Visiting Stone Mountain Park is something I have always wanted to do… The attractions are spectacular and the scenery is lengendary… So when I began scouring the South for great family-friendly vacation destinations, I was thrilled when I discovered that Stone Mountain is so reasonably priced. The laserlight show had amazing reviews all over the internet, and various friends I asked about it said they try to go at least once a summer. Stone Mountsin Park certainly sounded like a fantastic place for our Summer vacation!
We looked at the website as a family several times… The kids were all thrilled to see the attractions and quickly began voicing what they just HAD to do first! Between the SkyHike, the Scenic Railroad, and the Great Barn, I began wondering if we would be able to fit everything into one day. I knew that it would be a marathon day of nonstop fun… I just hoped that my husband and I would be able to keep up with the kids!
After a great night’s sleep at The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Resort, we drove down to the park….. And it was raining. Yep. Raining. I was momentarily horrified, and wondering if our day would be a wash (pun, intended), then I remembered all of the great indoor options that the park had to offer! Talk about feeling relieved and excited, all at once!
After easily getting our pre-reserved tickets at the Crossroads Station, we went to The Great Barn.
This place was even more amazing than it looked on the website, and my kids went crazy once we went inside. The Great Barn is a building with three floors that all look down on an atrium… But this is not a plant-filled, relaxation-inducing atrium… It contains tons of interactive games and contraptions that work with soft, nerf-type balls.
My kids ran around the Barn, trying out each of the games, and their favorite, by far, was the ball-launching machines on the balcony.
My youngest daughter was enthralled with a machine that would vacuum up the nerf balls then fill a bucket with them… When the bucket got full, it would dump out on our heads. Lots of fun! We stayed here for over an hour… And the kids also demanded an encore of The Great Barn after lunch.
We then walked to the Park’s 4-D theater to see “Journey 2: Mysterious Island“. The short adventure movie was packed with action and recognizable stars (Michael Caine, The Rock, Luis Guzman) which definitely kept our interest. While watching the show we wore 3D glasses, which made the movie jump out at us, but for the 4D experience, our chairs shook in response to onscreen action, wind blew in our faces and water mist simulated the rain onscreen. The film experience lasted under 15 minutes, which is perfect when you’re exploring the park and need a quick break from walking around or killing time before the next attraction…. Don’t miss this one. Another fantastic inside attraction to enjoy on hot or rainy days.
Following the 4D experience, we went for a ride on the Scenic Railroadand saw much of the park. Educational tour videos played on TV screens in the train that pointed out cool geological and historical points of interest. The scenery was beautiful and my sons loved the train, itself. While riding we got a great view of the famous carving on the side of Stone Mountain, and also learned that Stone Mountain, is not actually a mountain at all! Very informative and fun. And because it was still raining off and on, this was a great way to continue to explore the park and stay dry!
Lunchtime was upon us after our railroad adventure, so we headed to the Campfire Grillto eat. This was the one part of the trip that we did not enjoy, and I hope it will be evaluated soon…. We were asked to wait (15 minutes) even though the restaurant was half empty. When we finally were seated, our waitress took a very long time in coming to greet us (10 minutes). After finally taking our orders, we waited 45 minutes to get our food, and it was edible but definitely nothing to write home about and overpriced. Although we will definitely be back to visit Stone Mountain Park, next time we will either pack a picnic to eat in the car or seek out other dining options within the park. Due to the inclimate weather, many of the other restaurants/food spots were closed.
After lunch, we headed to the famous Summit Skyride that takes park goers from the ground all of the way to the very top of Stone Mountain.
The line was long but moved very quickly, as each tram holds up to 80 people at a time, and it’s only a 3 minute trip, one-way. My kids were thrilled about riding it to the top, and my youngest kept squealing “Here come BLUE one… now here come RED one!”.
Once aboard they loved the view and the ride, itself, was very smooth. Once we had reached the top, we grabbed a quick snack in the snack bar, then ventured out onto the top of the mountain on foot.
It was absolutely amazing… We could see 60 miles away in any given direction, and the kids were as fascinated as my husband and I were at all of the markings and variations on the mountain where we stood. They climbed around and played games with other kids checking out the view, and we enjoyed watching them while loving the breeze.
It’s a memory I will always cherish.
After descending from our mountain-top exploration, we got in the car and headed to Antebellum Plantation and Farmyard. I’m a History nerd, and my kids have been raised going to museums, so we were all thrilled to see so many beautifully-restored antebellum buildings all in one place. We explored all of them, and especially loved the main plantation home with it’s adjoining garden (it’s a real, working garden with many types of flowers and vegetables) and the barnyard that contained love animals. We were delighted to see the pigs eat their dinner. I highly recommend seeing this when visiting Stone Mountain a Park… It makes history come to life.
My boys had been begging to go to the SkyHike, so we headed there next. After buying reasonably priced water shoes from the gift shop next to SkyHike (closed toed shoes are required) the boys were strapped into their harnesses and began climbing the three-story ropes course.
I was absolutely amazed at how brave my 6 and 7 year old were in tackling this attraction…. I would’ve been terrified. They loved every second of it and can’t wait to go back again. My oldest daughter wanted to do the ropes course, but wasn’t tall enough to meet the height requirement, so my husband walked her over to Camp Highland Outpost, which is connected to The SkyHike area. Camp Highland Outpost has tons of lower-to-the-ground obstacles for her to conquer.
My toddler also attempted a few of the obstacles with my help…. She doesn’t like being left out! This was a fantastic area of the park that your entire family will be dying to enjoy again.
After our extended and enjoyable time at the ropes courses, we headed to the Lasershowviewing areas as the sky became dusky. Stone Mountain Park graciously provided us with Reserved Seating for the Laserlight show, which came with chairs in a side area, unlimited popcorn and a drink apiece.
It’s an up charge that I will happily pay for in the future. Traditionally, viewers bring blankets and picnics to sit on the lawn and enjoy the show, which I think we would also enjoy, and will try at some point, but this setup was amazing. As tired as we were from our fun day, it was soooooo nice to be able to just sit down and relax, enjoy our refreshments and wait on the show. The sophisticated light show was paired with a great selection of crowd-pleasing songs that has us all dancing and singing! even as tired as we were. “Happy” by Pharrell and “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen were my kids’ favorites, but I LOVED the Elvis medley of American songs set to a light segment that made the famous Confederate Memorial carving on the mountain appear to move.
Fireworks were interspersed throughout the show, which added excitement and great visual effects. We cannot wait to go back!
You will not regret scheduled a trip to Stone Mountain Park, whether it’s with your family or a couple’s getaway (which my husband and I are currently planning). I recommend two days to see all that the park has to offer, but one day is definitely enough to enjoy a large portion of it…. Even when the weather isn’t the best. The prices are very reasonable and everything that we enjoyed during our day there was included in the Adventure Pass price ($29.95 for an adult) and although the food prices were a bit high, the souvenir and gift shop prices were very reasonable. We will be back very soon for another visit!
*I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. Stone Mountain Park provided Adventure Pass tickets and Reserved seating tickets for my family so that I could properly evaluate the attractions for this review. All opinions are my own*