Rock City Gardens begins phased reopening for passholders

John and Sherry Britton, from Marietta, Ga., look off of the bluff at Lover's Leap at Rock City on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, in Lookout Mountain, Ga. / Staff photo by John Rawlston

Rock City began a phased reopening of Rock City Gardens during its Founder's Day week Monday for annual and Lookout Mountain resident passholders. A reopening date for other guests is to be determined soon.

"Rock City is looking forward to welcoming guests back in a safe way, after being closed since March 14 due to COVID-19," said Susan Harris, president and chief operations officer for See Rock City. "Our team has done great work preparing our place to open in line with the guidance we've received from public health officials."

All gift shops and food locations are also opening with capacity limitations. Rock City's outdoor restaurant, Café 7, is reopening for the season at 50% capacity from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The annual event Summer Music Weekends is not scheduled for the summer season to help guests maintain physical distancing for the foreseeable future.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed businesses including barbershops, nail salons, gyms and bowling alleys to reopen in late April, as well as letting restaurants resume limited dine-in service. Businesses must continue to operate with social distancing and sanitation rules through May 31. Bars, nightclubs, amusement parks and live performance venues will also remain closed until May 31, according to the state's website.

New safety measures and operating procedures at Rock City include one-way traffic, timed tickets and sanitizing stations through the gardens. Employees will wear masks, have health screenings including temperature checks, and perform regular sanitizing of surfaces.

Rock City Gardens opened to the public on May 21, 1932, and is known for its giant rock formations, Swing-A-Long Bridge, Mother Goose Village, cascading waterfall and seven states view.

In Tennessee, as Gov. Bill Lee continues relaxing Tennessee's COVID-19 restrictions, he announced Friday that the state will remove capacity caps on restaurants and stores beginning May 22, as well as allow movie theaters and "large attractions" to reopen.

"Tennesseans have worked incredibly hard to do their part and help slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our state can begin to reopen," the Republican governor said in a statement. "Thanks to their continued efforts, we're able to allow restaurants and retail businesses to operate at greater capacity and large attractions to open in a safe and thoughtful way."

More Info

Rock City is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily for annual and Lookout Mountain resident passholders, with capacity limits per hour. A reopening date for all other guests is to be determined soon.Passholder guest capacity is limited per hour, so advance online reservations are recommended. Those who have passes still valid as of March 13, 2020, can receive a three-month extension. Current annual passes are also renewable for $19.32 during the month of May as part of a Founder’s Day promotion. Rock City’s 88th anniversary is this Thursday, May 21. Visit to reserve a time.

Restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people "remain in place for the time being," according to the Lee administration.

The Tennessee Aquarium plans to begin phased reopening in mid-June, while commercial rafting on the Ocoee River began last weekend with additional precautions to increase social distancing and sanitizing.