Stone Mountain, Atlanta
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Thirty minutes east of Atlanta is a huge quartz dome that is impressive to visit! On its face is a carving of the confederacy military leaders, but this actually takes away from the gorgeous smooth rock. You can take a skylift to the top, which is a ton of fun. Hiking the 1.3 mile trail to the top is another option for the fit. It's wonderful to stand at the top and take in the views all around. The rock feels just wonderful to sit on in the sun. Joy! Depressions in the rock form little freshwater pools during the rainy season.
There is a cafe and gift shop at the bottom of the skylift. Walk west and you come to a museum with large photos of the carving work that was done on the mountain over a period of five decades starting in the 1920s.
Below the museum is a huge area where snow is made during the winter and families build snowmen or sled on rented tubes and toboggans. Fun!
A little more to the west is a village with some fun play areas. Kids can climb to the top of Geyser Towers, a rope play area with bridges and tunnels. They can shoot balls inside the very loud Great Barn. Camp Highland Outpost is a playground in a circle with tightrope walking, and all manner of fun rope activities. SkyHike is a treetop challenge. There is also a 4D movie which is fun. Kids can ride the bumpy scenic railroad and also take a duck tour, though the duck tour costs extra. There is also mini-golf.
One of the nicest parts is watching the artist in the glass blowing studio make something right before your eyes. A sign posts the time of the next demonstration.
Walk down to the right of the great lawn and there is a secluded area with rocks for kids to leap from and lovely views straight up at the mountain.
After you've tried everything, drive over to the plantation house, which is included in your ticket. It's really a sweet area, with goats to pet and a lovely house with large windows looking out on a flower and vegetable garden, and a working cookhouse. You get a feeling like you are in old-time Georgia. The azaleas here are marvelous! This would be a nice place to get married and it feels like giant quartz mountain nearby would give you good luck!
On certain weekend and summer nights, a laser show is offered for free on the great lawn, creating lights over the mountain. Fireworks also light the night sky.
The Stone Mountain Park website makes this area look like a tourist trap, but it's not. It's a lovely place to visit!
The mountain has an interesting history. It used to be encircle by a rock wall built by native americans. In the early 19th century, men would take their dates to the mountain by horseback. In the mid-19th century, granite quarrying destroyed some lovely features of the mountain. The rock was used to build locks of the Panama Canal, steps of the US Capitol building, and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Martin Luther King, in his 1963 "I have a Dream" speech said, "let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!" There is a dark side to Stone Mountain's history. In 1915 a revival of the ku klux klan had their ceremony here. The organization the oversaw the carving on the mountain was filled with klan members. The owner of the mountain allowed the klan unlimited access to hold ceremonies at the mountain until it was sold to the state of Georgia in 1958.
For another super fun place to take your kids, check out the children's garden at Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the playgrounds in Piedmont Park.
Photo GalleryClick on photo to see large version
Parking costs $10 and allows you to hike the mountain and watch the laser show on special nights. Bicyclists enter for free.
Once inside, you can buy tickets for all the activities at the base of the Skylift. You will get a wristband that allows you to enjoy almost all the activities. Ask for the meal plan to be included because it doesn't cost extra and it includes lunch (hot dog, burger, or chicken sandwich and drink)!
Admission to the activities with meal plan is $25 for adults and $20 for children aged 3-11. If I lived in Atlanta, I'd definitely buy an annual membership to this park.
The activities are usually only open on weekends, but the skylift is open every day except holidays 10am-5pm. Check the calendar.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.