- Jewel Wicker The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
There are so many great things to look forward to this winter. The presidential election will be over. School-aged kids will be on break. Family and friends will make time to create new memories together.
If you don’t mind cold weather, and are looking to bond with loved ones outdoors, you’re in luck. Ice rinks and snow-themed activities start to open in November and will remain open through the New Year’s holiday.
Go tubing on Snow Mountain or ice skating in one of several rinks throughout metro Atlanta this winter.
Holiday in the Park at Six Flags
Each year, Six Flags extends its season by nearly one month with the help of the Holiday in the Park festival. Visit Santa Claus, experience a light show with more than 1 million LED lights or get inspiration for your own home decorations by viewing more than a dozen Christmas trees.
Holiday in the Park features many Christmas-themed activities and spaces, including Mistletoe Mansion and the peach lights-garnished A Georgia Christmas, but the fun won’t stop after Dec. 25.
Gather around a fire pit and indulge in a tasty treat in S’mores Village or take in a beautiful light show in a hot air balloon at this popular family winter attraction.
Nov. 19-Jan. 4 (select dates). 4-10 p.m. Nov. 19-23, Nov. 25-27, Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-18, Dec. 22-23; 5-11 p.m. Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16, Dec. 19-21; 2-10 p.m. Dec. 26-Jan. 4. General admission at the park: $45.99; free ages 2 and younger. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-739-3400, sixflags.com/overgeorgia.
Avalon on Ice
Avalon’s Rockefeller Center-inspired rink opens on Nov. 20 and will serve as a place for north Fulton residents to enjoy one of the most popular winter activities: ice skating.
In addition to general hours, the rink will offer individual lessons and a skate school, as well as a disco skate party from 5-10 p.m. Jan. 14. Ice skating meets a ’70s disco at this event. Dress up and receive $2 off general admission. A costume contest will take place at 7 p.m.
Additional winter activities at Avalon include the annual tree lighting celebration from 1-8 p.m. Nov. 20. Santa will make an appearance to light the 40-foot Christmas tree at sunset, following a day of family activities, fireworks and live entertainment.
Santa will set up shop in a cottage between Oak Steakhouse and Colletta from Nov. 21 until Christmas Eve. Visits are free and can be personalized by making a reservation in advance.
Nov. 20-Jan. 22. 3-10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays; noon-7 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. school holidays. $18 (includes skates), $14 (children under 10; includes skates). Avalon, 2200 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. 770-765-1000, Experienceavalon.com.
Grab your friends and family and head down Avalanche Alley, a 400-foot tubing hill, when part of popular Stone Mountain Park is transformed into Snow Mountain. Kids ages 3 and under can join in on the tubing fun in a safe way at Bunny Slope, where smaller snow hills were created just for them.
Enjoy more than 20 tubing slides at the snow park, which is set up at Stone Mountain’s Laser Lawn. Visit SnowZone and build a snowman or igloo, or head to the Snowball Shootin’ Gallery. A new Snowball Zone will provide a space for kids to have the ultimate snowball fight before winding down with a bonfire, roasted marshmallows and s’mores.
Weather conditions may limit or cancel Snow Mountain activities. Check before heading to the park.
Children under 16 require adult supervision.
Times vary. Nov. 19-Feb. 26 (select dates). $28 (plus tax) for just Snow Mountain. Laser Lawn at Stone Mountain Park, 100 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 1-800-401-2407, Stonemountainpark.com.
Winter Wonderland in Marietta
Winter Wonderland will return to the Marietta Square in an expanded capacity this year, following a successful inaugural season in 2015. Marietta school children from 11 schools will decorate 11 trees that will welcome families into the square.
An ice skating rink will open on Nov. 18 and remain open through February, depending on the weather. (Organizers say if this winter proves to be as mild as the fall season has been, they will likely close the rink early.)
Santa will pose for pictures and accept the wish lists of well-behaved kids starting Dec. 1, following the lighting of the “great tree.” Bring your pets to visit Santa from 3-7 p.m. on Thursdays. Online booking is available.
As families wait to see Santa, a reindeer card game will take them on a scavenger hunt through Glover Park. Nine reindeer will hold the clues to finishing the game before parents receive a text alert, signaling their family’s turn in line.
Ice skating: Nov. 18 through February (weather permitting). 4:30-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 4:30-11 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays; noon-8 p.m. Sundays. School vacation hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; noon-8 p.m. Sundays. Holiday hours: 2-10 p.m. Thanksgiving; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Christmas Eve; 2-9 p.m. Christmas; 10 a.m.-late New Year’s Eve; 2-9 p.m. New Year’s Day. $12. Marietta Square, 4 Depot St., Marietta. 770-429-1115, winterwonderlandmarietta.com.
Winter at Atlantic Station
Winter festivities at Atlantic Station kick off on Nov. 19 with the mixed-use community’s annual tree lighting. The daylong event will include a parade at 7:30 p.m., a fireworks display and more. Starting at noon on Nov. 19, Santa will be available for photos and other holiday-themed activities, including story time on Dec. 3.
Atlantic Station’s ice rink will return this year and remain open through Valentine’s Day for couples looking for a romantic way to celebrate their love outdoors. The 10,000-square-foot rink will be dressed in festival lights throughout the season.
Head to Central Park this winter to experience Snow Shows starting Nov. 20. Musicians will perform popular holiday music at 7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. Shows will take place every hour on the hour from 6-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re interested in attending a Snow Show between Dec. 2 and Dec. 24, grab something warm to drink from the new authentic German Christkindl Market before you go.
Kids can catch a holiday-themed ride through Atlantic Station starting Nov. 25. Ask the conductor for pricing information.
Ice skating: Nov. 19-Feb. 14. 4-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; noon-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon-9 p.m. Sundays; 3-11 p.m. holidays. $13 (general admission), $10 (children under 12, seniors, military and college students), $75 (season passes). Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta. 404-410-4010,atlanticstation.com.
ADDITIONAL ICE RINKS
Centennial Park Ice Rink
Nov. 18-Jan. 8. 4:30-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 4:30-11 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays. See website for holiday hours. $12 (90-minute skate and skate rental). Centennial Olympic Park, 265 Park Ave. W., Atlanta. 404-223-4412, gwcca.org/park.
The Aquafina Rink at Park Tavern
Nov. 24-Feb. 20. 4:30 p.m.-midnight Mondays-Fridays; 11:30 a.m.-midnight Saturdays and Sundays. (Must be 16 or older after 8 p.m.) $15 (non-peak days), $20 (peak season days). Park Tavern, 500 Tenth St., Atlanta. 404-249-0001, parktavern.com.