On May 21, 2022, Rock City Gardens celebrates its 90th anniversary with guests entering through the original round gate as they did in 1932, along with nostalgic surprises and new technical features to try on the Enchanted Trail.
Rock City has planned a range of improvements throughout the year, with four core pillars highlighting the attraction’s historic leadership while guiding the path forward: innovation, sustainability, art, and people.
The President and CEO of See Rock City Inc. Doug Chapin, “It’s been an exciting time for all of us here in Rock City, it’s been 90 years since Uncle Garnet and Aunt Frieda opened the doors to this beautiful place. It has been humbling to look back in the history of Rock City to see the work that Garnet and Frieda, Big Ed (my grandfather) and my father to SRC, these people and our community.
When we looked back, we clearly saw the four pillars of our business: innovation, art, sustainability and most importantly, people. It is inspiring to have such a solid foundation to build upon as we look to the future and how our business continues to evolve and grow. We know we will continue to use this legacy to advance and innovate, as we strive to make memories worth repeating for our guests and partners in new and different ways! “
For 90 years, Rock City has been a leader in innovation, beginning with its founder, Garnet Carter. Not only did he envision rock garden for his wife Frida as something others would want to see, he created the Tom Thumb mini golf, as well as the advertising legacy of more than 900 painted barns across the United States bearing the “See Rock City” message. Sustainability has also been at the heart of the attraction, with plants and flowers growing in their natural environment, in the modern era of using solar panels that harness energy from the sun.
The gardens’ artistic inspiration goes back to the early days of Rock City as well, with the creation of Frida’s Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. In recent months, there has been a re-imagination of exotic paths marked by original masonry and glasswork, intricately carved stone hunts and magical portals to the next enchantment. Then at the heart of Rock City’s legacy lies its founding mission with an absolute focus on people, to create memories worth repeating for all who encounter this geological marvel.
Rock City’s latest art creation, the Hall of the Mountain King Project, weaves together nature and magic while building on the original folklore that Frida loved. Many local artists continue to collaborate with the Rock City innovation team to use a variety of materials and media to bring a new level of magic to the parks. The final phase of the project presents the Ibsen Troll, a larger than life figurative sculpture created by the attraction’s senior director of innovation, Will Jackson. Ibsen and the caves in which it inhabits, inspired by the classic piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg, as well as the play by Henrik Ibsen, previous peer.
Rainbow Hall is another area recently reimagined with one-of-a-kind windows featuring custom-made steel-sided frames, by metallic artist Michael Brandt. This innovative design by Will Jackson embraces unique glass sculptures by artist Chris Mossi from iGNiS Glass Studio in Chattanooga. The colorful views from Rainbow Hall continue to be a highlight for visitors. For up-to-date information on 90th Anniversary Plans, visit www.seerockcity.com/90.
Rock City has a whole host of annual events, Summer Music 90’s Weekends beginning Memorial Day Weekend, every Friday through Sunday through Labor Day! Roam to the sounds of live music, watch birds of prey soar in the sky at Critter Classroom and sample Southern favorites from Café 7. New artist for the event is Rick Rushing playing blues, along with returning performances by old musician Matt Downer, Hai folk rock Beams and Bluegrass Rhythms by Taryn Amy Smith. go to www.seerockcity.com/summermusic for further information. There has been nothing better this year to visit the city of rock!
See Rock City Inc. Inc. is a hospitality and leisure company that includes the world-famous Rock City Gardens atop Lookout Mountain, and also owns and operates the Battles for Chattanooga Museum and Clumpies Ice Cream Co. and GOOD DOG, Grandview Conference Center, RiverView Inn, and Starbucks. Plus tickets and concessions for the Incline Railroad, the Charles H. College National Honorary Heritage Center Medal, and the retail store and coffee shop at the Creative Discovery Museum.