Bountiful Branson

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Branson offers lots of fun for your family in the Ozarks regions of Southern Missouri.

WildFire

The Wildfire roller coaster at Silver Dollar City.

Say the word, “Branson,” and you might automatically assume it’s a destination for old people. Big misconception! Branson, Mo. is full of family fun. It is definitely the live show capital in the United States. Did you know that Branson actually has more seats than Broadway in New York? It sure does. Fifty theaters with multiple live shows await, and a lot more, too.

THINGS TO DO
It’s possible not to know where to start in Branson. Shopping opportunities are in store, and the one place you need to visit is Dick’s Oldtime 5 & 10. This retail store is like a museum with more than 50,000 novelty items featuring classic toys and a lot of stuff that will blow your mind. Dick’s is big on the WOW factor.

Itching for more shopping? Head over to the Tanger Outlet Mall. There, you’ll find more than 65 brand name designer stores that include clothing, food and accessories. Stop by Harry & David for some goodies, and your kids will most likely want to make a stop at the Disney Store.

Attractions for all ages are more than plentiful in Branson. An absolute must is the Acrobats of China show. More than 40 performers fill the stage doing stunts that are amazing. Your kids’ mouths will drop by what these acrobats can do, showcasing strength and dexterity — especially in the scene where a ballerina is on pointe on top of her partner’s head! From start to finish, it’s an exciting show.

Feeling lucky? Head over to the Andy Williams Moon River Theater for your chance to win cash and prizes in “The Price is Right LIVE!”. Yeah, that’s right. It’s just like the game show on TV, and the host of the show is none other than Jerry Springer. Even if you don’t get called up to the front, it is a major blast to experience. When the announcer shouts out a name, saying, “Come on down!” you will be cheering even if it’s not your name. Audience members who get called down have the chance to get on stage to play games just like on the TV show — games like Plinko, Cliffhangers and Punch-A-Bunch. Then there’s the spinning of the Big Wheel and the showcase showdown. This show is a ton of fun And Springer is a hoot! He pokes fun at himself and the contestants all in good humor.

Looking for a little adventure? Head to Wolfe Mountain for the Branson Zipline tour. Have fun zipping through the Ozarks canopy on three different course options. The longest one, however, ends with a 100-foot free fall drop … if you’re so daring, go for it!

An absolute must on your visit with your kids in Branson is the World’s Largest Toy Museum. More than 1 million toys are on display, and it’s everything you can imagine going all the way back into the 1700s. You will have fun reminiscing when you see classic fare that you had when you were a kid. Your kids will be awestruck as they wind through the mazes of this fabulous museum.

Want to sink into some history? Then head to the Titanic Museum. Yes, we have one in Pigeon Forge, but the one in Branson was the first. It’s an amazing museum documenting the ill-fated journey of the “ship of dreams.” You get a card going in with an actual passenger’s name and detail. The very last exhibit room features a wall with all of the passengers’ names in alphabetical order, sorted by class. You’ll find out if the passenger on your card survived or not.

Hop aboard the Showboat Branson Belle for a dinner cruise on Table Rock Lake that comes with an amazing live performance by The ShowMen. Your kids will be amazed by Janice Martin, the violin-playing aerialist. Martin’s art is outstanding. She alone is worth this outing.

Sheer family entertainment comes by way of The Baldknobbers. It’s the oldest running show in Branson — more than 50 years — and it is great fun. You’ll enjoy hearing some great country standards and having a chuckle at several comedy skits in between.

The big boy in Branson is Silver Dollar City. It’s the most famous attraction there and boasts being named “America’s Best Theme Park” by USA Today. The park features lots of entertaining family-friendly shows and lots of thrill rides, including the world’s only wooden coaster that twists upside down. It also has an old-school classic coaster — Fire in the Hole — an indoor coaster with high-speed drops and thrilling surprises along the way. There’s lots of great eats at the park, and you’ll definitely want to take the kids to the ice cream parlor there. The mint chocolate chip is the bomb.

An interesting component about Silver Dollar City’s locale is that it evolved around a great wonder — Marvel Cave. It was discovered circa 1500 AD by Osage Indians, and it features one of the largest cave entrance rooms in the United States, 300 feet below the surface.

WHERE TO STAY
The Village at Indian Point offers very cozy accommodations with a great view of Table Rock Lake. It’s only a couple minutes from Silver Dollar City, it has a really nice swimming pool and the rooms are equipped with everything you need for a decent stay.

Want to know more about Branson? Call 800-296-0463 or visit explorebranson.com.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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