See Rock City: TN Attraction Still Awesome After 80+ Years

What drew me initially to See Rock City TN, was the famous ad campaign that simply had the bold words See Rock City painted on rural barns.

In addition to finding an awesome bird house that resembled the famous barns, we also found simple family fun exploring ancient rock formations, learning nursery rhymes and taking in the breathtaking views of the valley.

See Rock City Chattanooga TN

See Rock City: TN Attraction Still Awesome After 80+ Years

Rock City Gardens is technically located in Georgia on Lookout Mountain, but it’s so near Chattanooga, TN, that people consider it a Chattanooga attraction. It has a 1950 ‘esque feel, which is what I like about it. That and the barn ad campaign.

I once bid unsuccessfully at a silent auction for a coffee table book of the famous barns and a birdhouse. I don’t remember what it went for, but there was fierce bidding. You gotta love an ad campaign (and an attraction) that started in 1932 and is still working more than 80 years later!

Rock City TN has stood the test of time. Sure, they’ve added gem panning and rock climbing for the kids, but the rest of it is a walk in time that brings you back to a simpler day when families drove to their destinations playing car bingo and kids fought for real estate in the back seat.

Needles Eye at Rock City Chattanooga TN

Threading the Needle’s Eye

Rock City TN Favorites

Like the ad campaign, kids still clamor 80 years later to get a good look atop the mountain and “See 7 States.” Of course now they’ve added binoculars for a closer view. If you have small children, look for the short look-out stands that are just the right height for kids. The views and photo opportunities are truly spectacular.

The self-guided walking tour along The Enchanted Trail takes you through huge rock formations, some estimated to be 200 million years old. They have great names like “Needle’s Eye” and “Fat Man’s Squeeze.”

Even my tween and early teen loved the 180-foot long Swing-a-long bridge, but if that’s not for you don’t worry, you can go around.

If you don’t want to go on the swing-a-long bridge, there is a way around it.

What You Need to Know if You Have Small Children

For those visiting Rock City Tennessee with smaller children, note that strollers won’t be able to get around the entire path, so plan to carry your little ones or pack them in a carrier of some kind.  Of course, even then you may have to make some adjustments. We had my youngest in a backpack years ago and had to get him out to fit through Fat Man’s Squeeze.

Fairyland Caverns at Tennessee Rock City

Enter Fairyland Caverns and test your knowledge of Mother Goose Rhymes

Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village add some whimsical to the visit. I was actually surprised that my boys didn’t know more of the Mother Goose rhymes. They can dazzle you with knowledge of intergalactic planets and beings, but were a bit stumped on why Jack and Jill went up the hill. #parentfail

Both of these attractions are underground and lit by black light. If your child is afraid of the dark, distract them by focusing attention on white shoelaces or glowing t-shirts until they adjust, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy the exhibits.

Rock City TN in Chattanooga TN

Vintage Rock City TN photo

Save Time for Rock City Gardens

When I think of Rock City, I think of the rock formations. The formations and natural pathways were the inspiration for a 14-acre garden with more than 400 different species of native wildflowers, plants, shrubs and trees.  Visitors can use their cell phone to hear a guided tour of the Gardens. We visited in the spring when everything was beginning to bloom and it was beautiful.

Rock City Christmas

Rock City Christmas is a huge event each holiday season.

More Adventures at Rock City TN

Rock City is a destination for anytime of year. Perhaps time your visit for the many events and festivals hosted by the Gardens. Rock City Christmas is very popular.

Rock City is located in Georgia, but only six miles from Chattanooga, TN. We stopped at Rock City on our way to a vacation in Chattanooga.

There are packages to See Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline Railway all in one day. All great attractions, but this is a lot for kids (and adults) to do in one day. I would suggest splitting it into two. If you must do it all in one, plan a lighter schedule the next day.

For more photos of Rock City visit Field Trips with Sue on Facebook

Although we were provided complimentary attraction tickets for the purpose of reviewing it (as is common in the travel industry), we only recommend places we would stay and products we would use.

Sue Rodman | Managing Editor & Business Development

Sue Rodman is a mother of three boys, a PR professional, writer, and ice cream lover. For eight years, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. In Sept. 2016 Field Trips with Sue merged with 365 Atlanta Family. In addition to writing blog posts and managing the advertising and public relations for 365 Atlanta Family, Sue does freelance public relations and her writing has appeared online at TravelingMom, Trekaroo, Minitime Family and other family travel sites. She has contributed to print publications such as Family Fun, Simply Buckhead, BuckHaven and Publix Magazine. In addition, Sue has appeared on local and national news talking about family travel. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories.

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