One of Atlanta’s most popular annual summer events is the Laser Show Spectacular at Stone Mountain. It’s a massive, uniquely Southern extravaganza that simply must be seen to be believed. However, there is much more to the park than this one event, as there are quite a few attractions and celebrations taking place throughout the year.
If it has been a while since you visited the park, to see the laser show or otherwise, it’s worth giving Stone Mountain a second glance. The laser show itself has been revamped for its recent 25th anniversary, and while you’ll still see dancing lights across the Confederate Memorial to Southern classics like “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” there are now much more modern technical elements to make the effects event more impressive. If you now have kids of your own, imagine how impressed they will be by a screen that is five times the size of an IMAX movie screen. If you are taking your friends from out of town to the event, slip in the tidbit that the display is taller than the Statue of Liberty and even your most jaded guest will be curious.
If you’d like a closer view of the Confederate carving featuring Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, consider taking the Skyride up to the summit. The Swiss-style cable car will sweep you up over 800 feet to the top of the rock, providing fantastic views of the Atlanta skyline in the distance and the surrounding countryside. Of course, those with a fear of heights might want to skip this one, but on a clear day, it is hard to find a better view of the city.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider the family-friendly SkyHike, where you and your crew can participate in a ropes course designed for various levels of difficulty. The park guarantees that no two hikes are exactly the same, so you and your group may want to take on this course several times, ramping up your challenges as you gain confidence. The trail heights range from 12 feet to a lofty 40 feet, and tickets are $14 each. Alternatively, you can take on Geyser Towers, where a serious of rope bridges and net tunnels bring you to platforms offering fantastic views of the great gusher. Don’t worry, you have the option of staying dry if you don’t want a refreshing spritz.
Those with a taste for history may want to check out the Antebellum Plantation on site, with its well-preserved nods to life in the 1800s. There is also a museum devoted specifically to the history of Stone Mountain where you can learn about the previous civilizations and creatures who lived there up to 12,000 years ago.
Even the mini golf on site has an historical flair, as the course is based on the events of the Great Locomotive Chase. Similarly, the Ride the Ducks attraction provides details about the park’s history to guests while they ride on land and in water in an actual 1940s era Army DUKW. If you prefer a smoother ride, check out the scenic railroad, which offers a breezy, open-air tour through five miles of beautiful local scenery.
Most of the attractions run through November, taking advantage of Atlanta’s mild fall weather. The laser show ends in October, and the Antebellum Plantation is open year-round. There are also special events throughout the year like the Yellow Daisy Festival, and the park is available for rental for events like family reunions and weddings. If you don’t want to go home at the end of the night, there are campgrounds on site.
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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.