Where: Lake Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays through March 1
Every morning around 9 a.m., the snow machines at Lake Lanier Islands in Buford start pumping to ensure that visitors don’t miss out on a white wintertime.
SnowWorld is Lanier Islands’ way to embrace the frigid temperatures and cold winds. Though winter has yet to grace Georgia with the real thing, patrons can play in manufactured snow in all the places beachgoers would normally enjoy in warmer weather.
Tubing, ice skating, speed sliding and marshmallow roasting are all on the itinerary at SnowWorld, in addition to carnival games and a bevy of restaurants serving hot cocoa and other items to warm patrons.
“We just wanted to try it,” said Vicky Gomez, a 57-year-old resident of Marietta. “We love it here (at Lanier Islands). The Christmas lights, and all that.”
Vicky Gomez brought her 7-year-old granddaughter, Jordan Gomez, to SnowWorld to experience a little bit of what Mother Nature has held back this wintertime.
“I want to try the tubing,” Jordan Gomez said.
The tubing takes place in Lanier Islands’ wave pool, which has been drained to accommodate the Polar Plummet, a large structure with several lanes allowing visitors to ride snow tubes.
Several areas of the park have been covered with snow for anyone to play in, including the “Ice Kingdom” in the kids’ swimming area.
Revelers are also encouraged to take photos with various backdrops and tag them with a variety of snow-themed hashtags, including #yetiselfie.
“It’s just something to do, and it’s fun for the wintertime,” Gomez said.
Matt Stull of Cumming and his son, Aaron, made SnowWorld a multigenerational affair.
“Grandpa paid for us to come ride some rides today,” Stull, 41, said. “We’ve done all the rides and they were lots of fun.”
Aaron, 7, said his favorite ride was of the plunging variety.
“The Himalayas (was my favorite),” he said, referring to a vertical water slide that has been converted to a dry slide for wintertime. “It was the scariest.”
Even employees have their favorites when it comes to SnowWorld’s many rides and attractions.
“My favorite ride is probably the Polar Plummet, just because they made it from scratch and it’s not also used as a water slide,” said Tyler Lorenz, 16, of Flowery Branch and an employee at SnowWorld.
While the holiday season was filled mostly with cold rain, SnowWorld allows parents to give their kids a bit of outdoor fun.
“Over the holidays it was cold, we had lots of rain, and it was hard to get out,” Matt Stull said. “It’s good to get out and have something to do.”
After the kids are finished playing, families can grab a bite inside one of SnowWorld’s heated restaurants or roast marshmallows around one of the many fire pits around the park.
SnowWorld will remain open through March 1 from 5-10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays, with special hours for school holidays.
“I don’t know what it is, it’s just fun the whole time,” Lorenz said of SnowWorld. “Everybody is nice. It’s just fun to do.”