We rode bumblebees, and ducks, and flying elephants.

There is a special little part of the Great Smoky Mountains where the restaurants are plentiful, the t-shirts are air-brushed, and the museums are upside-down. There is so much to see and do in this little pocket of heaven, but the ultimate little piece of kitschy goodness is most definitely Dolly Parton's own creation: Dollywood. A theme park dedicated to fun rides, folksy crafts, games, music, and, of course, all things Dolly. Kettle corn, too.

This was little Hudson's first trip to any sort of theme park, and he was quite the trooper. He rode all the rides on which he met the requirements to ride, he sat in his stroller like a little sweetie for many hours, and even waited patiently with his grandparents while his Mom & Dad rode a few adult rides. He really seemed to have a great time, and received lots and lots of attention from the friendly strangers that were enjoying the park alongside us that day....especially regarding his cute little hat that was just perfect for warming his ears on that brisk October day.

I even learned a few things about myself during the trip to Dollywood:

1) I'm a big chicken. - Sure, I have a valid excuse for skipping most of the wild rides...I am the most 'motion sick' person in the world. I can't ride roller coasters, I can't hardly sit in the back seat of a car, I've been known to get nauseous on playground swingsets. I've even had to leave two movies after certain filming styles caused me to vomit at the theater. (Don't worry, I made it to the bathroom.) Embarrassing, but true. But anyway, when I said earlier that Will & I rode some adult rides, that should read as Will rode all the rollercoasters and I rode one. The tamest one of all. The one that was indoors and involved only two mild drops as we sailed moderately slowly by animatronic figures. But you know what? I rode it twice.

2) I'm really pretty afraid of heights. - I talk a big game. It's me who made fun of Will in Chattanooga on Lookout Mountain because he wouldn't pose on the cliff by the waterfall. It's me who makes fun of my Mom because she won't stay past the 4th or 5th floor at a hotel. It's me who braved the Empire State Building not once, but twice, and let the wind blow through my hair on the Top of the Rock. But, at Dollywood, the big talker got put in her place. It was me, who got pumped up about doing the High Ropes Course with Will, high atop Adventure Mountain. And sadly, it was me that chickened out big time when I got up there and realized that I had to tiptoe across ropes miles high in the sky with only a measly rope attached. (So maybe not miles, but it was really high, okay?) I cheated and took the easiest route on each Rope Challenge. Commence chicken sounds now.

Our day at Dollywood was lots of fun, despite my scaredy-cat nature and the frosty wind that blew most of the day. I had a great time at the same park I had visited so many times before as a child, with my parents. It was great to go back, again this time with them, as well as my own little family. And while Hudson enjoyed his visit, we all had an even better time, simply because we got to see him experiencing all kinds of new things. The looks on his sweet face during the day? Priceless. There were so many moments we'll never, ever forget.

{Will riding along on Hudson's first theme park ride. Only you can't see Hudson because he's so tiny in that little jalopy.}

{I'm in the sporty blue car riding along behind the boys.}

{My parents! Fall Fun at Dollywood!}

{Hudson & I met Flora the Horse}

{Taking a ride on Klondike Katie, on of Dollywood's two authentic Coal-Fired Steam Engine Trains}

{Just before Hudson fell asleep on the not-so-quiet train ride.}

{I love PICKLES}

{sweet baby got to pick a duck...}

{....to see if he won a prize!}

{He won! And he got to pick whatever he wanted. And although Dad wished hard for him to choose the gray Alabama elephant, he picked out the bright orange Tennessee elephant.}

{Riding the Ducks! He really did have fun, even though that look on his face would say otherwise.}

{He was being such a good little driver!}

{Laid back}

{Look! He rode the pig all by himself! What a big boy!!}

{DaDa looks on while Hudson chugs along on the piggy ride}

{Bumblebees about to set flight!}

{He had it all under control, I was just the copilot.}

{Those bees went a little faster than I thought they would!}

{Will tried to win a football. He didn't. But he looked cute trying!}

{Sweet Pea stretching his legs.}

{Hudson & Gennie taking a break}

{Hudson & DaDa flying high!}

{look at my tiny little guy.}

{just hanging out while Dad rides the roller coasters.}

{There we are on the dreaded High Ropes Course.}

{Hudson & Gennie look on while we climb the ropes!}

{resting with Granddad}

{At least Will was brave. Notice you don't see the chicken on that ledge!}

{Of course my Mom caught me feeling a little pouty after my Ropes Course fail.}

{The Mine Crew}

{Ending a great day at the park}

{The sweetest little bird.}



Absolutely adore Hudson's beanie - so cute!

Ps: I think the giveaway I'm currently running will tickle your fancy! http://checksandspots.blogspot.com/2010/11/giveaway-giveaway-giveaway.html

Will said...

Fun Times! I wonder if I can ever talk you into doing a Zipline. I can't wait to hit up many more theme parks.

S + Y said...

Teehee, the photos are so cute!!! And Hudson's hat is the most adorable thing ever!!! Looks like you guys had a fun family time :P


Linley said...

love all the pictures; looks like it was a blast! (i LOVE pickles too!!) and you look like your mom. i'm sure you get that all the time... (:

Heidi said...

You have the best dressed little boy in the world. He is suuuuper cute & I'm pretty green over here with envy because River needs clothes that cute. & the hat, Ohhhhh sooo cute!

Your part of the country is really the most gorgeous place right now. I love being in the deep south during fall.

Linda said...

Hudson looks adorable in these pictures. I love that you share the happenings of your family. It looked like the perfect day!

The Auspicious Life

Ollie Things Beautiful said...

Great photos! Beautiful family. You look so much like your mom! xx

Jeannie said...

We had a wonderful time seeing Hudson experience new things and to see him at places you had been as a child. It brought back some good memories. That was a fun trip. Good pics!

Angeline said...

How cool! I had no idea Dollywood had so much stuff, but I grew up a HUGE Dolly Parton fan. Looks like you had a ton of fun. :)

abehel said...

Oh Hudson, seeing you play pick up the ducks, brings back memories of when i was little girl at the county fair. I won a stuffed dalmation.You were a brave little boy riding the car rides by yourself. Hide the orange elephant from dad, it may come up missing! Love you, G-Aunt Kaye

Col said...

Oh my god - when I read the part of how motion sick you get, I thought I was reading about me. I've also left movie theaters (blair witch! how can anyone watch it without getting sick???), can't play those driving video games, and if I even LOOK at a boat, I feel nauseas...Love all your outfits for the 30/30 challenge so far too!