About Us Site Guide Events & Festivals Book/DVD/CD Reviews Downloadable Photos Reader Information Feedback Links Contact Us Home
 Site Search
 
  
 News Flash
Hot Travel Deals 'Round the South
Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark's Whitewater Deal
Visitor Guides and Guidebooks
Web Travel Resources
Festivals & Events
Hotels & Resorts
Outdoor Adventure
Destinations
Historic Sites
Wine, Brews and Spirits
New Distilleries with Tours Open in KY
Dogs, Cats and Critters
Along the South's Roadways
Family Fun
Golf and Other Sports
 Sponsors

















Americana & Nostalgia

4/7/2007
Rock City: 75 Years of Old-Fashioned Fun

75 Years of Enchantment

at Magical Rock City, TN

Photo of Rock City goes here.

Spectacular views of Chattanooga, the surrounding hills and even a waterfall delight Rock City visitors who head to the mountaintop attraction for a half-day of fun.*

By Susan J. Young

After my parents and grandmother visited Chattanooga’s mountaintop Rock City Gardens attraction in the early 1950s, for years they chattered on incessantly about it. Over and over, I heard expressive stories about the fairytale attraction.

What was the big deal I thought? How exciting could an enchanted trail and floral displays be? How much fun could one have exploring rock formations and fairyland caverns with elves and storybook creatures. 

 My father, Marvin Young, at Rock City's Hall of the Mountain King in 1950.          

My father, Marvin Young, about to enter the "then scary" Hall of the Mountain King at Rock City in 1950.*

Rock City certainly seemed an attraction with odd diversions. But several years ago when I was in Chattanooga on business, I headed for the attraction’s lofty location atop Look-Out Mountain.

Quirky Memories

Instantly, it was as though all those parental memories I had viewed in decades-old photo albums (see photos this page) had come alive. I chuckled as cute static elves peered out at me from cave-like vignettes. Rope bridge crossings created laughs.

Look-out spots created great photo opportunities of the teeming city below and of seven states on the horizon. Displays of 400 native plants and flowers splashed texture and color throughout the park.

Photo of Rock City Rope Bridge goes here.          1950s Photo of My Mother on the Rope Bridge at Rock City.

A rope bridge offers some fun (and a bit scary) rippling as you walk over it and it's fun to stop for a great view. The shot on the left is modern day, on the right it's my mother, Doris Young, on a Rock City rope bridge in 1950.*

But the stars of Rock City were really the massive rocks themselves. One of 1,000 tons was perched precariously. Trails led me through a fantasy world of rocks, caverns, childhood stories and to look-out areas.

At one point, I squeezed between two very tight rocks along a trail. No worries, though, as there are alternative routes for those with claustrophobic tendencies or robust figures.

Photo of my mother squeezing through a narrow crevice at Rock City circa 1950. 

My mother squeezing through a narrow crevice and stairway within rock formations at Rock City in 1950.

When I looked around, kids raised on high-tech video games and multimillion dollar theme park rides were enjoying Rock City as much as the older folks. The low-key attraction creates simplistic fun.

Don’t expect razzle-dazzle coasters or flight simulators. Do expect your half-day visit to offer a mix of quirky things to see and do -- everything from a waterfall to a deer park.

Photo of Little Girl at Spring Break at Rock City shown here.       My mother and grandmother at Rock City's gift shop in 1950.

This little girl is among the kids who find the attraction endearing, despite its lack of razzle-dazzle attractions or rides. At left, two kids at heart -- my mother and my grandmother, Irene Reilly -- outside Rock City's gift shop in 1950.*

Birthday Bash

Founded in 1932 by Garnet and Frieda Carter, Rock City celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2007. The birthday party kicks off in May. Interestingly, the attraction itself is just an infant, considering its rock formations are more than 200 million years old.

Still, reaching the 75-year mark in the attraction business is quite an achievement. Birthday events throughout the year include a Fairytale Festival, Summer Concert Series, Roctoberfest, Enchanted Gardens of Light and more.

Photo of Nighttime Lighting with Doves at Rock City goes here.

Holiday lighting displays are impressive at Rock City.*

One new feature this year is a Starbucks Café. Visitors can savor their double latte while seated within the old Cornerstone Station, which was the original Fairyland Community Fire Station.

Located six miles from downtown Chattanooga, Rock City Gardens still enchants. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $7.95 for kids 3 to 12. 

To order tickets online or learn more about the anniversary hoopla, visit www.seerockcity.com. (Editor's Note: If you click on the Rock City site here you will not be able to return to this page with a back click; something on the Rock City site bars visitors from returning to the previous page with a back arrow. Normally we do not print links that approach the Web in this way. But given that this is the main site for the attraction, we feel compelled to include it. Just re-type www.southerntravelnews.com in the browser window if you go to the Rock City site and wish to return to ours. Or, jot down the Rock City site URL above and go there later after you're finished browsing our site.) 

Best Bets ... for Transportation Up to the Rock

If you go to Rock City Gardens, one scenic way to reach the attraction is via the Look-Out Mountain Incline Railway. The views and photography opportunities are spectacular.

 

This funicular to Rock City operates on the world's steepest passenger railway incline.*

Those with height fears, however, might do well to drive up the mountain. Why? The funicular takes guests in trolley-style cars over a 72.7% grade. It’s the steepest passenger railway in the world.

The incline’s Web site -- www.lookoutmountain.com – posts a ton of combination ticket and package offers, some including Rock City Gardens tickets. Contact 800-825-8366.

*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau or Susan J. Young. All rights reserved. Please do not link to these photos nor copy. Thank you.


« BACK
 State by State
 Southern Journeys Blog: Kathy Witt
 Alabama
 Arkansas
 Florida
 Georgia
 Kentucky
 Louisiana
 Mississippi
 Missouri (Southern/Branson)
 North Carolina
 South Carolina
 Tennessee
 Texas
 Virginia
 West Virginia
 Travel Sections
 African-American Culture & Heritage
 Americana & Nostalgia
 Antiquing & Flea Markets
 Aquariums & Zoos
 Attractions
 Book/DVD/CD Reviews
 Civil War Sesquicentennial
 Civil Rights Movement Sites
 Cruising & Maritime Sites
 Dogs, Horses & Critters
 Elvis Sites 'Round the South
 Family Travel
 Food, Wine & Brews
 Gardens and Woodlands
 Hispanic Culture and Heritage
 Homes & Plantations
 Honeymoon & Romance
 Hotels & Resorts
 Luxury Travel
 Movie Sites of the South
 Museums & the Arts
 Music & Entertainment
 Native American Culture & Heritage
 Outdoor Adventure and Eco-Sites
 Quirky and Spooky Stuff
 Science and Technology
 Senior Fun
 Shopping & Flea Markets
 Spa Vacations
 Sports Attractions
 Tees & Greens
 Theme Parks
 Travel Tips & Gadgets
 Vacation Rentals
 Walking & Driving Tours
 Press Room
 Advertising Rates

Wine Enthusiast - 120 x 90


About Us   |   Site Guide   |   Events & Festivals   |   Book/DVD/CD Reviews   |   Downloadable Photos   |   Reader Information   |   Feedback   |   Links   |   Contact Us   |   Home

2017 © SouthernTravelNews.comTM All rights reserved.  |  Privacy Policy