TVA to open visitor center at Raccoon Mountain this weekend
KNOXVILLE, TN. (WRCB) – TVA visitor centers will open for the season Saturday, May 5, at the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant near Chattanooga, at Norris Dam in Norris, Tenn., and at Fontana Dam in North Carolina.
Mountain Pumped Storage Plant near Chattanooga is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and offers educational programs to students during the school year. The center is located off Raccoon Mountain Road, which is accessible from U.S. Highway 64/72. Recent improvements include new displays and videos depicting the history of TVA and the construction of the pumped storage facility in the 1970s.
"The drive up the mountain gives visitors the opportunity to see abundant wildlife. And once at the center at the top of the mountain, the overlook offers a spectacular view of the narrow gorge below and the river just before it winds into downtown Chattanooga," Smith said.
The centers offer information about TVA history, how TVA operates its electric system and how TVA manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries.
Fontana Visitor Center, located off N.C. Highway 28 near the Tennessee border, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Oct. 28. The center is also a stop on the Appalachian Trail with a shelter, showers and public restrooms.
"The impressive views from the visitor center allow people to see Fontana Dam, the highest dam east of the Mississippi River, and watch water being released from the dam after generating electricity," said Laura Smith, manager of the visitor centers. "This spring, we have updated the center's exhibits so there are new things to see and learn."
The Norris Dam Visitor Center is located off Interstate 75, Exit 122 north of Knoxville. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 30. The visitor center overlooks the powerhouse, Norris Reservoir and a marina.
All three centers have maps, videos, displays and written information about TVA history and the construction of each particular site. TVA retirees serve as guides to answer questions about TVA, the history of the facilities and the surrounding areas.