A Stone Mountain Holiday
Stone Mountain Park, beyond downtown Atlanta, rings in the Christmas season with more than two million twinkling lights in Crossroads, a re-created 1870s southern town at the base of the mountain. The park commemorates its 50th anniversary this year with Stone Mountain Christmas, where you can enjoy The Polar Express 4D Experience, complete with the delicious aroma of hot chocolate; Christmas musical reviews with a small-town flavor; and a five-mile train ride around the base of the mountain that includes "The Gift," a play about the Christmas story.
Santa Claus visits the park nightly, riding in a parade of five lighted floats and holiday characters. The Snow Angel closes the evenings, waving her magic wand to create snow and fireworks. A Christmas laser show, set to holiday music, illuminates the carving on the mountain.
Let it Snow!
If you want guaranteed snow this winter but prefer a destination that’s not too cold or rural, consider visiting Snow Mountain, which opens Dec. 31 with a 30,000-square-foot play area of real snow and a 400-foot tubing hill with 11 runs. Kids must be at least 43 inches tall to tube. Warming areas and bonfires ward off frozen fingers. The snow is made from water borrowed from Stone Mountain Lake in a closed-loop system. Open through March 1 on weekends.
Attraction and Lodging Details:
Stone Mountain Christmas, Stone Mountain, U.S. 78 East, exit 8 (about 16 miles east of downtown Atlanta) — www.stonemountainpark.com. Admission $17 ages 3-11 and $20 adults; vehicle entry $8. Fridays through Sundays Dec. 5-14 and daily Dec. 19-30 except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Snow Mountain — Opens at the park Dec. 31.
Marriott Evergreen Conference Center — www.evergreenmarriott.com. Look into package deals, including a Snow Mountain and campground package and family packages with attraction tickets and breakfast at the Marriott Evergreen Conference Center.
Sharen Swintek is a Huntersville mom and former Charlotte Parent staffer.