By Howard Pousner
Here’s a quick look at what’s new at three metro Atlanta attractions that are popular stops for residents and their guests during the holidays.
Stone Mountain Park
U.S. 78, Exit 8, Stone Mountain, 770-498-5690, www.stonemountainpark.com.
Stone Mountain Park’s high-flying, wish-granting Snow Angel is becoming a bigger star with each year. This year, the proof is in the park’s new Wonderland Walkway, a “magical tunnel of lights and melodies” that leads to this Christmas queen’s new digs, Snow Palace at Memorial Hall. That’s where guests can have their picture taken with the ethereal angel and her toy soldiers before she takes flight at the end of each night above Crossroads village to make it “snow.”
Among the various (and short!) holiday musical shows offered multiple times nightly is a new revue, “Holly Jolly Cabaret,” in which the audience can participate by ringing bells and trumpeting horns. A returning favorite is “The Gift,” a live show about the true meaning of Christmas, which is experienced from the train as it circles the mountain. Stone Mountain Christmas is open today through Sunday and Dec. 3-5, 10-12, 17-23 and 26-30. Adults, $27; children 3-11, $21.
For our Northern friends, it can’t be Christmas without a carpet of white stuff on the ground. Snow Mountain delivers the best metro Atlanta has to offer starting Dec. 11. New this year will be Avalanche Alley, a family snow tube ride, and Fort Snow, a snow tunnel for sliding and crawling. Snow Mountain will be open weekends and daily during school holidays through March 6. Admission for all ages is $27. The park is offering a Stone Mountain Christmas-Snow Mountain combo ticket, $44 for all ages.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859, www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.
An 18-foot-tall poinsettia “tree” in the Fuqua Orchid Center and a Botanical Saint Nick in the garden set the tone for the holiday-bedecked garden. The hop-aboard Botanical Express train is back for weekend spins around the Great Lawn. G-scale model trains are chugging around two courtyards. “Santa’s Missing Mail,” a puppet show, returns at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Dec. 4, 11 and 18.
The Reindog Parade, featuring pups dressed in holiday finery, is 11 a.m. Dec. 11, and holiday teas will be offered at 1 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19. Most events free with regular garden admission: $15; $12 65-plus and ages 3-17; free under 3.
Atlanta History Center
130 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-814-4000,www.atlantahistorycenter.com.
Starting this weekend, the 1928 Swan House mansion — one of Atlanta’s true residential landmarks, designed by the late classicist Philip Trammell Shutze — and the 1860s Tullie Smith Farm are decorated for tours. (Regular admission: $16.50; $13 65-plus and students 13-up; $11 4-12; free under 4.) To experience them in the old-fashioned warmth of candle glow, Candlelight Nights will be held5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 14 and 16 ($15; $7 children).