Monday, January 31, 2011

See Rock City, or We'll Cut You!

If you've driven anywhere in the South, there's a really good chance you've seen a billboard or barn rooftop advertising "See Rock City".  High on top Lookout Mountain you'll find this rock garden tourist trap.

Lovers Leap at Rock City
FUN FACT: Two indians leapt to their deaths here!

You simply have to go here at least once in your life.  Depending on which way you swing (and they have a nice swinging bridge here, by the way), it's either gloriously beautiful or gloriously cheesy.  The beautiful part of the park is the rock gardens and views from Lookout Mountain.   I took Jessica here for her first time visit a few years ago. Her thoughts? "It's... definitely unique." That's a ringing endorsement!

Jessica attempts to prevent being crushed
at Rock City's "Rock Compactor Alley"

The main feature of Rock City is the "Enchanted Flagstone Trail".  Here you'll wind your way through, over and under various rock formations. There's a "Fat Man's Squeeze" and "Needle's Eye" to walk through along with a Balancing Rock and "Rainbow Hall", an amazing stretch of passage with windows covered with multi-colored gels. Okay the multi-colored windows seemed a lot neater when I was a kid. And there's a view of "7 States" which I don't think is entirely true. There's actually a lot of debate about the validity of this named view, but regardless, it's an impressive view. 

"Warning: Neon and Killer Gnomes Inside!"

The cheesy part of Rock City is the final act - Fairyland Caverns.  The "Caverns" takes you through a number of scenes depicting evil garden, or actually, cave gnomes who stare at you, grinning evilly:

The one on the right took a shine to Jessica.
His head cock is disturbing.

After the gnomes are through with you, the tour continues on to an even more bizarre site - Mother Goose Village - a room featuring glow-in-the-dark figurines depicting various Mother Goose nursery rhymes. It is truly bizarre.  And it's a lot of fun.  I've been fascinated with caves, both real and fake, for years, so I always enjoyed the conclusion to Rock City's tour.

It was impossible to capture this properly
because it's simply too awesome.

The cost of a ticket has steadily risen over the years as the cost to upkeep the rock has, um, risen?  There are "Lookout Mountain" combo tickets you can purchase if you're planning to also see nearby Ruby Falls and ride the Incline Railroad.  So definitely look in to purchasing one of those to save a few bucks. For more info about Rock City, visit their website here.

FUN GAME: If you drive from Nashville down to Chattanooga, play the game: Who has more signs, Rock City or Ruby Falls? Hint:  if you want to win, don't pick the attraction that uses the birdhouse barn.

1 comment: