For families in the south looking for fun in the snow without traveling to a ski resort, Snow Mountain is just the remedy. From late November to late February, part of Stone Mountain Park, located just outside of Atlanta, is converted into a winter wonderland with the help of a snow-making machine. (It’s real snow!) Snow Mountain provides families a unique opportunity to enjoy some of those winter activities like tubing, building snowmen and throwing snowballs that we southerners just don’t get to do very often.
Less than 20 miles away from downtown Atlanta and Hilton Atlanta, you could spend a half day at Snow Mountain, or take a whole day to enjoy the other activities available at Stone Mountain Park. There is the Summit Sky Ride, which is a gondola that travels to the top of the “largest piece of exposed granite in the U.S.,” and the Stone Mountain Museum. In addition, there are several restaurants and shops within the park that make it really easy to spend the day here.
WHAT SNOW MOUNTAIN OFFERS
Snow Mountain tickets include two hours of tubing and full-day access to SnowZone, which is a spacious, all-ages play area to make snowmen, snow forts and throw snowballs! Families can tube down 12 man-made slopes together or in individual tubes. There is a moving sidewalk that makes it REALLY easy for little ones to manage their tubes and climb the long hill.
SnowZone has small tubing runs for very little ones, a fire pit for roasting ’smores, as well as a snowball shooting gallery (which the dads seem to love as much as the kids). There is even a Snowman’s Closet that has every accessory needed to outfit a snowman or build a snow fort.
IMPORTANT TIPS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
BUY ADVANCED TICKETS
Avoid the crowds and long queues by purchasing online, non-peak tickets. We reserved 9 am tickets two days in advance, which enabled us to walk past the general ticket queue and be among the first tubers in the park. Tip: If you do order online tickets, it is not necessary to wait in the general ticket line. Just bring your printed receipt to the Guest Services building located near the entrance to the Snow Mountain and they will help you. There is rarely a wait here.
HEIGHT DOES MATTER
Children must be 36” tall to ride in the family tube, and 42” tall to ride in the individual tubes. Young ones who are less than three feet tall have the smaller tubing hills in the SnowZone all to themselves.
WHAT TO WEAR
Being the Floridian that I am, I overdressed in preparation for the cold, wet snow. Water resistant clothing and boots are ideal for the SnowZone, but not necessary for the tubing hills. If you didn’t bring ski clothes on your Atlanta trip, just bring a change of dry clothes and leave them either in your car or the on-site lockers.
SPEAKING OF LOCKERS
Bring quarters for the lockers, in case you want to remove a layer of clothing at some point during your visit. Food and drinks are not permitted in the tubing queues, and you might want to keep your personal items to a minimum while tubing. They have loosened their restrictions about keeping cameras and sunglasses secured (in the past you were required to put them in your pockets), but putting some things in a locker will just make your time there more enjoyable.
AVOID THE GLARE
Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses! For those snow novices, sun on snow creates quite a glare. And since it’s typical in Atlanta to have cold yet sunny winter days, you’ll probably need sun protection, both for your face and your eyes!
USE YOUR TIME WISELY
Snow Mountain tickets include two hours of tubing time and an all-day pass to the SnowZone. We resisted the urge to play in the snow until our two hours of tubing had expired. Then we played in the snow, bought some snacks at the market nearby, and returned to SnowZone for a little more playtime.
CONSIDER SPENDING THE DAY AT STONE MOUNTAIN PARK
If you’ve never visited Stone Mountain Park, you should consider buying combo park passes with which you can ride the Summit Skyride to the top of Stone Mountain, a 1686-foot granite dome that boasts the world’s largest bas-relief carving. On a clear day from the top of Stone Mountain, visitors can see downtown Atlanta, Kennesaw Mountain, and sometimes even the Appalachian Mountains, more than 60 miles away!