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Kids marvel at nature at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga

A “Time Capsule” Made in Tennessee

A weekend in the Smokies showed us how easy it was for our family to make memories that will last a lifetime.

In a time when Google searches take seconds, communication is nearly instant and having something viral is actually a good thing, it’s not surprising that as my daughter’s shoes came to rest on top of a time capsule, marked by a sidewalk copper plate, her brother quickly asked, “What is that, Daddy?”


As I explained what it was, we began to guess what it might hold – newspaper clippings, prices of items, a photo or two, maybe even a letter from a previous generation, and I was reminded that in many ways, our trip to Tennessee was like that capsule. Moments spent together as a family, filled with new experiences that created memories we wanted to capture and hold. Now only one question remained…what would our time capsule hold?

Thoughts from my 13-year-old daughter, Chelsea

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, so a time capsule that I would make all about a trip would be bound to fill up very quickly. Tennessee is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. I’ve been to beaches, cities, even a cattle ranch out West, but I had never been to the mountains before. I would definitely put a photo of the mountains into our time capsule. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was breathtaking!


Sevierville has lots of under appreciated small shops like a fabric store with authentic Southern owners called The Cherry Pit, a small barber shop with a happy and friendly barber and customers, and a pretty little boutique called Sweet Peas and Ivy that had a super cool vibe.

Everyone we met there was so kind and had great hospitality. Something that Sevierville is very proud of is the Dolly statue, and when you visit, it’s easy to see why.


Jocelyn, age 10, makes her addition to our family’s Tennessee time capsule

I would put the thrills of watching my brother ride his first roller coaster at Dollywood inside!


At Dollywood we rode a steam train that took us all around and we got to see so many things.


Also at Dollywood, we saw the Festival of Nations, Mother Africa. The acrobatics the people did were absolutely incredible!


I would also put the wonders of walking through a tunnel where we could see sharks overhead at Ripley’s Aquarium.

Another thing I would put in our time capsule would be the memory of the delicious food at Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant.

The last thing I would put in our capsule would be the amazing feelings that I felt when my dad and I rode down the water slide at Wilderness at the Smokies water park. I was happy, scared, and excited all at the same time. It was so amazing, and I have so many things I want to remember and put in our capsule. Our trip to Tennessee was an experience I will never forget!

Tennessee from the perspective of our 7 year old son, Colsen

At Ripley’s aquarium I liked playing with the penguins. 

I also liked when I was at the part where you could play in the play area. And, I also liked when I got to be in the tunnel and the sharks swam right over my head. 


Even the music made me feel crazy, like I was right in the water with the sharks! Then at Dollywood, I liked to ride the carousel and see all the people.


I liked eating the candy, playing the games, winning prizes – I even won a Pikachu when I got the ball in the red cup.


It was fun when we got to ride the Ferris wheel and daddy kept shaking because he didn’t want to go really high.

And I loved when me and daddy went down the water slide really fast. I also liked when the pool got wavy and I had to fight through the water. It was fun watching my sisters getting 750 pounds of water dumped on their heads too! 


Final Thoughts

At a time when we might expect a kid’s favorite memory to involve a video game they played, an app they recently downloaded or the latest upload by their favorite YouTuber, the special moments my kids wanted to tuck away in our time capsule all revolved around incredible experiences with family.  Tennessee offered us many unique opportunities to create memories for our kids that we look forward to reminiscing about for many years to come!