Calling Stone Mountain massive is something of an understatement. The natural attraction covers a total of 583 acres, and its peak towers 825 feet into the sky. That summit grows closer and closer through the window of Stone Mountain Park's signature attraction, The Summit Skyride. The high-speed cable car sweeps over the mountain, passing by the giant figures etched into the Confederate Memorial Carving and granting its passengers incredible views. Visibility stretches more than 60 miles in all directions, revealing lakes, the Atlanta skyline, and the Appalachian Mountains.
Even with the stunning views, visitors might be tempted to descend from Stone Mountain's top to experience the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision and dozens of attractions offered by the park, including the Scenic Railroad, Ride The Ducks, and SkyHike, one of the nation's largest adventure ropes courses. During warmer months, guests can take to the Songbird Habitat & Trail to hear the songs of local birds. In other parts of the park, they'll find the century-old Grist Mill and a quaint covered bridge. Later in the year, snow falls on Memorial Lawn and brings with it the opportunity to build a snowman, tap him on the shoulder, and then quickly slide away down a 400-foot tubing hill on the mammoth snow park.?Seasonal events?including fall festivals and other holiday festivities?pack the park's calendar, ensuring that lovers of both natural and man-made spectacles find something to marvel at.
It's a good idea to arrive early at Movie Tavern, and not only if you hate missing the opening credits. Early birds can peruse the extensive menu of chef-crafted American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. But even after the show begins, the snacks keep coming. Unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. Guests can even sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the full bar before heading in to the theater. The family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies.
As for the entertainment, audiences get to enjoy all-digital presentations of first-run films any day of the week, plus Retro Cinema every Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Audiences also benefit from Movie Tavern's membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free bag of popcorn, plus a free ticket every year on their birthday, special offers, movie news, and invites to screenings and other special events.
Hittersbox Baseball lets hitters battle against pros without ever leaving the batting cage. With its ProBatter PX2 Professional Baseball System—one of several training tools used by major leaguers—a virtual pitcher winds up just as a ball is launched through a hole in the video screen by a pitching machine hidden behind it. For a greater challenge, batters can change the location, pitch type, and sequence of pitches, or just close their eyes.
After practice, Pro Mirror video training allows players to relive their swings and analyze any pitfalls by watching five minutes of batting-cage video. These modern takes on traditional baseball practice, which Hittersbox coaches use for beginners and serious players alike, boast approval from owner Jasha Balcom, a former Chicago Cub, as well as an elite list of major-league clients.
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.
An ECHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, the Gwinnett Gladiators skate constant circles in pursuit of the Kelly Cup. After joining the league in 2003, the team reached the playoffs in seven of its first nine seasons, netting one trip to the finals. Since its inception, the team has played at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, entertaining up to 13,000 fans with fast-paced hockey action and tense moments when the Gladiator's goalie sticks his tongue to the ice at crucial moments.
Featured on Access Atlanta, JapanFest's two-day festival gives crowds of more than 17,000 people a chance to taste varied Japanese cuisine, watch live performances from Japanese musicians and artists, and practice traditional arts in hands-on exhibits. The tunes of Grammy-winning recording artist Yukiko Matsuyama, whose compositions feature the traditional stringed koto, drift through the air as festival-goers watch the hands of professional calligrapher Kotaro Hachinohe bring a large paint-sodden brush down on paper in bold strokes. Pairs of guests can practice the art of petal positioning at the Japanese flower-arranging exhibit, then carefully prune miniature trees at the bonsai demonstration, pruning branches as gingerly as generals clipping budding turrets from the potted tanks in their offices. A range of other participants fills the center's showroom, including anime collectors, kimono crafters, and sake sellers. After perusing the swarm of exhibitors, visitors can reboot with traditional Japanese fare from vendors such as Kotobuki Cafe and Sushi Niko Niko.