The Pink Pig has been a popular Atlanta Christmas attraction since it first spun around the top of Rich's downtown store in 1953. Today grandmothers and grandfathers who rode the original pig as a child return to Lenox Mall during Christmas to keep the tradition alive.
After World War II Rich's found that it needed to attract customers from the growing Atlanta suburbs to its downtown store. In 1948 Rich's added a Christmas Tree ("The Great Tree") to the top of the store's 4-story "Crystal Bridge" across Forsyth Street. Although Richard Rich, grandson of store founder Mo Rich, is commonly credited with the innovation, it was Frank Pallotta, Rich's Publicity Director, who actually came up with the idea. More was needed by the early 1950's to compete with Franklin-Simon, Sears, Roebuck and J. C. Penney, each of whom had targeted suburban customers of Rich's.
Pallotta once again came up with an idea to attract suburban customers downtown. He added "Priscilla the Pig," a small train that ran on a monorail through the toy department in 1953. A small fee was charged to ride the train through the toy department. At this time the Pink Pig was segregated.
Pink Pig in the 60s
In 1955, to take advantage of the popularity of the children's ride, Rich's moved The Pink Pink to the roof of the store, where it ran on a monorail and left the store through an opening that allowed kids an up-close view of the Great Tree, Atlanta, and circled the toy department inside. A second pig, Percival, was added in 1964 to increase ridership. They would both run on the same monorail and they were known as the Pink Pig Twins. At this time the ride was extended to loop around the Great Tree.
Rich's was boycotted early in the Civil Rights movement when the store refused to serve African-Americans at the Magnolia Room, a restaurant inside Rich's. Before the 1961 Christmas season Rich's preemptively desegregated not only the store, but the Pink Pig as well. This was viewed by the leaders of the Civil Rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, as the largest success in the Civil Rights movement to date.
Original Pink Pig
When Rich's downtown store closed in 1991 the Pink Pig moved to the Festival of Trees held to benefit Eggleston Hospital, but the Pink Pig was too expensive to run. It was discontinued after 1995 at the Festival of Trees and donated to the Atlanta History Center. In 2003 the Pink Pig was resurrected, updated and moved to a tent at the top deck of the Macy's parking garage. Behind the current attraction is the original Pink Pig, on loan from the Atlanta History Center.
Tickets for the attraction are sold in the Lenox Square Mall, in the hallway leading to the top deck of the garage. Once you've purchased the tickets, continue through the doors behind the ticket booth. After crossing over to the Macy's parking deck, the tent holding the Pink Pig is directly in front of you. As you enter the tent a gift shop is on the left and the entrance to the ride is on the right.
Employees help you board The Pink Pig and then its off into a children's wonderland that includes the original Priscilla's in a storybook setting. The train winds through the displays slowly on a level track. The story and the ride will be enjoyed by all. Unlike the Pink Pig at Rich's downtown, adults are welcome to ride with their kids. As you exit, feel free to browse the gift shop and perhaps buy a toy so that your kids will always remember the outing.
Pricing is extremely reasonable, and for adults with multiple kids, or kids that want to ride more than once, a two and three ride discount is offered. For more information visit the official Pink Pig web site, where you can download a two-for-one coupon.