We received educator passes to visit Stone Mountain. To say I knew absolutely nothing about what to expect is an understatement. My jaw dropped when I passed the giant rock relief comparative to the size of Mount Rushmore. It was AMAZING! I lived in South Dakota as a child and had never heard of another like it in the U.S. I will admit, as a non-southerner, I was surprised and a little confused to see Confederate generals and their horses as the subject matter.
Here are some of the nuts and bolts that I wish I had known…
We found the signs to get to the park a bit confusing. When you make it to the parking entrance it felt like we were entering another town. (It actually is so much more than just a park with activities, it has a campground and lots of extra to explore.) I would suggest pulling up your “paid” pass for parking before you get to the booth, as our phone was not cooperating.
It helped to set my expectations and realize this is NOT an amusement park like I would normally think of, i.e. Six Flags. They did have a 4D show for the kids but that was it for “ride” like adventures. There were little shops you could peruse; a candy shop, toy shop, glass making, etc. It also had different restaurants to choose from featuring BBQ in one place and hot dogs and pizza from another. I found it very cost effective to purchase a meal ticket online. You can also bring your own food.
The train ride was a bit slow for my family. The show at the half-way point was pretty hokey and we were happy when it was over! If you are desiring 20 minutes or so of downtime, the train might be just the thing.
They have a mini-golf area that’s fun for the kids but lacked creativity. We didn’t play all of the holes because the wait was a bit long; however, my kids enjoyed skipping ahead.
My favorite part was the Summit Skyride. If you are afraid of heights, like the poor woman standing next to me, this may freak you out. The views were absolutely stunning. When you get to the top you are free to walk around the mountain and enjoy the breathtaking view. You also have the option to hike to the top. The park wasn’t very full when we were there, but the Skyride felt a little claustrophobic since they try to squeeze it full.
About a ten minute walk (15-20 minutes with our 5 kids) from the main entrance was the Farmyard. Be prepared to pet goats and sheep, and one pig in a pen. That is pretty much it and feeding the animals was not an option. There are several old houses along the way to explore, which was a bonus on our walk. My older kids and I appreciated the history.
Important Tips to Remember
- You must wear or bring closed-toe shoes. There is a sprinkler/climbing area and a ropes course. Both will not allow you to climb without your shoes. If you don’t want wet tennis shoes, then throw some Crocs in the car. They do have Crocs conveniently available for purchase, to those who are in need.
- Bring swimsuits for the kids if you don’t want their clothes to get wet in the sprinkler area.
- If you are planning to purchase food there, buy the Adventure Pass Meal Deal online. It was so worth it! We saved a lot of money by buying the pass ahead of time. The price you pay when you get there is probably three times more. With that said they do allow you to bring food, so we brought a lot of snacks.
- If you plan to stay for the laser show at night, plan to arrive later in the day. We got there around 1:00 p.m. and stayed until it started at 9:30 p.m. My littles were totally wiped; they enjoyed the show for a while but were ready to leave before it was over, even though we made it to the end. Also, we aren’t used to these chilly nights, so bring a blanket or jackets for the kids. We visited in June to help set expectations.
- Check height and weight restrictions for the rock wall and ropes courses. My kids were disappointed because they didn’t weigh enough to do the rock wall in the kid’s area. You must be at least 50 pounds to enjoy the rock-wall in the kid’s area, and the height requirement is 44 inches for the SkyHike ropes course.
Have a Blast!