Rock City is taking the Enchanted Garden of Lights to a whole new realm as the attraction continues to celebrate its 90th anniversary year with never-before-seen views, themes and activities! Rock City Gardens is merrily anticipating the addition of a Christmas Market, an all-new realm and a seated dinner available nightly in Santa’s Workshop & Kitchen! Jolly adventures await guests as the 28th season of this beloved holiday tradition begins Nov. 18, with over a million sparkling LED lights adorning Lookout Mountain through Jan. 1 (closed Christmas Eve). Rock City Gardens opens at 8:30 a.m. for the daytime experience, and the roundhouse gates and realms open at 4:30 p.m. for the Enchanted Garden of Lights nighttime event, with all activities beginning at 5 p.m.
“This year we are so excited to unveil a brand-new realm as part of the Enchanted Garden of Lights, named the Heart of the Mountain,” said Doug Chapin, president and CEO of See Rock City Inc. “This part of the Enchanted Trail from Fat Man’s Squeeze through the Hall of the Mountain King has never been open at night during this event before, and we cannot wait to share it with you! Over the past few years our team has worked to enhance this area, building on the lore of the Hall of the Mountain King to highlight the handiwork of the trolls who sculpt with stone, glass and metal to create an amazing experience for our guests.”
Over 90 years ago, Rock City opened its gates to the public and began to share the magic and wonder that is an intrinsic part of its unique natural landscape. Co-founder Frieda Utermoehlen Carter brought together her love of fairytales and passion for nature to create pathways that celebrate the best of the natural world combined with the gems of timeless stories. Rock City’s newest artful installation reimagines the folklore and art that inspired Frieda as she helped create this magical space. As guests journey into the new Heart of the Mountain realm, Ibsen the sculpted troll offers safe passage, with glow steps, new waterfall features and the enhanced Rainbow Hall lighting the way to Observation Deck where for the first time guests can get photos of the waterfall and Christmas star! This innovative section is layered with both traditional and multi-colored creative lighting. Heart of the Mountain colorfully illuminates the natural beauty of an iconic attraction, paired with a whimsical world of gnomes, trolls and fairytales – and new views for peak memory-making!
Start at the roundhouse gate entrance to journey down North Pole Highway to see the Nativity Light Story and visit the six uniquely themed realms: Heart of the Mountain, Magic Forest, Arctic Kingdom, North Pole Village, Yule Town and Fairyland Caverns. Walk through one of the world’s tallest and one-of-a-kind Christmas trees with lights that “dance” to music in the Magic Forest. Watch icy borealis colors twinkle in the Arctic Kingdom. Stop by Café 7 in North Pole Village and warm up with holiday drinks like the house-made favorite hot cocoa, and delicious food offerings like loaded potato soup and three-cheese macaroni. Do some holiday shopping and try some German-themed eats and treats in the new Bavarian-style Christmas Market! From birdhouses, gnomes and ornaments to buy, and turkey legs and chili to try, this is sure to become a holiday favorite. Mrs. Claus is there too for storytime and gingerbread cookies to decorate! In Yule Town visit Santa’s Workshop & Kitchen, for a seated meal available nightly and photos with St. Nick (through Dec. 23)! Fairyland Caverns is also open for those who do not want to pass up a chance to relive their childhood with storybook vignettes and fairytale charms.
Celebrate the wonder of Christmas and discover the enchantment of Rock City Gardens…in a whole new light! Tickets are only available online at www.seerockcity.com/lights and must be purchased in advance, except for annual passholders who may come at any time, even during sold-out timeslots (hint: now is a great time to give the gift of an experience – like annual passes to Rock City)! Visit www.seerockcity.com/lightsfaqs for more details on this event, and follow Facebook for updates such as when tickets may sell out nightly.
Rock City Gardens is proud to continue partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities, giving a portion of each ticket sold to benefit local families whose children are hospitalized. Over $270,000 has been donated from proceeds of this event in the last two decades. For more information on this organization and how to help, go to www.rmhchattanooga.com.
Rock City is one of the South’s most popular natural attractions. Known for its unique geological and botanical wonders, the enchanted 4,100-foot walking trail is a true marvel of nature featuring massive ancient rock formations, a waterfall that cascades down Lookout Mountain and a seven-state view.