Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park, or Lake Winnie as it is affectionately called, is like a time machine to a simpler, small town America amusement park. A cross between state fair and seaside boardwalk, Lake Winnie offers old favorites and modern rides, and is one of the best family amusement parks in Georgia.
Lake Winnie is located in Rossville, GA — so close to the Tennessee line that they advertise their location as Lake Winnie Chattanooga, TN.
First opened in 1925, it is named after the Native American word Winnepesaukah, meaning “bountiful waters” or “beautiful lake of the highlands”…which perfectly captures the centerpiece of the park – Lake Winnie.
Is it Really One of the Best Amusement Parks?
Without a doubt!
First – there is the nostalgia aspect. Parents will be reminded of a simpler life, when they were kids, and RFIDs and Fast Passes were sci-fi notions.
Second – there is no fee to park. And the parking lot is right next to the ticket booth.
Third – the price is affordable. The amusement park and water park are both included in your ticket. That ticket is less than $35 (cheaper when the water park is closed for the season) – and a season pass is about $110.
Fourth – there are no lines for the rides! In fact, one of the staff members told us that someone rode The Cannonball roller coaster 34 times – in ONE day!
I believe it. On our visit during the summer, we did not wait in line for the roller coaster, the pirate ride, the swings, the water slides, or anything!
Fifth – concessions are affordable. For lunch, we ordered 2 kid meals that came with fries and a drink, 2 additional water, 2 pretzels, a salad and nachos…and it was less that $25.
Need something even more affordable? Bring lunch from home! Yup – you are allowed to bring in your own food and coolers!! There are large, covered pavilions near the main entrance. Any food brought from outside the park is relegated to that section of the park – but that is a GREAT WIN for families!
Lake Winnie Rides
What’s your favorite ride from childhood? I bet you can find it here.
There are 38 rides and attractions include some of my childhood favorites: the Pirate, Matterhorn, and the Free Fall.
As you walk into the park, the kiddie rides are the first group to greet you. They include the Bumble Bees, Free Whale, Lady Bugs and more.
This is where you can pick up the train, that takes you around the park, with a stop at the Soak Ya Water Park. There are also other rides for “big kids” and adults, like the Pirate, Matterhorn, the Boat Shoot and Fire Ball.
Fun fact: The Boat Chute was designed by the owner, Carl Dixon, and opened in 1927. It’s the oldest mill chute water ride of its kind still in operation in the US. It was the first ride to open, and is still among the most popular here.
Make your way past the old-school games of skill, retail shops, concessions and a changing facility. You can also jump aboard the paddle boats and explore Lake Winnie from a closer perspective…or keep pressing forward to more rides.
Popular rides here include the antique carousel, built in 1916 and one of the largest and oldest in the country. You’ll also find antique cars kids can actually drive!
Keep going to the Thrill Rides section, with bumper cars, roller coasters, the Wave Swinger… and the Alpine Way gondola that crosses the lake.
My son’s favorite stop here was the wooden Cannon Ball roller coaster. It opened in 1967, and is one of the signature attractions here – the oldest of the park’s coasters. It was a rather smooth ride for a wooden coaster and had some good dips and turns – a great coaster for the 10 year old (and Dad!)
SOAKya Water Park
The SoakYa Water Park debuted in 2013, and is a fantastic addition. See our Facebook Album for more photos.
The water park has a changing facility with lockers, making it easy to move from the water park to the amusement park once you’re ready.
For little kids, there are two sections to play…Water Works (like you might find at an upscale sprayground) and Soak-N-Slide. These areas, plus the main exit for the lazy river, all include zero-entry pools.
I loved the Crazy River (their name for the lazy river) and admit to taking a relaxing round here a half-dozen times.
My boys could not get enough of the water slides…The Winnie 500 flume body slides where their favorites – plus the Twist-N-Shout and Splish-N-Splash and a few other twisting, turning options..
You’ll find concessions here, too…and plenty of seating in the shade.
If you plan to spend the entire day here, then consider renting a Cabana. For $75 you get the private, shaded cabana perched right on the lazy river, with a ceiling fan. It comes with sunscreen, 6 waters on ice, and some game tokens.
The water park is exceptionally clean and beautiful, and I appreciated the great number of life guards dotted around the park. If you ask me, the water park alone is reason enough to invest in a season pass.
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Disclosure: Thanks to Lake Winnie for hosting me and my family. Opinions here are our own, as always.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.