
The Hanford Site’s role in the Manhattan Project was the production of the plutonium used in the atomic bomb. The site is home to multiple nuclear reactors that were used to produce plutonium.
The Hanford Site offers limited in-person tours and access to these historic sites, including the B Reactor, but the tours must be approved on a case by case basis. Reservations and security clearances are required, so plan ahead and check for availability.
The site also offers a virtual tour which features over 20 Hanford projects, over 40 viewable Hanford map locations with 360-degree camera views, internal views of select facility structures including the Waste Encapsulation and storage facility, Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, 200 West Pump and Treat System and up-close views of exclusive Hanford locations.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee:
The role of the Oak Ridge facilities in the Manhattan Project was to enrich and process uranium and ship it to the Los Alamos Laboratory for use in the assembly of atomic bombs.
The Oak Ridge facilities offers three-hour guided bus tours of Manhattan Project sites in Oak Ridge. These include the Oak Ridge History Museum and the American Museum of Science and Energy.
While atomic tourism offers unique insights into nuclear history and science, it’s essential to approach these sites with sensitivity and respect for the seriousness of the subject matter.
“Historical Virtual Tour.” Los Alamos National Laboratory, view.ceros.com/los-alamos-national-laboratory/manhattan-project/p/1
“Hanford Site Tours.” Hanford.gov, hanford.gov/page.cfm/hanfordsitetours
“Trinity Site Open House.” U.S. Army, home.army.mil/wsmr/index.php/contact/public-affairs-office/trinity-site-open-house
“Register now to tour the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.” Los Alamos National Laboratory, discover.lanl.gov/news/0213-manhattan-project-tours/
“Los Alamos: Sites Requiring Guided Tours.” National Park Service, nps.gov/mapr/planyourvisit/losalamos-guided-tours.htm
“Oak Ridge: Tour Behind the Fence.” National Park Service, nps.gov/mapr/planyourvisit/oakridge-tour.htm
“Los Alamos: Tour Behind the Fence.” National Park Service, nps.gov/mapr/planyourvisit/losalamos-tours.htm
“Manhattan Project B Reactor Tours.” Manhattan Project National Historical Park, manhattanprojectbreactor.hanford.gov/