Category Archives: Attractions

Seven amazing reasons why you and your family should plan to be in Branson for Labor Day Weekend

There's nothing quite like the thrill of a "Duck Splashdown."

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a “Duck Splashdown.”

“One of the great things about Branson is that there are so many amazing ways to be entertained and have fun,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The summer months, through Labor Day, provide the greatest access to all of Branson’s water-related activities, and they will all be in full splash mode over the Labor Day Weekend for families to enjoy,” she adds.

Wood points out that this list is focused on those activities that families might want to enjoy together, are best enjoyed in warmer weather, or close right after Labor Day:

1. A sightseeing Cruise on Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen: Relax with the family aboard an authentically replicated paddlewheel boat! While many destinations offer cruises, none offer the blend of boarding at a modern shopping attraction like Branson Landing, where you can witness a $7.5 million dollar spectacular water attraction! From bald eagles and other birds and wildlife abounding on Lake Taneycomo’s shoreline, to amazing natural bluffs formed over many centuries, to the spectacular majesty of Ozarks’ vistas, this 1.5 hour cruise is a unique experience not yet enjoyed by the vast majority of the millions of visitors who come to Branson each year. Produced primarily by Mother Nature, it’s one of Branson’s most extraordinary shows and will provide you and your family with memories to cherish forever. The Lake Queen offers a full set of modern amenities, is fully handicap-accessible, has full-sized modern restrooms, has a full bar and snack food service, and features a fully enclosed environmentally conditioned lower deck, as well as an open air upper deck. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this unique adventure! The final 2015 season cruises on the Lake Queen will be on September 7.

White Water's iconic 7-story multiple slide "Kalani Towers."

White Water’s iconic 7-story multiple slide “Kalani Towers.”

2. White Water: Branson’s “White Water” douses you with two million gallons of rides and attractions that range from the relaxing Aloha River, to the riveting Kapau Plummet, and the exciting Kalani Towers! Discover tons for the little ones to do, like Splashaway Cay and Coconut Cove, and attractions for the whole family, like the Surf’s Up Wave Pool. White Water’s last day of operation for the 2015 season is September 7.

3.The Track Family Fun Parks: Operating four unique parks and a large selection of go-kart tracks around Branson, the Track Family Fun Parks offer a wide variety of fun for every member of the family. You’ll find bumper boats/cars, batting cages, laser tag, mini-golf, arcades, and the incredible Skycoaster, a 100-foot-tall super swing that combines the elements of skydiving and hang-gliding. The Track Parks are also a go-kart lover’s paradise! In addition to the traditional go-kart tracks, you’ll find the steel and concrete, 1,200 foot, four-story-tall “Heavy Metal High Rise;” the four-story spiral climb of the “Wild Woody;” and the spirals and blind peak of the “Lumber Jack!”

4. Showboat Branson Belle: The Showboat Branson Belle is a full size replica of the old time river showboats; it combines a cruise on beautiful Table Rock Lake with a delightful meal and a show to create an unforgettable experience. While cruising, you’ll enjoy music, magic, dancing, comedy, a delicious meal, and a view of Ozark vistas and scenery that can only be seen and appreciated from this unique vantage point on the lake.

5. Silver Dollar City: When it comes to phenomenal, world-class theme parks, it doesn’t get any better than Branson’s biggest attraction, Silver Dollar City! Live music, thrilling rides, demonstrating craftsmen, food, shopping, amusements for all ages, seasonal and themed festivals and events, the all-new Fireman’s Landing, and even more awaits you and your family! Although, it remains open until Christmas, from a weather perspective, the Labor Day weekend will provide an excellent chance to enjoy its rides, especially its water-related rides. In addition to everything else the park offers, it will be celebrating “A Southern Gospel Picnic” over the Labor Day Weekend.

6. National Tiger Sanctuary: Branson’s “National Tiger Sanctuary” is an excellent educational and entertainment experience for young and old alike! You’ll be awed by the size, strength, and agility of many of the Sanctuary’s wild creatures. You’ll also be amused at their playful antics, and touched deeply by the stories of how many came to live in this magnificent haven in the Ozarks.

7. Ride the Ducks: This extremely popular attraction is a boatload of fun for the whole family aboard a WW II style amphibious DUKW, a.k.a. “The Duck.” During the 60 to 70 minute adventure, you will enjoy a tour narrated by a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain, who is every bit as good at entertaining as they are at being a driver and captain. You’ll especially enjoy the big Splashdown into either Table Rock Lake or Lake Taneycomo. After the Splashdown, there is an opportunity for the kids to drive the Duck in the water. The area covered by the tour and the lake of the Splashdown depends on whether you board Ride The Ducks at Branson Landing or their Highway 76 location. The final 2015 season Ride the Duck trips from Branson Landing  will be on September 7. The Highway 76 Ride The Ducks will remain in operation through November 29.

BTC’s Wood suggests that potential visitors to Branson over the Labor Day Weekend make advance show and lodging reservations to ensure the best choice of show seating and lodging accommodations. Just one phone call to 1-800-785-1550 takes care of it all, and will put you in touch with one of the Branson-based Travel Planning Specialists at Branson Tourism Center. They’ll be delighted to answer questions, explain how you can save money by “packaging” lodging and shows, take care of reservations and ticketing, or assist you in any way they can to help you plan a great Branson trip for you and your family.

 

Is the heat of summer the ideal time to plan your visit to see Ozark Mountain Christmas?

Silver Dollar City's acclaimed dazzling 5-story special effects Christmas Tree.

Silver Dollar City’s dazzling 5-story special effects Christmas Tree.

“Yes! Why do we recommend planning for Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas, an annual event that runs from November 1 through December 31, in the 90-degree-plus temperatures of summer?” asked Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. “The simple answer is that Ozark Mountain Christmas is easily the most colorful, exciting, inspirational, and busiest time of the year in Branson,” she added.

Wood points out that its overwhelming popularity creates a high demand, not only for the availability of the more popular shows and lodging establishments, but in getting the best choices in show seating and lodging accommodations. “For the best availability, and to save money on the ‘hottest’ deals, planning your trip to Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas in the heat of summer might just be the ‘cool’ thing to do,” Wood advises.

A major attraction of Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas for many is the fact that it’s a unique and special celebration of the traditional American Christmas not available in any other major tourist destination. From Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas to the large Adoration Scene on top of Mount Branson, Ozark Mountain Christmas in Branson is filled with Christmas lights, shows, shopping, and a Christmas spirit that puts a special glow in the hearts of those who want to celebrate and experience the true spirit of Christmas.

In addition to the spiritual glow, there is the actual glow of millions of Christmas lights glittering throughout the Branson area. In Silver Dollar City alone, there are over five million sparkling Christmas lights transforming the park into a virtual Christmas wonderland as part of its celebration of Old Time Christmas.

The Shepherd of the Hills’ Trail of Lights provides a spectacular drive through lighting display with millions of glowing Christmas lights and numerous displays. It’s one of the most unique.and beautiful drive-through displays anywhere and is set within the natural beauty of our Ozark Hills. And the glow of Christmas lights doesn’t stop there as Christmas decorations and lights adorn utility poles, Branson Landing, and many of Branson’s shops, attractions, and theatres.

The vast majority of Branson’s shows share the spirit of Christmas by devoting a portion of their show to the celebration of the traditional Christmas. In addition, there are a number of shows that are only available during Ozark Mountain Christmas, such as the Andy Williams Christmas Show starring the Osmond Brothers and Lennon Sisters, Christmas Wonderland, and the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show. Speaking of shows, you’ll want to allow plenty of time while at Silver Dollar City so you have enough time to see its two spectacular Christmas productions, “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” and “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

BTC’s Wood points out that Branson provides a great shopping experience year round, but there’s just something special about shopping in Branson during Ozark Mountain Christmas. Its large variety of unique boutiques, specialty shops, galleries, craft shops, Branson Landing, and outlet malls like Tanger Outlets and The Shoppes at Branson Meadows make Branson the ideal place to get the ideal Christmas gift for everyone.

Wood re-emphasizes the point that during Branson’s regular season there are periods when shows and lodging fill up, and during Ozark Mountain Christmas, particularly with the more popular shows and lodging establishments, the situation increases exponentially. She explains that not only do the chances of non-availability increase, but the chances of getting the best show seats, choice of accommodations, and the best prices decrease the longer one waits to make their Ozark Mountain Christmas travel plans.

For additional information on Ozark Mountain Christmas, tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or by visiting its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com .

Six great reasons why you should take your family on a one-of-a-kind Lake Taneycomo sightseeing cruise aboard the Lake Queen

Main Street Lake Cruises "Lake Queen" cruising Lake Taneycomo.

Main Street Lake Cruises “Lake Queen” cruising Lake Taneycomo.

“Our goal is to provide our passengers with a unique, exciting, and unforgettable experience that will become a special part of their favorite Branson memories,” said Steve Johnson, the General Manager of Main Street Lake Cruises. “A cruise aboard the 84 foot long riverboat replica Lake Queen is reminiscent of the boats and the White River that played such an important part in Branson’s early history; it’s truly a one of a kind adventure produced by Mother Nature,” he added.

Here are some things you should know about taking your family on an amazing sightseeing cruise aboard the Lake Queen:

1. It’s Safe: The safety of you and your family is foremost. The Lake Queen and its crew are licensed, and the boat is inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard on a regular basis.

2. Full Modern Amenities: The Lake Queen is fully handicap accessible and offers modern amenities including full-sized modern restrooms, a well-stocked bar, snack food service, a fully enclosed environmentally conditioned lower deck and an open-air upper deck.

3. Enjoy Sights Never Seen by the Vast Majority of Branson’s Millions of Visitors Each Year: These sights include a unique mid-lake view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountain, a spectacular synchronized fire, water, light, and music show; one of Missouri’s largest Blue Heron Rookeries; amazing bluffs carved naturally by Mother Nature over the centuries; spectacular Ozark vistas; and much more.

4. See Ozarks’ Birds and Other Wildlife: From your vantage point aboard the Lake Queen you’ll come upon the birds and other wildlife that abound on Lake Taneycomo and its shoreline. You could see deer, mink, river otters, the great blue heron, bald eagles, various species of ducks, Canada geese and other geese, as well as many other species.

5. Fully Narrated: Although there is plenty of time to relax and just enjoy the serenity of being on the lake, the Captain will provide a live, interesting narrative of what you’ll be seeing, both fixed and spontaneous sights … a bald eagle sitting in a tree, or a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or any number of things that just can’t be planned!

6. Relaxing: Whether you enjoy it inside the climate controlled lower deck, or in the fresh air of the open top deck, it’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than cruising on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen while enjoying the peace and serenity of the Ozarks.

For additional information or tickets for a cruise aboard the Lake Queen, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Five things kids will absolutely love doing in Branson

Silver Dollar City's new $8 million" Fireman's Landing" has ten rides and attractions for the younger kids to enjoy.

Silver Dollar City’s new $8 million” Fireman’s Landing” has ten rides and attractions for the younger kids to enjoy.

“Branson is packed with shows, attractions, shopping, and other activities for families to enjoy together,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. “That said, we thought it would be interesting to see which of those activities people thought would be of the most interest to children between 8 and 10 years of age,” she continued.

To get the answer, BTC turned to those participating in their social media channels, particularly BTC’s Facebook page, and asked the question, “If you were bringing an 8 to 10 year old child to ‎Branson, what is the #1 attraction, show, or activity you would want them to see?” Dozens of Branson shows, attractions, and activities were named. Here’s the list of the five most popular things people thought 8 to 10 year olds coming to Branson would like to see:

1. Silver Dollar City: The number one activity was Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, Silver Dollar City. It is constantly adding new reasons for families to come to the park and create special family memories that will last a lifetime. This year it added “Fireman’s Landing;” it contains 10 new rides and activities that families can share together; most of which are perfect for children between 8 and 10 years old.

2. Dixie Stampede: One of Branson’s most popular shows, Dixie Stampede offers families a wonderful feast, a great show featuring horses, pageantry, and action along with a friendly competition that appeals to all ages.

There's nothing quite like the thrill of a "Duck Splashdown." in

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a “Duck Splashdown.”

3. Ride The Ducks: This extremely popular attraction is a boatload of fun for the whole family aboard a WW II style amphibious DUKW, a.k.a. “The Duck.” During the 60 to 70 minute adventure, you will enjoy a tour narrated by a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain, who is every bit as good at entertaining as they are at being a driver and captain. You’ll especially enjoy the big Splashdown into either Table Rock Lake or Lake Taneycomo. After the Splashdown, there is an opportunity for the kids to drive the Duck in the water. The area covered by the tour and the lake of the Splashdown depends on whether you board Ride The Ducks at Branson Landing or their Highway 76 location.

4. White Water: With over 13-acres and 2 million gallons of water, White Water is a wet, tropically-themed, wonderland of fun and adventure for the whole family! Whether it’s Splashaway Cay and Coconut Grove for the smaller children and toddlers, the excitement of sliding down the seven story Kalani Towers, or the thrill of the drops and speed of rides such as KaPau Plummet, Pipeline Plunge, or the Raging River Rapids, there is an adventure for every member of the family at White Water.

5.  The Track Family Fun Parks: Go karts, water bumper boats, and miniature golf were mentioned quite a bit as a favorite activity for this age group. The Track Family Fun Parks offers each of those activities in a variety of forms. In go-karts alone, they offer rides all the way from Kiddie, Classic, and Rookie go-karts, to the four-story high steel and concrete Heavy Metal High Rise.

For additional information on these and other Branson attractions and shows, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

There’s definitely more to Branson Landing than shopping and eating

There's nothing quite like the thrill of a "Duck Splashdown." in

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a “Duck Splashdown.”

Branson Landing, the 95-acre, $435 million public/private multiuse project is not only the largest development in Branson’s history but, since its opening in 2006, it has become one of its most popular attractions. Located on the Lake Taneycomo shoreline adjacent to historic downtown Branson the Landing is primarily noted for three things.

First on the list would be its world-class shopping experience, anchored by Bass Pro Shops and Belk, along with dozens of other local and national retailers. Respectively, the second and third would be its selection of fine dining, casual eateries, and intimate cafes that provide a variety of dining choices unrivaled anywhere else in Branson, and its spectacular $7.5 million water fountain attraction featuring the first-ever merging of water, fire, light, and music. The Landing fountains feature a choreographed show with water shooting 120-foot geysers and fire cannons blasting fireballs into the air.

In addition, did you know that while you’re at Branson Landing you can:

Main Street Lake Cruises "Lake Queen" plying the waters of Lake Taneycomo.

Main Street Lake Cruises “Lake Queen” plying the waters of Lake Taneycomo.

Go on Sightseeing Cruises: Main Street Lake Cruises offers 1.5 hour Ozark sightseeing cruises aboard the Lake Queen with departures four times daily at 11:45AM, 1:45 PM, 3:45 PM, and 5:45 PM. The 140 passenger riverboat replica, while maintaining the nostalgia of that era, offers a full set of modern amenities, is fully handicap accessible, has full sized modern restrooms, and offers a full bar and snack food service with an option for a Bottomless Pizza Buffet on the 11:45 AM and 5:45 PM cruises. The Lake Queen will operate through September 7. Starting September 8, the cruises will be aboard the 100 foot luxury yacht Landing Princess, with one daily departure at 5:45 PM. It too offers a full bar and snack food service with an option for a Bottomless Pizza Buffet.

You will see birds and other wildlife that abound on Lake Taneycomo and its shoreline; these sightings may include deer, River Otters, the Great Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles, among others. Amazing natural bluffs dating back eons of time, and the spectacular majesty of Ozark vistas not seen by the vast majority of the millions of visitors who come to Branson each year, will also be seen, along with a view of Branson Landing and its water and fire fountain show that’s as unique as it is beautiful and inspiring.

Ride The Ducks: Ride The Ducks offers a boatload of fun for the whole family! During the 60 to 70 minute adventure, you will enjoy a tour through the scenic streets of historic downtown Branson, College of the Ozarks, a big Splashdown into Lake Taneycomo, and a 25 minute cruise that provides a unique lakeside view of Branson Landing and its spectacular fountains. Tours are narrated by U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captains who are every bit as good at entertaining as they are at being a driver and captain! After the Splashdown, there is an opportunity for kids to drive the Duck.

Zipline Across Lake Taneycomo: Parakeet Pete’s Zipline, next door to Famous Dave’s BBQ, provides a unique zipline experience that has you soaring high across Lake Taneycomo to the top of Mount Branson. The ride requires no harness or participation by the rider except getting strapped into the seat and enjoying the experience. Along the way you will get an amazing view of Lake Taneycomo and historic downtown Branson and experience the exciting thrill of the zip back across the lake to your starting point at the Landing. The zipline is open daily from March 1 through December 31 during regular Branson Landing hours and operates rain or shine, day or night.

Ride a Balloon High Above Branson Landing: Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk Balloon, located just east of Belk on the Branson Landing Promenade, floats from 1 to 12 riders over 180 feet above Branson Landing, providing an amazing 360 degree bird’s-eye view of beautiful Lake Taneycomo, the Ozark Mountains, and historic downtown Branson. The balloon ride is open daily from March 1 through December 31 during regular Branson Landing hours, and operates rain or shine, day or night.

Walk the Branson Landing Boardwalk: The 1.5 mile long paved, level, and ADA compliant boardwalk runs the entire length of Branson Landing along the shoreline of Lake Taneycomo. It provides a convenient, easy, and safe way to view some of the lake’s wildlife and birds and the natural beauty of its constantly changing shoreline. You’ll also see activity both on and immediately off the lake including a unique lakeside view of Branson Landing and its spectacular fountains, Main Street Lake Cruises’ boats the Lake Queen and Landing Princess, other boats of all shapes and sizes traveling up and down the lake, riders enjoying the zipline, and much more. It is truly an ideal place for families to just walk and relax together for a special moment away from the normal hustle and bustle, and enjoy an environment that simply can’t be duplicated!

If you have questions on any of these activities or anything about Branson, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550 or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Here’s the facts you need to know about what’s “Buzzin in Branson” for you enjoy during June 2015

World famous Harlem Globetrotters featured at Silver Dollar City's "Star Spangled Summer Festival"

World famous Harlem Globetrotters featured at Silver Dollar City’s “Star Spangled Summer Festival” *

Buzzin in Branson” is a concise and easy to read list of the major events and activities taking place in Branson, Missouri during the month being “Buzzed,” which is June of 2015 for this issue. Each issue contains the “Branson Buzz of the Month,” and a list of the major special events, shows and activities for the month.

Branson's newest show, the "Million Dollar Quartet," premiers on June 25.

Branson’s newest show, the “Million Dollar Quartet,” premiers on June 25.

Branson “Buzz of the Month for June 2015

The opening of Branson’s newest show, Million Dollar Quartet, limited engagement performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and the Harlem Globetrotters at Silver Dollar City’s “Star Spangled Summer Festival.”

The following list of major special events, shows and activities taking place in Branson during June is sorted by event date and contains pertinent and timely comments and contact information, through either a link or phone number, that can be used to obtain additional information where appropriate:

Jun 1 – 30: The Hits Starring Collin Raye
Jun 1 -30: Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Jun 5 – 26: Buckets N Boards
Jun 6 – Jul 19: Star Spangled Summer Festival at Silver Dollar City
Jun 6: White River Valley Trail Trek
Jun 6: IMAX Smokin’ Summer Kickoff Party (417-335-3533)
Jun 6: Smokin Summer Kickoff BBQ Cook-Off (417-335-3533)
Jun 6: Afternoon Tea at The Keeter Center (417-690-2120)
Jun 12: The Dan Benton Band- Branson Landing (417-239-3002)
Jun 18 – Jun 20: Ozark Mountain Thunder Motorcycle Rally 2015
Jun 12 – 14: U.S. Bow Fishing Fair and Tournament
Jun 13: Craig Wayne Boyd
Jun 20 – Jun 2: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Jun 20 – Jun 2:Titanic Museum Attraction Branson Father’s Day Boat Show
Jun 20: Etiquette Class at The Keeter Center (417-690-2120)
Jun 21: Father’s Day
Jun 21: Father’s Day Brunch & Car Show at Keeter Center
Jun 21: Father’s Day Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
Jun 21: Father’s Day Champagne Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
Jun 25: Opening Day of Branson’s newest show Million Dollar Quartet
Jun 27: 2015 Branson Dollhouse Miniature Show
Jun 28: Honor America Celebrate America 4th of July Celebration – College of the Ozarks

“Buzzin in Branson” is produced monthly by the Branson Tourism Center as a service to its customers and others interested in what’s going on in Branson to give them a “heads up” about what’s happening in Branson next month. If you have any further questions about these events or want information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

* Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

Six neat things about Branson tourism history you might not know

Jack, Mary and Peter Herschend  near the time Silver Dollar City opened. *

Jack, Mary and Peter Herschend near the time Silver Dollar City opened. *

The little town of Branson, Missouri, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, is an international tourist destination visited annually by millions. Branson visitors can experience almost 100 spectacular live shows offering a staggering variety of entertainment from Branson’s Clay Cooper’s Country Express to SIX; dozens of exciting attractions such as Ride the Ducks and Silver Dollar City, Branson’s award winning 1880’s styled theme park; world class shopping and so much more, but it wasn’t always so.

Let’s take a look at six things that happened to Branson Tourism along the way, starting in the beginning and coming forward:

1. Branson’s First Tourism Attraction – In 1884, when most people just saw a cave filled with bat dung when they looked at “Marble Cave,” William Lynch sensed tourism potential, bought the Cave, “sight unseen,” moved, along with his daughters Miriam and Genevieve, from Chicago to Branson and opened it up for tours. After his death and with a change in name to ‘Marvel Cave’ the daughters continued to operate the attraction until 1950, when Hugo and Mary Herschend leased the cave and the surrounding land from them, and along with their two teenage sons, Peter and Jack, took over the operation and management of the Cave. The Herschend family has been operating the Cave ever since and to this day, it is the oldest and longest continuous running attraction in Branson but that’s not all; it’s all of that, but to use the words of Zig Ziglar, “and then some.” (See Item #5 below.)

2. Harold Bell Wright’s novel “Shepherd of the Hills” – National attention was drawn to the area when Harold Bell Wright’s novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills,” about the love, life, adventures and folklore of the people living in the Ozarks was published in 1907. Thousands from all over the country came to see the area where the Shepherd walked and the “people” described in the story. The novel is credited with the start of Branson’s tourism industry. Ever since 1959 tit has been brought to life near the very spot where Harold Bell Wright wrote it as “more than 90 actors and actresses, and a cast of animals that includes, horses, donkeys, mules, and sheep present this epic tale in an amphitheater under nature’s roof of stars!” in the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama.

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The “Owen Theatre.”

3. Owen Theatre – The “Owen Theatre,” subsequently renamed the “Owen’s Theatre,” was built in 1936 by Jim Owen, a local float trip operator on the White River, to provide entertainment for the fishermen when they weren’t fishing. Originally called the “Hillbilly Theatre” and, although first a movie theatre, it is considered Branson’s first “theatre,” movie or otherwise and was a harbinger of things to come. Located in historic downtown it is still operating as a theatre and its distinctive architecture and beautiful interior stone walls make it one of the most unique buildings in Branson.

4. The Baldknobbers – In 1959 the Mabe family started performing the Baldknobbers Jamboree which is credited as being Branson’s first show, the “show that started it all.” Interestingly, they did not perform in Branson’s first theatre, the “Owen Theatre,” but in a small rented space in a civic building located right behind it however, it’s kind of neat how 30 plus years after Branson’s “first theater” was built that its “first show” started in its shadow.

5. Silver Dollar City – Opening in 1960, the 1880s styled Silver Dollar City is not only Branson’s biggest paid attraction, but its most popular however, it did not start out to be a stand-alone attraction. It came from an idea of having an area where people could be entertained while waiting to go through the “Marvel Cave.” (See Item #1 above.) The concept developed into an 1880s themed village that was built by Mary, Jack and Peter Herschend, named “Silver Dollar City,” after the Silver Dollars that were given as change to promote the attraction, and opened in 1960. The first year, when it drew four times more visitors than “Marvel Cave,” Peter Herschend said, “We discovered we were in the theme park business,” and the rest is history.

6. The Branson Strip – In 1967 the Presley family built a theatre immediately west of the Branson city limits on State Highway 76 where they began performing Presleys’ Country Jubilee and, with some of the original cast members still performing, have been continuously performing it ever since. Although hard to envision today, it was the first show on what is today, the famed “Branson Strip,” running from the intersection of Fall Creek Road and Highway 76 to the intersection of the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Highway 76. It is “home” to the bulk of Branson’s shows and attractions and is traversed annually by millions of Branson visitors.

*Photo courtesy of Silver Dollar City

 

Six facts you might not know about cruising Branson’s Lake Taneycomo on the Lake Queen

Main Street Lake Cruises "Lake Queen."

Main Street Lake Cruises “Lake Queen.”

“The Lake Queen will begin her 2015 schedule of Ozark Sightseeing Cruises on beautiful Lake Taneycomo in Branson on May 18,” said Steven Johnson, the General Manager of Main Street Lake Cruises. “What better way to view the scenic beauty of the Ozarks, its birds, wildlife and learn a bit about the history of, not only Lake Taneycomo, but Branson itself than by sharing a special experience with your family on this 1.5 hour narrated cruise,” he added.

Here’s some facts you might not know about the Lake Queen and what you will experience on her cruises:

This Bald Eagle is just one of the different types of birds and wildlife commonly seen on cruises.

This Bald Eagle is just one of the different types of birds and wildlife commonly seen on cruises.

1. It is a truly unique and exclusive experience – From Bald Eagles and the other birds and wildlife abounding on Lake Taneycomo’s shore line to the every changing plants, trees and foliage; amazing natural bluffs stretching back into the eons of time; and the spectacular majesty of Ozark vistas you will see a unique “show” produced primarily by Mother Nature and not seen by the vast majority of the millions of visitors who come to Branson each year. The view of Branson Landing, its $7.5 million fountains and spectacular synchronized fire, water, light and music show viewed from the cruise is as unique as it is beautiful and inspiring.

2. Safety – The 84 foot long 140 passenger “Lake Queen,” her Captain and crew are all U.S. Coast Guard certified and approved. They are dedicated to just two things, your safety and helping make your time aboard the boat one of the most memorable parts of a great Branson experience.

3. Two Decks Provide Indoor/Outdoor Experience – Her two decks provide passengers with the complete flexibility to enjoy their cruise either on her upper exposed deck or in the fully climate controlled glass enclosed lower deck. ull Amenities – She is tastefully appointed and, while maintaining the nostalgia of the steamboat era, offers a full set of modern amenities including full sized modern restrooms; a full bar and snack food service.

4. Convenient Scheduling – The 1.5 hour cruises are conveniently scheduled for 11:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m., and 5:45 p.m.

5. Bottomless Pizza Cruises – The 11:45 a.m., lunch, and 5:45 p.m., dinner, cruises offer a Bottomless Pizza Buffet complete with unlimited fountain drinks. As with all cruises there will also be a Cash Bar for the purchase of adult beverages, fountain drinks and snack food service.

For more information on enjoying a cruise aboard the Lake Queen, reservations or tickets please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Add some “Titanic” romance and elegance to make your special event absolutely amazing

The romance, elegance and mystique of  the Titanic provide a unique wedding venue.

The romance, elegance and mystique of the Titanic provide a unique wedding venue.

The way that the Titanic Museum Attraction (Titanic) and its crew members remember and tell the stories of those who were on the great ship, when she sank on her fateful maiden voyage over 100 years ago, gives their “passengers” a taste of the adventure, enthusiasm and excitement of that voyage. It is a unique and memorable entertainment experience that millions of Branson visitors have experienced since it opened over nine years ago.

Kristina Hagey, Senior Sales and Events Manager said that as people went through the attraction and experienced it there were requests to have weddings, vow renewals and other special events aboard the “ship,” a half scale replica of the original. She went on to point out that, as a result, the Titanic now offers a variety of options that permit people to incorporate the romance and elegance associated with the Titanic, in both legend and in movies, into their special moment or event and hosts hundreds of them each year.

These options include everything from birthday parties to elaborate corporate events and just about everything involved with weddings from the actual marriage proposal to the wedding and wedding vow renewals. Hagey said, “We have a number of Wedding Packages starting at $450.00 with pricing dependent on whether it is an indoor or outdoor package and the options chosen.” Whatever the case, whether the event is one of their packages or a custom designed wedding, Hagey assists in coordinating the event so the bride and groom and others associated with it can just concentrate on and enjoy their special moment.

Edward and Stacy Gilmore, on the Grand Staricase with 1st Officer Steve Patterson who "officiated", after renewing their vows in celebration of their 15th wedding anniversary.

Edward and Stacy Gilmore, on the Grand Staircase with 1st Officer Steve Patterson who “officiated” the ceremony, after renewing their vows in celebration of their 15th wedding anniversary.

On the morning of April 22, I got to see firsthand how that worked when Stacy and Edward Gilmore, from Canton, IL celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in a Vow Renewal Ceremony on the Grand Staircase of the Titanic Museum Attraction. The ten minute ceremony was presided over by the ships 1st Officer, Steve Patterson. The Gilmores said they are “Titaniacs” and decided to renew their vows while visiting the Titanic last summer with their family. Stacy said that all it took was one phone call to Hagey, all they had to do was show up and enjoy the moment and that they were just thrilled with the way it went.

Hagey said that many of the events held at the Titanic throughout the year are weddings, corporate and other events customized to meet the needs of the client. Prices depend on many factors including whether the event is held inside the Titanic or outside, the time of year, number of guests, amenities etc. These events could be as simple as a “dessert social” or a First Class “progressive” or sit down dinner. Click here to contact Hagey for information on customizing a wedding or other special event.

She pointed out that the Titanic’s Wedding, Vow Renewal and Proposal packages can also be obtained through the Branson Tourism Center. Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center said, “The Titanic Museum Attraction is one of Branson’s most popular attractions and a wonderful venue in which to have a wedding or other special moment. It would be our pleasure to help anyone, not only with celebrating their wedding or other special moment ‘aboard’ the Titanic, but to coordinate it with lodging, Branson shows, attractions and other activities into a complete, wonderful, personal and memorable Branson experience.” The Branson Tourism Center can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

30 amazing kid friendly activities that your kids will absolutely love doing while vacationing in Branson

Kids and adults alike will never forget their first "DUCK"   "splashdown!"

This is just the beginning; kids and adults alike will never forget their first big “DUCK Splashdown!”

There’s so much to see and do in Branson that it is sometimes hard to focus in on specific things that you might want to see and do. That’s true whether you’re an adult or child. The headline refers to “your kids,” and the following list is written for them, with “age appropriate” help from an adult where needed with younger children, to give them an overview of the exciting, fun and entertaining things they can enjoy while in Branson:

It is in a “check list” form so that items of interest can be checked off for further checking if they are of interest. The extensive linking will take you to additional information on the item such as scheduling, pricing and, in many cases, pictures and videos. The information is provided by the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services.

Whether a “kid,” or an adult planning a trip to Branson with kids, we hope this list will help you to plan to have a great Branson experience whether it’s on one of the 40 rides at Silver Dollar City; meeting “Polar, the Titanic Bear or “Madison,” the tiger; feeding the ducks; exploring a cave or, “well, you get the idea:”

  1. ___ Ride one of more of Silver Dollar City’s over 40 rides with rides for every member of the family.
  2. ___ Have an up close and personal meeting with the giant  dinosaur, “T Rex,” at the Branson Dinosaur Museum.”
  3. ___ See the horses in their stalls at Dixie Stampede.
  4. ___ Sit in a lifeboat at the Titanic Museum Attraction.
  5. ___ Feed the ducks at Scotty’s Trout Dock and Marina.
  6. ___ Experience the “big splashdown” while riding on “Ride The Ducks.”
  7. ___ Go deep into Marvel Cave and ride the “tram” a half a mile from the bottom of the cave to back to the top.
  8. ___ Enjoy kids just like you performing in Branson shows such as “Presleys’,” “Duttons,” “Clay Cooper,” “Hughes Brothers” and others.
  9. ___ Hear the “sounds of an orchestra” coming from just the voices of SIX
  10. ___ Meet a giant “Transformer” standing outside of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
  11. ___ Watch a dog peddle a bicycle and cats jump through hoops at Amazing Pets
  12. ___ Swim at Table Rock Lake’s “Moon Shine Beach.”
  13. ___ See the Acrobats of China perform amazing acrobatic feats.
  14. ___ Ride the free downtown Trolley
  15. ___ Get some “old time” candy at “Dick’s 5 & 10″
  16. ___ Take a train ride on the Branson Scenic Railway.
  17. ___ Meet “Madison” a white tiger, who is one of the many tigers and other “big cats” at the National Tiger Sanctuary.
  18. ___ Eat an Andy’s Custard.
  19. ___ Watch a “grist mill” grind grain at the College of the Ozarks’ “Edward’s Grist Mill.”
  20. ___ Enjoy seeing thousands of toys in the World’s Largest Toy Museum
  21. ___ Laugh with Herkimer, Cecil and Cecil Jr. at Presleys’ Country Music Jubilee.
  22. ___ Play mini golf on one of Branson’s many mini golf courses like Shoot For The Stars Mini Golf
  23. ___ See “Savanah,” a giant Loggerhead Sea Turtle at Branson’s Wild World who has trouble floating because she got hit by a boat.
  24. ___ Go ” nose to nose” with giant Rainbow and Brown Trout, at the aquarium in the “Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery.”
  25. ___ Talk with Titanic Museum Attraction “Polar, the Titanic Bear,” who is based on a toy bear owned by 1 of the 133 children that sailed on the Titanic.
  26. ___ Walk amid 1000s of live butterflies in the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure.
  27. ___ Ride on one of 4 world class coaster, like the iconic “Wildfire” at Silver Dollar City.
  28. ___ See a giant “fish” swim out over your head while watching Jonah.
  29. ___ Enjoy the fun and adventure of the new $7 million “Fireman’s Landing” at Silver Dollar City with its ten new rides and activities for the whole family.
  30. ___ Splash, play, slide and “plummet” in 2 million gallons of watery fun at White Water

In terms of all there is for kids to see and do in Branson this list is like the “tip of an iceberg”. For additional information on anything in this article or for information on “anything Branson,” please feel free to call 1-800-785-1550 for the help of one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners who will be delighted assist you in any way they can.