By Rebecca VanGinkel
This past November, my family and I were lucky enough to be able to visit Stone Mountain. We first heard of Stone Mountain when we were staying in Atlanta, Georgia. This is one of their many different attractions located in the city that any family could spend hours of their time exploring. Since there are so many different activities, Stone Mountain is a perfect place to bring your whole family, newborns to grandparents welcome!
Since we visited in November, we got a chance to visit their Christmas village. Our son actually got to see Santa arrive in his sleigh, and to sit on his lap and tell him what he wanted for Christmas. There were many carolers singing and getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. The huge Coca Cola Christmas tree is also one of the big attractions. You can see it from almost anywhere in the village. We also got to go to a 4-D Christmas movie, which our son also loved. Can you imagine, the wind was really blowing hard and it was snowing on us while we were enjoying the movie!
We also went on the train, which travels five miles around Stone Mountain. During the ride, Christmas music played and the conductor told us stories about Stone Mountain in the early years. We passed many Christmas lights on our ride. We even passed an old ghost town in the middle of nowhere that was decorated in Christmas attire. The whole village has a lot of spirit.
Besides the Christmas village there were many other things to see and do. We rode a cable car up the side of the mountain and got out on the top. They gave us a choice to ride back down, or hike down the back side of the mountain. We chose to hike down. It was kind of steep, but nothing we couldn’t handle. About halfway down, we saw an electrical pole that was covered in gum! It was covered 10 feet high with hundreds of pieces of chewing gum. Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, you have to wait for the train to make its rounds and pick you back up, or you can visit a museum and wait for the train to come at a different time.
One of the biggest attractions of Stone Mountain is the huge carving in the side of the mountain. The carving is 400 feet above the ground, and measures 90 by 190 feet. It is set back 42 feet into the mountain. It shows General Robert E. Lee, Lt. General Thomas Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis riding a horse with their hair whipping in the wind. It is the largest carving of rock, even bigger than Mt. Rushmore. The mountain itself is 825 feet tall and covers 583 acres. The guide in the cable car told us that you could fit three school buses on the rear end of the horse and still have room to walk around. After dark, they show a laser light show projected on the mountain. Since it was Christmas time when we visited, we watched the Twelve Days of Christmas. After the spectacular laser light show, we sat in the huge field and watched an amazing fire works show. It was one of the best that we had ever seen.
After all this excitement, my husband and I wanted to relax awhile, so we took our son to the playhouse so that he could play while we watched, or so we thought! This huge playhouse consisted of 5 floors and so much fun that nobody could just sit and watch, not even grandparents. When you first arrived they gave you a bag to place in it as many foam balls as you could, and a bracelet for scanning. You then shot the foam balls out of many different air guns and tubes to try to score points which registered when you would scan your bracelet. Besides this, there were many different slides, a trampoline floor, and nets for climbing. There was also a separate play room for babies and toddlers, where they wouldn’t get stepped on by rambunctious older kids.
After all that excitement, we went for a beautiful scenic drive. We even drove inside one of the few covered bridges that are left. We also got to stop and walk around by an old grist mill. It had very pretty landscaping around it with many plants and flowers that were still in bloom.
We ended up spending the whole day at Stone Mountain, and there were still things that we didn’t get to do. We didn’t get to ride the Georgia Ducks, or visit the antique car models, and we missed many of the shows in the Christmas Village. We have decided that we are going to have to go back some day soon.
The hours of Stone Mountain vary from season to season, but if you or your family members are interested in visiting the great Stone Mountain, you can call this toll free number 24 hours a day for in park information- 1-800-401-2407.