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Local Spring Attractions & Destinations: Stone Mountain

I've been an Atlanta resident for a little over a year and I've struggled with putting most things New York behind me. It has been particularly hard accepting Atlanta's cultural events and attractions. I have to admit, I've been a snob. Stone Mountain is such a place that I've been told is the place to be --- to visit, to chill, to run, to bike to walk to hike and to picnic. My response each time I've visited has been a mix of missing home and wanting just a little more. After abandoning my disintegrating plans to haul the family to Disney World this Spring Break I was forced by finances to stay put. But staying put doesn't mean staying still.

On Tuesday, a friend and his daughter and my daughter and I drove up to Stone Mountain for a day of unexpected, wonderful family experiences. Their Spring FUN Break 2012, ending on April 7, is a home run!

First and foremost is their newest attraction, Geyser Towers. It is a water-infused, climbing attraction. The more than two-story tall climbing attraction is all about getting families out of the house, moving and if they choose, getting soaked. With a mixture of geysers, mister and sprayers, kids climb through multiple levels of suspended rope bridges and net tunnels and can either play in
the spray or stay high and dry. My daughter and her little friend began their time doing their best to stay dry, but after a few climbs getting wetter and wetter each time, they both went for gold and gleefully got drenched from head to toe. (Make sure your kids wear shoes with gripping soles as this is not a water park slide). If your child likes to climb and get wet, Geyser Towers is the ultimate playground.

From Wet to Wild
After the kids dried off a bit in the hot sun we were treated to a presentation of Wildlife Wonders’ Animal Babies presented by the North Georgia Zoo & Petting Farm. We met an amazingly cuddly wolf cub, a hedgehog, a joey (baby) kangaroo and a baby alligator. I managed to learn a few things myself from the animal expert on hand while the kids did their best to either touch or scurry from some of wildlife's youngest.

Blast Off With the Easter Bunny
Our next stop was a visit to the Easter Bunny's lair where he was throwing a pretty lively party for the 4-feet tall and under set. There were craft activities. My daughter and her friend made bunny masks, played with giant legos and managed to do some coloring before hopping on both sides of Mr. Peter Cottontail to have their picture taken by the Stone Mountain staff. Last but not least the DJ was a funky chap in long bright orange shorts, knee-high argyles a bright orange bow tie and a blue periwinkle blazer with a propeller cap. Yes, I was digging the DJ's gear and maybe after I lose these few pounds I've gained and enter Alice's Wonderland I'll consider rocking the same gear myself.

Mini-Golf, Trains, Zip Lines and Laser Shows
Time was ticking quickly with so much to do. We got a good robust game of miniature golf going on a pretty challenging course called the Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf. Needless to say our children cheated and even my friend began to stop counting some of the extra strokes he was taking. Can we say Mulligan? In the end the person who wasn't keeping score, but adhering to the rules was the one who one --- that would be me.

What kid doesn't love a train? Especially two big ones who have their daughters with them? The twenty-five minute, 5-mile ride aboard the 1940's open-air train is bound to make the most citified stalwart nostalgic, if only for twenty-five minutes as it tours the property.

We arrived late to the Sky Hike attraction, a cool, up-in-the-air hiking, adventure experience that requires you to wear a harness. It was something the big kids could have done had we not gotten there fifteen minutes before the park closed. The kids were able to experience the Camp Highland Outpost obstacle course, a miniaturized boot camp style obstacle course complete with rope walking and zip lines.

What we missed out on was the Summit Skyride, a high-speed Swiss cable car that takes you 825 feet above the ground to the peak of Stone Mountain. There was just too much to do.

There’s always the next time.

By the time the park closed at 7 pm a new wave of people were coming in to set down on the great lawn to picnic, socialize, toss around the ball, etc. before the Lasershow Spectacular™ in Mountainvision. It’s a free event but for a small price you can reserve VIP box seats which provide the most comfortable views. It’s like being at Ravinia with orchestral music and lasers but without the actual orchestra.

Part daddy-daughter day, part guy hangout, my Stone Mountain Spring Fun Break 2012 was a blast. It runs through Saturday April 7, so if you’re in Atlanta and looking for something to do before Easter I highly recommend packing the family all in and heading to Stone Mountain for a few hours. You’ll need a few hours minimum to have a worthwhile experience.

Learn more about Stone Mountain Park and its offerings and be sure to bring plenty of fluids and sunblock because the sun is pretty intense out there on bright and beautiful spring days.

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary, all-access passes to Stone Mountain’s Spring FUN Break 2012 in order to authentically review the experience. The opinions expressed in the above review are 100% my own.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.

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