BRANSON, Mo., August 12, 2012 — Branson is one of the most popular tourist destinations in America and is called by some the ‘Live music show capital of the world,’”said Annette Wood, Director of Group Sales for the Branson Tourism Center. “Branson entertains upwards of eight million visitors annually with its combination of live shows, pristine lakes, natural Ozark Mountain beauty, shopping, other activities and has dozens of varied, wonderful and exciting attractions” she added.
The definition of the term “attraction” is very broad, encompassing “any person or thing that attracts or is intended to attract” and could cover just about every show, activity and celebrity in Branson. In terms of destinations, travel and Branson, the term is usually used to describe a thing or activity that people enjoy doing while at a destination. That said, excluding Branson’s almost 100 live shows, as this writer reflected on Wood’s statement he wondered, “Comparatively speaking, which of Branson’s dozens of attractions are the most unique, not only to Branson, but, possibly, in the world?” Based on living in Branson for the past 26 years and being blessed with experiencing most of what Branson has to offer he believes that the three attractions listed below should be considered:
Silver Dollar City – The award winning 1880′s styled theme park is Branson oldest and most popular paid attraction, is noted for its world class festivals, rides, attractions, shows, unique shops, craftsmen demonstrating skills in pioneer crafts, great food and much more. One of the features that makes Silver Dollar City special is that the park has been seamlessly blended into the surrounding natural beauty of the Ozarks so as to become a part of it.
That alone could be enough to to put it on the list. When it is factored in with the fact that Silver Dollar City is the home of a National Natural Landmark, the spectacular natural wonder, “Marble Cave,” its uniqueness in Branson and as a theme park anywhere is assured.
Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead Tour – The publication of Harold Bell Wright’s classic novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” in 1907 is credited with the start of tourism in the Ozarks. Among other things, the tour of the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead takes its guests through a portion of the Ozarks that Harold Bell Wright traveled and experienced as he wrote his epic novel and upon which it is based.
The tour also goes behind the scenes of the spectacular Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play, which would also be on this list if it were not a “show;” Inspiration Tower and a visit to the original home of the novel’s main characters, “Old matt’s Cabin,” which still stands in its original location and is listed on the National Historic Registry.
Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen Sightseeing Cruise – At first blush there is nothing unique about taking a sightseeing cruise on a lake aboard a river boat, paddle wheel replica, show boat, catamaran, luxury yacht or any other type of boat and there are a number of destination cities that offer such cruises. What makes it unique is “Lake Taneycomo” itself and what it provides.
The lake is a long, extremely narrow impoundment of the White River, a southerly flowing river, as it runs north before turning south towards its eventual intersection with the Mississippi River. Because it so closely parallels the original narrow banks of the river which runs underneath it, each cruise presents a unique and unparalleled opportunity for cruise passengers to see and experience firsthand how the Ozark Mountains were formed, from the top down, as they cruise by the very bluffs from which they were hewn. Add to that the opportunity to feel the same excitement early riverboat passengers felt as they travelled the White River prior to its impoundment in 1912; see Bald Eagles, deer, Great Blue Herons and other wild life and birds up close and become a part of a kaleidoscope of beautiful constantly changing Ozark scenery that is so close one feels they can touch it and its uniqueness becomes apparent.
As Branson Tourism Center’s Wood pointed out earlier, Branson “has dozens of varied, wonderful and exciting attractions.” This list is just one man’s opinion of three of Branson’s attractions that he believes are truly unique. Click here for a link to many of Branson’s most popular attractions with scheduling, ticket, information, videos, pictures and other information. One thing is for sure, in terms of all that it has to offer, Branson is truly one of the most fun filled, exciting and “unique” travel destinations in the world.