I’ve always loved taking pictures and video. When I was five, I started using cameras at home. I took pictures and shot everything that I could. The cameras used film, so I was limited on how much I could capture. In the digital age, the only restriction is running out of space on a device that can hold thousands upon thousands of pictures and video. How do you take that many pictures and video and make them special?
Give the camera to a six-year-old.
To make the pictures and memories even more special, give the camera to a six-year-old who is playing at Dollywood during Christmastime.
I decided to try this experiment. I told my niece anytime she saw something she wanted to take a picture of to let me know. Boy, did she! As a warmup, she took a picture of the water tree near the Dollywood Express. She likes to look at it every time she visits.
As we were leaving that area, she spotted the large wreath with the train in the background and wanted a picture of her cousin and aunt.
It wasn’t long until she was rocking the picture-taking. Dollywood is filled with tons of photo opportunities, especially during Smoky Mountain Christmas.
Over in Hidden Hollow in Wildwood Grove, my niece asked if she could take a picture. Not sure if I’d ever see my phone again, I watched her hike through the play area and up, up, up to a little lookout spot. A few minutes later she came down with this gem.
If you ever see me in the park, you’ll see a camera attached to my hip. I’m always looking for the next photo. This trip was special because I had a little helper who was scouting her own photo opportunities.
When you’re waiting to board the Dollywood Express at night, all the glowing lights catch your eye. “I really like those colors over there,” she said. When we were in line to get the Fruity Pebbles Funnel Cake, I heard, “I like that window up there. It’s really pretty.”
I think some of the best photo ops happen during the Parade of Many Colors. She loved seeing the butterflies hanging above her in the Adventures in Imagination area and watching the candy canes dance by.
Seeing the smile on her face as each beautiful float passed was awesome. She told me her favorite float was the train. I’m not sure if it is because her cousin loves trains or because Santa rides on that one. I’m inclined to believe Santa has something to do with it.
The next time you’re at Dollywood with kids, let them borrow a camera every now and then. You’ll leave with some pretty special moments captured and, just like they sing in “Christmas in the Smokies,” each time you look at them you’ll be taken back to a place you love, with warm and tender memories.