Staff Photo: John Bohn David Coggin, left, and Kevin Hickey, right, both of Orlando, Florida, tube down Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park on Friday. Snow Mountain is selling out tubing sessions during this Christmas week. Tubers visiting from Maryland, Florida and Mississippi joined locals in enjoying the artificial snow at Snow Mountain.
STONE MOUNTAIN -- They don't get a whole lot of snow in Thomasville.
A mere 40 miles north of Tallahassee, Fla., the South Georgia town gets scorched during the summer, and the temperature gauge rarely sinks below freezing in the winter. Needless to say, snow is seldom seen.
The frozen precipitation is such an uncommon treat that the Woodell family jumped in the car Friday and drove four hours north at the prospect of playing in a winter wonderland nestled in North Georgia known as Snow Mountain.
The seasonal attraction at Stone Mountain Park features rolling hills of fresh, fabricated snow. Open through Feb. 18, the park offers families the chance to coast down more than 20 frozen slides as well as build snow creations and hurl snowballs in the Snow Zone area.
That's 9-year-old Rylan Woodell's favorite part. Packing baseball-sized snowballs tight in his gloved palms is good fun, he said.
"I like snow because it's slippery, it's wet and you can hurt people with it," Woodell said.
Father, Scott, laughed. Mom, Amanda, fixed the boy with a look.
Scott said seeing snow in their native Thomasville is indeed uncommon, and the children, Ava, 6, and Rylan, have been excited about the pilgrimage to Snow Mountain.
But it's not only those who come from hotter climates who showed up this week at "Atlanta's Official Winter Wonderland."
Chris and Dana Shieh, who are originally from Maryland, arrived with sons, Ryan, 9, and David, 7, to revisit some old, frozen memories.
"It seems weird for it to be this warm, but there's snow on the ground," Dana said. "It's a great time, though."
The Shieh family finished up Friday afternoon at the slides and made their way down to the Snow Zone, while the Parris family trekked up the moving sidewalk to the top of the slides.
Mom, Amy Parris, and son, Jackson, 9, had a competition going. "We're seeing who can spin the most times coming down the slide," said Amy, a Lawrenceville resident. "So far, I'm winning."
A Snow Mountain staff member, Collin Jackovitch, directed the Parris family as they exited the slide.
Jackovitch said he thinks that "people like the sight of snow, even if it's not coming from the sky."
Nine-year-old Rylan Woodell can attest to that. "It's fake snow, but it feels real to me," he said.