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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stone Mountain Christmas Review

Saturday we bundled up the kids and made the trek to a place my family always enjoys visiting for the summer Laser Show ~ Stone Mountain Park.  Located about 40 miles south of us, it's always a fun destination for all.   Stone Mountain is the world's largest piece of exposed granite, and is Georgia's most visited attraction!  This holiday season, I wanted to find out what Stone Mountain Christmas was all about.  We arrived at about 5:15 pm, which truthfully was a little later than we should have started our visit.  We simply didn't have time to do everything we wanted!

When you arrive at the gate to the park, you'll pay for a parking pass ~ it's $10 for the day, or $35 for the year.  If you plan on visiting more than once, it is worth it to upgrade and get the yearly pass! Then you can visit the park itself for free throughout the year.  

Once inside, we headed to the Crossroads area, which has been transformed into a beautiful Christmas village.  We had been given one day passes from Stone Mountain for our visit, so we exchanged those for armbands and entered the village.  The lights are gorgeous - trees are strung in all colors, and the buildings are covered in clear lights.  Everywhere you look there are sparkling lights! 

The Trim a Tree Shoppe

It was magical in the village, sparkly lights reflected everywhere  you looked from the rain ~ kudos to the decorating team!!

The theater where we saw Polar Express 4-D

We really wanted to go on the Sing Along Train ride, so the station was our first destination. Unfortunately, we found that the next train was already full, so we decided to go see the Polar Express 4-D while we waited.  Trains run about every 40 minutes, the movie is every 30 minutes.  When you enter the theater, grab a pair of 3-D glasses and you'll stand in a waiting room.  Watch the monitors for a prelude to the actual movie, then the doors open and you'll go in and find your seat.  Bottom line: my family loved this.  If we had been able to find the time, I know we would have gone to see it again that night - it really was that good! And the 4-D part was very fun: snow falls, water sprays to simulate the train wheels skidding on ice, you'll smell the enticing aroma of hot cocoa - it was a blast!  The show lasts 20 minutes, you get to wear funny 3-D glasses and you WILL get wet!  Everyone in the family will enjoy this attraction.

 After the movie, back to the train station we went.  After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, we found out that the next train was full also.  Luckily, there was some entertainment to keep my little guy from fussing too much - the Bubble Man!   He made some amazing bubbles and had the kids enthralled. 

Well, with another 40+ minutes before the next train, we needed dinner ~ it was a cold, drizzly night and we needed some warmth!  Miss Katie's Restaurant had a huge wait, so we got on the waiting list and visited the Glass Blower's shop.  There was time for a little window shopping too.  There are several stores to visit, including a Trim a Tree store, a Toy Store, Candy Store, and a gift shop in the train depot too.  Back at Miss Katie's, we were seated in a cozy booth and enjoyed their famous plate of pass arounds ~ fried dill pickles, sweet potato fries and fried onions ~ while we waited for our dinner.  Yum!  It's a little pricey, but it was filling and you can't beat the service.  Oh, and my kids liked the fact that the servers don't serve you rolls, they throw them to you - Miss Katie's is the home of the hand-tossed rolls!

 Next we went back to the train station.  The 8:40 train was also full.  They told us we could wait 40 minutes for the 9:20 train, but we would miss the Snow Angel finale and fireworks.  Both kids decided that they would rather ride the train, so we decided to stick it out and wait.  It was running a little behind, and we didn't board til 9:30, but we were in the enclosed car.  I was happy my toes had time to defrost for a bit!! The train ride was fun, with lots of Christmas carols for everyone to sing along to, and Christmas light displays around the base of the mountain.  Shortly before you arrive back at the station, the train stops for a live presentation called "The Gift", basically a retelling of the story of Jesus' birth.
Simple but beautiful, this story reminded us all of the real reason for the Christmas season.

David & Daddy on the train

When we finished our train ride it was almost 10 pm,  and everything was closing down.  I was really disappointed that we hadn't come earlier - there is so much more to see!! We had planned to watch some of the live shows - they have several, including Sleigh Ride, A Crossroads Christmas Carol, and more.  There is a storyteller several times a day,  plus a Christmas parade.  (We actually heard the parade going by while watching the prelude to the Polar Express 4-D).   We had hoped to take the kids to play in the Barn and there is also mini golf.  So much to do, and we just ran out of time!!  All in all,  Stone Mountain Park is a great time, and a super-fun family-friendly destination in the metro Atlanta area.  There are many festivals throughout the year, nightly laser shows in the summer, and so much more!

Here are my tips for visiting Stone Mountain Christmas:  Go early, obviously.  Get the day's schedule at the ticket window so you can plan your visit accordingly.  As I mentioned before, there are some great shows to see, plus a storyteller, the Polar Express 4-D, the Sing Along Train, the Summit Skyride up the mountain, and even a visit with Santa!   If you plan to ride the Sing Along Train, take along a blanket for the little ones and scarves, mittens and hats. You'll be waiting outside for the train, some of the line area is covered, but it is all outdoors.  There is one enclosed train car and several open sided cars.  Even in the enclosed car, it was cold and we saw many families with blankets!  Don't forget your camera because there are so many beautiful photo opportunities throughout the park. Finally, make sure you can watch the Finale & Fireworks show with the Snow Angel.  I'm still disappointed we missed them!

If you plan to eat at the park, options include Miss Katie's Restaurant, several snack bars and even a Honey Baked Ham Cafe on site.  Scope them out early and make a reservation if you plan to eat at the restaurant.  If you need a warm drink while you're strolling through the park, visit the Hydration center which offers coffee, cocoa and soft drinks.   There are also kiosks throughout offering drinks, and even a S'mores station!

Stone Mountain Christmas is open through the 23rd of December from 10 am to 10 pm, and December 26th - 30th from 10 am to 10 pm.   Their phone number is 770.498.5690.

For more information on Stone Mountain Christmas click here
For Stone Mountain Park ticket, family value pass & annual pass information click here.

Disclosure: Stone Mountain Park provided me with 4 one day passes for our family to visit Stone Mountain Christmas.  I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions expressed are my own.  ~ Aimee


  1. Hi! I hadn't heard of Stone Mountain before but it looks like it'd be a lot of fun!

    Thanks for visiting me recently. Now I'm following you.

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday week! :)

  2. Aimee,
    I stumbled on your blog from a blog hop. Wow, what a LOT we have in common. Our unusual name, living in Atlanta, cooking, family, travel. My family actually just went to Snow Mountain on NYE. It was pretty silly but my little ones enjoyed it. I'm following - how could I not??? - and looking forward to getting to know you.


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