As we drove through the stop and go traffic that perpetually surrounds the Atlanta area and the GPS stated we were only a few miles from our destination, I began to doubt that Stone Mountain could really be a mountain. The fact is, it was nowhere in site. Lola the trusted GPS hurriedly gave instructions to turn right and get off at the ramp though, and we obeyed. Suddenly, there is was, Stone Mountain is indeed apply named, as it is entirely created of granite. In fact, it is the world’s largest piece of exposed granite, and only one percent of this impressive feature that serves as the focus point of Stone Mountain Park is actually above ground. Here, at this 3,200 acre park, we experienced true Southern hospitality and family fun.
Perhaps the most notable thing about Stone Mountain is the unique statue carved on the granite face of the mountain itself. This confederate memorial features Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis on horseback. It is rare to see a memorial to the confederacy, but these men and the issues that surrounded them are a part of our nation’s history, and the boys and I had fun enjoying ice cream on the grass lawn where people sit to enjoy the nighttime laser light show, and talking about the history behind these men and this carving.
There is plenty of hands on adventure fun available at Stone Mountain to keep your family happy and active all day no matter what age your children are, or their particular likes. When we arrived, we rushed off to Summit Skyride and had the very first trip up the mountain of the day. The Summit Skyride is a Swiss cable car that takes you 825 feet up onto the top of Stone Mountain. On the way up, ride on the right side of the car and get rewarded with incredible up-close views of the carving. On top of the mountain, the views are spectacular, and on a clear morning, you can see Atlanta in the distance.
Stone Mountain has a 4D movie theater, and the boys couldn’t wait to check out Journey to the Center of the Earth which was playing while we were there. The movies here are constantly changing, but the level of fun is always high.
We stopped by The Great Barn next, and this place is a blast for children ages 5-12, although my 14 year old had a great time running around and even I went down the 4 story slide. Beware of flying balls, as children strive to shoot, fling and flop soft foam balls into various contraptions. With a barn yard theme, this is a mooing good time for the family. It’s also where my niece met up with us with my two year old great nephew.
After running around and working up a sweat, the Geyser Tower was an obvious next stop. The boys ran through this wet and wild climbing playground full of net walls and rope bridges and came out soaking wet and smiling.
While it might seem like something you could skip, the Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard are a must see, particularly if you like to work some education into your day of fun. Just a walk across the street from the main park area, you can tour an Antebellum Plantation from 1800’s, and pet the goats in the barnyard.
The Scenic Railroad is a great low key activity for the late afternoon. All that running around makes you tired, and the railroad is the perfect way to rest your feet and explore the park as you sit back and listed to a history of the area and park itself.
If learning about the mysterious Stone Mountain is important to you, then be sure to stop by the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum at Memorial Hall, which features artifacts from the last 12,000 years in the history of the mountain.
SkyHike was probably the boy’s favorite attraction in Stone Mountain. Here, you can gear up in a harness that is connected to a lead line, and walk high above the ground through varying stories of in-air obstacles, some just a simple rope to walk across. A little tip, the obstacles get more difficult as you go up, so if you are already finding them challenging, stick with the lowest level. Little ones can try out their skills at the Camp Highland Outpost while older siblings climb too.
Stone Mountain offers many meal options, mostly good old Southern and American food items. For lunch we ate a family chicken finger bucket at The Marketplace, and dinner was an affordable sit down option at the Campfire Grill that makes you feel like you are on a camping trip in the great outdoors. The food was hearty and a good value too. Stone Mountain also offers an Adventure Pass Meal Deal that is a great way for families to save additional money on their dining within the park.
The Lasershow Spectacular
A day at Stone Mountain is not over until you have taken in their incredible Laser light Show. Projected onto the face of the mountain, this high tech show delights the senses with spectacular lasers, fan favorite music hits, and tear jerking moments that will make you feel intensely lucky to be cuddled up on the lawn with your children enjoying this show. It truly is a “can’t miss” experience.
Where to Stay
Make a true family weekend of your stop at Stone Mountain, and camp out with the family at the Stone Mountain Campground. From primitive tent sites to luxury full hook-up sites with decks and gas grills, this campground has something for everyone. Enjoy complimentary danishes and coffee in the morning, and enjoy a dip in the pool or some fishing in the lake in your downtime. Rates start as low as $25 per night in the off-season.
If you are traveling near the Atlanta area and are looking for a dose of true Southern fun, then you need look no future than Stone Mountain Park. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit StoneMountainPark.com.