I’ve lived in Atlanta 19 years (as of 2016) and have only been to Stone Mountain twice; once when I was fourteen for an initial visit, and a few winters ago when we took Red to experience Snow Mountain. Needless to say, I thought my kids deserved to see the massive piece of granite that trumps Mt. Rushmore by 30 feet and the beautiful grounds that make up Stone Mountain Park. Summer at the Rock 2016 proved to be quite a fun experience for him, though he was bushed by the time it was over!
Red and I were hosted by Stone Mountain to experience #Summerattherock16, which included a pass to the park (the all access pass makes things SUPER easy!), a family style dinner on the terrace, and special lasershow terrace seats. First on our personal docket of things to do was get to the “Top of the Rock!” There are two trams that go up and down every ten minutes, and Red snagged a window right at the front of our car to watch every second of the climb. He was amazed! I enjoyed the narrated tour along the way… I’m a history buff!
When we got to the top, a selfie was necessary to document the elevation and our trip!
FYI… you CAN FaceTime someone from the top of the rock. We called Daddy and toured him around carefully. There are tons of little dips and peaks on the top of the mountain, but that makes it very cool to see. We saw Kennesaw Mountain, Buckhead, downtown Atlanta, and more iconic places from the top, even though it was a cloudy day. If you’re afraid of falling down, there is a nice little visitor’s center with viewing areas and sidewalks to stay on. You won’t miss much if you stay to the side.
While we waited for dinner time to arrive, Red and I spent almost 45 minutes in The Great Barn (he still talks about it every day!). It’s a huge barn, four stories tall, with interactive games, slides and hundreds of firm foam balls. They are the “fruit” that kids harvest, toss, and corral into air shooters, funnels, and tubes. The Great Barn recently had a makeover to include the Dinosaur Explore attractions and is still a great place to burn off energy and learn about paleontology. It’s a wonderful place for all ages; even I had a good time. I even saw a few employees walking around and sanitizing handles, play areas, and the toddler section. That made me feel good about playing around with Red.
After much decision, I bought Red a face painting session for $5, which was a custom symbol to match his Captain America shirt. He was incredibly proud and extremely happy. Some of the face paintings I saw other patrons selecting were beautiful. Butterflies spread across faces, dragons wrapped around cheeks. Red was fierce and proud to represent both his superheros and America. “Uncle Ty Ty would like this, Mama!”
Afterwards, we caught the 4D Yogi Bear movie in the theatre, which left us wet and laughing. It’s very cute! Other awesome extras this summer include the Chicago Boyz, who are professional gymnasts and Semi Finalists on America’s Got Talent. They regularly perform at halftime for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. Acrobatic stunts, tumbling routines, giant jump rope tricks, and are included at this limited summer engagement.
When it was finally time to settle in for the laser show, it was fairly late. The sun didn’t set until 9pm, which was well past Red’s bedtime. I can only recommend staying for the lasershow if your kids can stay up late. Many of the attractions close shop (the 4D theatre, the trams, most of the shops, etc) at 8:30, so you’re spending time on the lawn or terraces waiting. My tips: Grab your kids some glo-items. I sprung for a refillable bubble gun for Red, but we could have easily brought glo necklaces and other things from home to save some serious cash. Bring some snacks if you like and a blanket or very low beach chairs if you don’t get a terrace reserved seat. Our seats, hosted by Stone Mountain, were on the Virginia terrace, and pretty awesome. Terrace seats come with popcorn, a drink and a glo-item. Buy yourself an ice cream and you’ve got snacks fit for a king and a lasershow that is killer!
The lasershow isn’t stingy with music, lights or special effects. The 60 minute show will please everyone and is very family friendly. During the 2016 lasershow, you’ll see some GREAT “Drone Wars” animations and hear some very popular music (that Red knows well!). Pack your sunscreen, bug spray and maybe buy some terrace seats for the Stone Mountain Lasershow. It will be a Summer at the Rock experience in Atlanta you can’t miss!