“Branson, Missouri has so many fun filled things for people and families to do that the choices almost boggle the mind,” said Paul Miller, General Manager of the Branson Tourism Center. “One of its most unique shows and attractions, from its banana launch on August 12, 1994 to the entertainment experience it provides is the Showboat Branson Belle.”
Themed to capture the beauty, legend and lore of the early 1800 showboat era; the Showboat Branson Belle provides her passengers with a unique chance to experience the elegant grandeur of a bygone era while being able to dine, see a show, and experience the beauty of the Ozarks and its constantly changing scenery as they cruise the pristine waters of Table Rock Lake. “The whole Showboat Branson Belle experience, has made its cruises one of the most popular attractions in Branson for individuals, families and groups of all sizes,” Miller said.
“When you first see her, you know that she is something special,” He continued. Her four decks and smoke stacks reach over 112 feet into the Ozark’s sky and her picture book grandeur transcends time, reminding everyone of the romance, adventure, and history of riverboats and sets the mood for the adventure, fun and entertainment that those boarding her will have.
As impossible as it sounds, the Showboat Branson Belle was built completely on the shores of Table Rock Lake in the immediate area of the White River Landing, where she is now berthed. On August 12, 1994 she was launched down a 140 foot launch ramp, that had been greased with an environmentally friendly two tons of bananas instead of other lubricants, into Table Rock Lake. She was christened on April 13, 1995 and made her first cruise that same month.
At 278 feet in length, 78 feet in width, and weighing 1,250 tons, the $8 million Showboat Branson Belle is almost as long as a football field and carries over 700 passengers as she cruises the scenic waters of Table Rock Lake. She is believed to the largest paddle wheel excursion vessel sailing in a landlocked waterway and is one of the few vessels of her size that does not provide alcoholic beverages or gambling of any type.
Like the true sternwheelers of the past, the Showboat Branson Belle is actually propelled through the water by her two huge stern paddlewheels at a peak speed of 11 miles per hour and an average speed of six miles per hour. Each is 24 feet in diameter, 16 feet wide and propelled by its own independent motor. Although her navigation into and out of her mooring facility is handled by bow and stern thrusters she is steered by a 10 foot 2 inch Captain’s Wheel “made of solid maple wood Restored from the C.C. Slider which operated 1928 – 1952.”
Miller said that the theatrical entertainment and great meals prepared onboard the ships galley for its lunch and dinner cruises are provided in an atmosphere that is as close to the elegance and adventure of the historical river boat era as one is likely to find. “In addition,” he said, “The Ozarks scenery seen from Table Rock Lake, as the Showboat Branson Belle cruises its waters, provides an unsurpassed constantly changing show of its own.
For additional information or tickets for the Showboat Branson Belle or any of Branson’s other shows, attractions and activities or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. BTC can be reached by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.