Sunday, March 11, 2007

Atlanta - Day 2 - The Great Outdoors

Given the nice weather forecast today and the chance of some showers tomorrow, we headed out to Stone Mountain Park. Located east of Atlanta, it was about a 15 minute drive (via I-285 and Stone Mountain Pkwy) from the hotel to the park.

The park is built around the largest exposed granite dome (825 feet tall) in North America and is 3,200 acres in area. You pay a daily parking permit of $8.00 per vehicle to enter the park. This lets you enjoy the various facilities such as picnic areas, trails, children's playground, Quarry exhibit and, during the summer, the Lasershow Spectacular. In addition to these facilities, the park has several attractions that can be paid for individually or you can purchase an One-Day All Attractions Pass.

Despite the off-season, many of the attractions were in operation, including the Scenic Train Ride, Riverboat Cruise, 4D Theater, Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard, Treehouse Challenge and The Great Barn. Despite spending just over 6 hours at the park, we didn't get to them all. Unfortunately, the SkyRide to the top of Stone Mountain was closed for maintenance.

We did ride the train round Stone Mountain which provided some awesome views of Stone Mountain. Jeremy and Corbin enjoyed the Crossroads, a replica of an 1870s southern town, complete with a blacksmith, glass blower and candle maker. We visited several shops including the gift shop and candle shop and candy shop. Corbin bought some sheriff's badges for himself and some of his friends. Tina and Adam picked up some candles for Jen and Adam bought himself a hat.

Jeremy and Corbin let loose in the Treehouse Challenge, which consists of two three-story forts - one for boys, one for girls - where kids had to guide colored balls into interactive stations to score points. Next we had lunch at Miss Katies, a full service restaurant, where they hand toss rolls at you. The food was hot and tasty. The kids food came on a Frisbee, that the kids got to keep.

Next, we checked out The Great Barn - a three storey barn where kids are given a bracelet that lets them earn points (again using colored balls) at various interactive stations. There were slides, trampolines, cannons and nets. Jeremy and Corbin thoroughly enjoyed The Great Barn.

We took a drive around the park to give the kids some time to calm down and relax and to get a better idea of what the park has to offer. Stone Mountain Park is a great attraction with lots to do and lots to see. We definitely would recommend it to anyone visiting the Atlanta area.

On our way back to the hotel, Adam took the long way home via the I-285 loop. It took us by the airport which piqued the interest of the boys, especially Jeremy, who loves airplanes. At the hotel, we rested for a short while and ended an awesome day by spending some family fun time in the pool.

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