Category Archives: Attractions

What is the best winter thing to do in Branson?

Winter or summer, there's always lots of fun things to do in Branson.

Winter or summer, there’s always lots of fun things to do in Branson.

“Having lots of fun in Branson is neither seasonal nor weather dependent; spring, summer, fall, or winter; rain or shine; 17 degrees or 90 degrees, there’s always a wide choice of attractions, shopping, entertainment, and other things to do in Branson that provides visitors with an exciting, fun-filled experience,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The ‘best thing’ to do in Branson, winter or any other time of the year, is whatever gives you and your family the most enjoyment,” she continued.

Even though many of Branson’s shows, as well as Silver Dollar City, are closed for the season, there are always shows open. The vast majority of Branson’s shopping opportunities, attractions, and other activities are not weather-dependent; they remain open year round. On a day-to-day basis, the weather – even in January and February – is comparatively mild, permitting the enjoyment of an exciting range of outdoor activities that are typically weather-dependent, such as golf, hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Here’s a list of five very different and specific things, selected from among many other fun things, for you and your family to do in Branson during the winter months:

  1. Indoor Water Parks: Although many of Branson’s lodging facilities have indoor pools, if your family loves water activities, it’s hard to beat staying at a facility that has its own indoor water park. Branson has three to pick from: The Welk Resort with its fantastic 10,000 square foot Splash-A-Torium, featuring a 100 foot water slide, a kid’s splash-zone, and an indoor/outdoor pool, and hot tub; Grand Country Inn’s Splash Country, an elaborate water-soaked wonderland including a lazy river, toddler pool, a three-level tree house, and an indoor basketball play pool, the Eureka Mine waterslide, and the Froggie Bog jumping water play area; and Castle Rock Resort & Waterpark’s expansive water park that measures an impressive 40,000 square feet with numerous features, like large tipping buckets, kiddie pools, waterfalls, an indoor lap pool, and thrill slides.
  1. Titanic Museum Attraction: Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Titanic Museum Attraction is a Branson favorite; it’s so much more than simply a museum! It’s a fun-filled, exciting, and interactive attraction that honors and shares the stories of those who were onboard for its fateful, tragic, and famous maiden voyage that has fascinated the world for more than a century.
  1. See A Show at the Grand Country Music Hall: With shows such as Amazing Pets, Comedy Jamboree, and its signature Grand Jubilee, starring the award-winning New South Quartet and female vocalist of the year, the amazing Jackie Brown, the phenomenal comedy of Jamie Haage, aka Jim Dandy, and the sound of the Grand Band, this is a show with something for every member of the family!
  1. Dicks Oldtime 5 & 10 and Historic Downtown Branson: Historic Downtown Branson is an authentic downtown that’s a Branson attraction of the best kind, with fine art, flea markets, antiques, clothing and jewelry boutiques, cafes, music shows, and more. No visitor to Branson should miss downtown’s retail centerpiece, Dick’s Oldtime 5 & 10! You’ll be launched back to your childhood of visiting the local variety store, complete with green and white tiled floors, everyday household goods, and fun Branson souvenirs. Locals will tell you “if you don’t find it at Dick’s, it just can’t be found!”
  1. Butterflies, Lemurs, and Tigers: From the thousands of butterflies, mirror maze, and much more at the Butterfly Palace and Rain Forest Adventure, to the zebras, lemurs, and other cuddly and not so cuddly creatures of Branson’s Promised Land Zoo, and the lions and tigers of the National Tiger Sanctuary, Branson has a wonderful and exciting variety of animal experiences to delight every member of the family.

“And we haven’t even touched on shopping, indoor mini-golf, go-karts, arcades, and the dozens of other fun things there are to do in Branson,” Wood said. She suggests that, for additional information on these or any of the things there are to do in Branson, you contact BTC and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners. They’ll be delighted to assist you! BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website


Wouldn’t your sweetheart absolutely love an awesome Valentine’s Day in Branson?

The full scale replica of the Titanic's Grand Stair Case has been the site of many romantic moments.

The full scale replica of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase has been the site of many romantic moments.

Thomas Hood said, “Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine?” What better place than Branson to show that precious someone that they “Art every day my Valentine!”

With Valentine’s Day, February 14, falling on Sunday this year, it affords a special opportunity to share a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Weekend in Branson with your Valentine. Branson, with its shows, attractions, restaurants, shopping, wide choice of lodging, and other activities provides the perfect canvas upon which to create the perfect Valentine for your sweetheart.

For many, the celebration of Valentine’s Day involves a special meal. Whether it’s the romance and elegance of dinner at a table for two, overlooking Table Rock Lake in the Chateau Grille at the Chateau on the Lake Resort, an evening of fine dining and dancing with live music amid a rose petal and candlelight setting at the College of the Ozarks’ Keeter Center, the simple Ozark’s fare of McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, or any of the many other fine Branson restaurants, Branson is sure to have the perfect Valentine’s meal for you to share with your sweetheart.

Many of Branson’s Most Popular Shows will be open providing a wide variety of live entertainment to share with your special Valentine, including:

And that’s just a partial list of the shows that will be open Valentine’s Weekend. For a full list of open shows, please go to Branson Shows and select the date(s) that interest you.

Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction and the romance of Valentine’s Day are a perfect fit as the museum celebrates Sweetheart Month. The Titanic’s elegant, full-sized replica of the “Titanic’s Grand Staircase” is a unique and beautiful spot for a wedding or to renew Wedding Vows on Valentine’s Day or any other special day.

If shopping is in your Valentine’s plans, Branson is the perfect place to do it. With more than 250 different boutiques, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, famous-name outlet stores, and specialty shops all over Branson, the historic downtown Branson shopping district, the entertainment-style shopping at Branson Landing, and much more, Branson offers a unique world-class shopping experience for your Valentine.

“In addition to everything else Branson offers to make Valentine’s Day special, you can save money by combining your lodging, shows, and other activities together in one a package,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC). She points out that for Valentine’s Weekend, BTC is offering a number of packages, such as the Titanic Valentine’s Special and Cupid’s Romantic Getaway Package, that include lodging, show tickets, and more at considerable savings over purchasing them separately.

Why not give the gift of Branson to your special Valentine? Branson Tourism Center’s Wood suggests that for additional information on Branson, or help with planning the perfect Branson Valentine for your sweetheart, please contact BTC and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website


Bigfoot reaches iconic heights with its gigantic 200-foot adventure attraction

Artist's conception of Bigfoot, its iconic 200 foot tower, and its rides.

Artist’s conception of Bigfoot’s 200 foot tower.

The skyline of the famed Branson Strip will soon include “Bigfoot,” featuring what’s sure to become an iconic sight…a 200-foot high tower containing three electrifying high-flying rides, as part of the new Bigfoot Attraction. The attraction, approved by the Branson Board of Alderman at its January 12 meeting, will be located about .8 miles west of the Titanic Museum Attraction on Highway 76 on the site currently occupied by the $1 Shop, and diagonally across Highway 76 from Track Family Fun Parks #5 and its exciting, three-story LumberJack high-rise go-kart track.

Bigfoot’s centerpiece will be a multi-ride adventure tower, approximately 25 feet by 25 feet and rising about 200 feet above the Branson Strip. It will have three different action rides – two thrill rides, and a more sedate scenic ride – with all three having one thing in common; riders will have an exciting experience high above the Branson Strip! They’ll see the Strip and the beauty of the surrounding Ozark Mountains from a unique and constantly changing perspective.

Bigfoot’s three rides are:

Drop Ride: Passengers are strapped into seats outside the tower and travel up its side to the top; there they’ll have a breathtaking view of the Branson Strip and the surrounding scenic wonder of the Ozarks before being released for a thrilling “free fall” back down the side of the tower.

Saddle Sling Ride: Passengers are launched from the ground into the air, accelerating upward until they reach a max vertical height of about 150 feet; where they begin an exciting descent back to earth.

Aerial View Ride: Riders are seated in an enclosed gondola that gently rotates and rises to the top of the tower. At the top, it slowly rotates giving passengers that amazing view mentioned above, one that’s both unique and constantly changing, before being slowly lowered back to its starting point.

For the first time ever, outside of certain special-permitted events, Branson is permitting the operation of food trucks as part of Bigfoot’s Food Court which will have a variety of high quality food trucks near a covered patio area with tables. Diners can sit in comfort and enjoy their food while watching the Branson Strip and people enjoying the various rides of Bigfoot.

The building housing the $1 Shop will be remodeled and contain shops, a public restroom, and other facilities. A spokesperson for the project said that they are shooting for an opening in June, but that is dependent on weather and the manufacturing of the tower and its rides.

“Bigfoot is yet another thrilling and unique adventure that Branson visitors are able to choose from and, pun intended, it certainly is taking the attractions on the Branson Strip to ‘new heights,’” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center.



A Baker’s Dozen list of the top reasons people chose Branson for their vacations


The three top reasons people gave for visiting Branson.

“Branson, Missouri, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, has become a premier vacation destination because of its unique combination of live entertainment, attractions, pristine lakes, world class shopping, natural beauty, and other activities,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The2014 Branson Visitor Profile, compiled by the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB, based on a survey of 2014 Branson visitors, provides an interesting insight into which of those activities were the primary reasons they chose to visit Branson,” she added.

Here is a Baker’s Dozen list of the top activities sorted in the order of the highest percentages for each:

  1. Live Shows (Branson shows) 59.70%
  2. Silver Dollar City 20.60%
  3. Shopping 18.00%
  4. Excursions (Ride the Ducks, Branson Railways, Down Town Trolley, etc.)18.00%
  5. Go to Branson Landing 13.10%
  6. Downtown Branson/Main Street 11.90%
  7. Unique Local Restaurants 6.60%
  8. Museum attractions 6.50%
  9. Rural Sightseeing 4.30%
  10. Wine Tasting/Winery Tours 3.00%
  11. Outdoor activities 2.60%
  12. Fishing 2.60%
  13. Special Events/Festivals 2.30%

Let’s explore the top three in a little more detail. With the reputation for the number, breadth, and quality of Branson’s shows, it’s no surprise that it would be Number 1 on the list. When Branson’s lineup of its resident shows, that includes a variety such as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, SIX, The Million Dollar Quartet, Grand Jubilee, Shoji Tabuchi, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, The Haygoods, Legends in Concert, Dixie Stampede, Billy Dean in Concert with Jarrett, and dozens more, is combined with an outstanding lineup of national touring artists such as The Oak Ridge Boys, The Texas Tenors, The Osmond Brothers, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Stevens, Daniel O’Donnell, Jennifer Nettles, and dozens more, it’s hard to imagine a travel destination offering a more amazing array of live entertainment options.

Number 2 on the list is Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, the international award-winning, Silver Dollar City. This 1880’s style theme park is Branson’s oldest continually operated attraction, and easily its most popular. It features dozens of rides, including the record setting wood coaster, Outlaw Run, and the Wildfire coaster; practicing craftsmen; live shows; six world-class festivals that include An Old Time Christmas; and everything else one would expect from a popular, high quality theme park. And it’s just one from a long list of exciting and fun-filled Branson attractions that includes the Titanic Museum Attraction, celebrating its tenth anniversary in Branson during 2016, and many other exciting activities like go karts, ziplines, indoor and outdoor water parks, zoos, and so much more.

Shopping was the Number 3 reason on the list of why people chose to come to Branson, and for good reason. You’ll find more than 250 different boutiques, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, famous-name outlet stores, and specialty shops all over Branson, making it easy to find that long sought after item, unique gift, or big bargain! Whether you stroll along the streets of historic downtown Branson, cruise along the Strip, hop around to the craft malls, or seek entertainment-style shopping at Branson Landing; Branson offers a thrilling shopping experience unrivaled by any national travel destination anywhere near its size.

That’s just the first three items on the list! There are pristine lakes, the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains, and so much more that makes Branson the ideal place for a short getaway, a great family vacation, or a reunion of any kind. For additional information on all that Branson has to offer, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website

Shouldn’t your family be celebrating an absolutely wonderful New Year’s in Branson?

Just a sample of the Branson's New Years fun and excitement .

Just a sample of the Branson’s New Year’s fun and excitement.

“Branson is a perfect place for families to celebrate New Year’s,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center.” With all that Branson has to offer, there is a bewildering choice of entertaining and exciting ways to have fun and build memories as 2015 comes to a close, and makes way for 2016,” she added.

Branson’s New Year’s celebration, from the morning of December 31 through the weekend, is more than just a New Year’s Eve party. Oh it’s certainly a party, but it’s so much more! From zip lines, butterflies, and tigers, to museums, shopping, and an amazing choice of live shows and New Year’s Eve celebrations, there’s no town anywhere near its size that offers more entertaining and fun ways to bring in the New Year than Branson.

Here’s some information about the Branson shows, attractions, and New Year’s Eve celebrations that will help you, and those you love, have a safe, fun-filled, and exciting New Year’s in Branson:

1. Branson Attractions: From golf, beautiful butterflies and exotic lions, to the excitement of riding a zip line or a go-kart, or taking a “voyage” aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction, and many more, Branson’s attractions will be open New Year’s Eve day and throughout the weekend, offering Branson visitors a full range of fun and exciting things to do. The following list, sorted alphabetically, includes some of Branson’s most popular attractions, and a link to more information on each, including pictures, videos, schedules, and pricing:

Branson Dinosaur Museum
Branson Limousine Wine and Shine Tour
Branson’s Promised Land Zoo
Branson Hills Golf Club
Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure
Harold Bell Wright Museum
National Tiger Sanctuary
Shepherd Inspiration Tower
Thousand Hills Golf
Titanic Museum Attraction
The Track Family Fun Parks
Trail of Lights
Veterans Memorial Museum
Vigilante Extreme ZipRider
World’s Largest Toy Museum

2. Branson Shows: Branson’s famed live shows provide a breadth and quality of entertainment that is as surprising as it is spectacular. From a 10 AM show, like Amazing Pets, until the curtain falls on the last performance of 2015, Branson’s most popular shows offer a variety of exciting acts; it’s entertainment with something for everyone! The following is a list of shows, sorted alphabetically and by time, that will be open on December 31, with a link to more information on each, including pictures, videos, schedules, and pricing:

9:00 AM

IMAX Adventure Films

10:00 AM

Amazing Pets
The BIG Show
The Twice Adopted Gospel Show

3:00 PM

Acrobats of China
Comedy Jamboree
Dixie Stampede
Legends in Concert

4:00 PM

Showboat Branson Belle

4:15 PM

Christmas on the Trail Chuckwagon Dinner Show

5:30 PM

Dixie Stampede

7:00 PM

Comedy Hypnosis Dinner Show
Motown Downtown

8:00 PM

Acrobats of China

8:30 PM

Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Million Dollar Quartet

9:00 PM

Doug Gabriel #1 Hits Tribute
Grand Jubilee
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety
Hughes Brothers Christmas Show
Pierce Arrow

9:30 PM

Legends in Concert

3. New Year’s Eve Celebrations: In addition to New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dancing – Keeter Center, and other area celebrations welcoming in the New Year, the following shows will have special New Year’s Eve celebrations:

Big Cedar Resort’s New Years Eve Celebrations
Chateau on the Lake New Years Eve Celebration
Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show
Grand Jubilee
Hughes Brothers
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
Pierce Arrow
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety

From great shopping, golf, and fishing, to wonderful attractions, shows, and so much more, it’s hard to imagine a better place than Branson for families to celebrate New Year’s together,” said Branson Tourism Center’s Wood. She also points out that, particularly at this time of the year, schedules and activities could be impacted by weather. She offers the assistance of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning service, the Branson Tourism Center in answering any questions or assisting with tickets or lodging arrangements. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550, or through its web site


Epic fun is never “seasonal” in Branson

The Titanic Museum Attraction boards passengers for a unique "voyage" regardless of the weather.

The Titanic Museum Attraction, celebrating its 10th season in Branson during 2016,  boards passengers for a unique “voyage” regardless of the season.

The word ‘seasonal’ is commonly used as a term of limitation. Based on 29 years of living here, I would suggest that when used in connection with Branson, it might relate to locally produced fruits and vegetables, certain outdoor aquatic activities or attractions, weather, shows, or any one of a myriad of other things; but one thing that is never “seasonal” in Branson is epic fun!

Sure, by the end of Christmas Week, all of Branson’s great live shows will have held their last 2015 performance, and there will be a lull as they prepare for 2016. Most Branson visitors will not be swimming or boating on one of Branson’s pristine lakes – Table Rock, Taneycomo, or Bull Shoals – or enjoying weather-dependent attractions, such as Silver Dollar City, until they reopen in the spring. Does that mean the end of fun in Branson until the spring? Absolutely not!

The vast majority of Branson’s attractions, such as the Titanic Museum Attraction, The Track Family Fun Parks, and many others, remain open for the fun, excitement, and enjoyment of Branson visitors year round. Great Branson shows like Grand Jubilee, Amazing Pets, Comedy Jamboree, and others, start their 2016 performances as early as January 1, with other shows opening gradually throughout the spring season. Branson Tourism Center maintains two of the most up-to-date lists of Branson shows and attractions available anywhere. These lists are updated on a daily basis as more information becomes available.

Love the fun and adventure of outdoor activities? Branson’s relatively mild and fluctuating winter weather permits a variety of year round outdoor activities, like golf, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and more. Weather permitting, the majority of Branson’s golf courses, such as Branson Hills, Pointe Royale, and Thousand Hills, are open year round. World-class fishing for bass and trout continues throughout the year, and hiking and biking on Branson’s trails during the late fall and winter months is less crowded, permitting more accessible views of wildlife, birds, lakes, and other things not normally visible at other times of the year.

The world-class fun and excitement of the Branson shopping experience knows no season; it never stops! Branson Landing, anchored by Bass Pro Shops and Belk, features dozens upon dozens of local and national retailers and specialty shops; its selection of fine dining, casual eateries, intimate cafes, and its lake shore setting provides an unequaled shopping experience. Its spectacular $7.5 million water fountain attraction, featuring the first-ever merging of water, fire, light, and music, depending on the daily weather conditions, operates year round. Where else, regardless of the season, can you shop, dine, and experience a free choreographed show with water shooting 120-foot geysers, and fire cannons blasting fireballs into the air? Only at Branson Landing!

And that’s just one of many shopping districts in the area. The unique shops and galleries of historic downtown Branson, including “Dick’s 5 & 10;” the dozens of specialty shops offering arts and crafts and one-of-a-kind items; and the outlet centers such as Tanger Outlets and The Shoppes at Branson Meadows, which are open year round, are just a sampling of the shopping available in Branson.

Sure, it’s a different Branson during the winter months, but it’s a Branson that’s full of fun and exciting things to do, while offering it in a more relaxed atmosphere. Please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, at 1-800-785-1550, for additional information, show and attraction tickets, or for lodging arrangements.

How many of these amazing December 2015 Branson highlights would you like to see?


“The highlight of December in Branson is Christmas,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “From its fun, excitement, and entertainment to the celebration of the real reason for the season, Christmas in Branson is special and unique,” she added. Wood points out that many of Branson’s most popular shows, and the majority of its attractions, shopping, and other activities, are open throughout the Christmas season.

Here’s our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month, along with a list of the major events you can enjoy in Branson during December, 2015:

The Featured Show and Featured Limited Engagement of the month are the same – Sight & Sound’s biblical spectacular, Jonah. It’s one of the most phenomenal productions ever performed on a Branson stage, and will hold its last performance here on December 31. In a review of the show, I wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a show with a greater appeal and spectacle than Jonah as it brings to life, and illustrates, one of the greatest biblical stories of all time – the lesson one of God’s own prophets had to learn about His mercy and love for us, even as he tried to run from it. The magnificent and spectacular way the story comes to life is unlike anything that most people will ever see live on stage; a pure joy to experience, and something every member of the family will treasure and remember for a lifetime!” If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it!

The Event of the Month is Christmas Week in Branson, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. From Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas to Branson’s most talked about new show, the Million Dollar Quartet, and all the excitement, adventure, and shopping that Branson is noted for, topped off by a variety of New Year’s Eve celebrations, Christmas Week in Branson offers a unique experience unlike any other.

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Dec 1 – 3                           Yakov – Wake Up with Yakov
Dec 1 – 2                           Jerusalem performed by Dudu Fisher
Dec 3 – 6                           Limited Engagement – Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Dec 5                                 Moon River and Me
Dec 5                                 Craig Wayne Boyd

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Dec 1 -Dec 27             Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village
Dec 1 – Dec 30           An Old Time Christmas Festival at Silver Dollar City
Dec 1 – Dec 31            Christmas and Winter Celebration at Titanic Museum Attraction
Dec 1 – Dec 31            Branson Landing’s Winter Wonderlanding!
Dec 1 – Dec 31           7th Season of White Flight at The Butterfly Palace
Dec 1 – Dec 31            Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights
Dec 25                         Chateau on the Lake – Christmas Day Brunch
Dec 2 – Dec 3              Yuletide Feast – Keeter Center
Dec 6                           Carols on the Belle on the Showboat Branson Belle
Dec 6                           67th Annual Adoration Parade & Lighting Ceremony
Dec 13                         Tanger Club Ladies Night Out – Tanger Outlets
Dec 13                         Carols on the Belle on the Showboat Branson Belle
Dec 25 – Dec 31          Christmas Week in Branson
Dec 25                         Christmas Day Champagne Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
Dec 28 – Dec 31         Rock, Shop, and Recovery at Tanger Outlets
Dec 31                         New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dancing – Keeter Center
Dec 31                         New Years Eve Shows:

Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show
Grand Jubilee
Hughes Brothers
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
Pierce Arrow
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety

Due to the possibility of inclement weather, seasonal show schedules, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed, Branson Tourism Center’s Wood suggests that an easy way to avoid problems is to make sure you have the most current information; you’ll save time and, in many cases, money, by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center toll-free at 1-800-785-1550. A Branson-based vacation planning specialist will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

There’s a lot more than turkey on the menu in Branson for Thanksgiving!

Silver Dollar City's Main Street aglow in Christmas lights celebrating of its "Old Time Christmas."

Silver Dollar City’s town square aglow in Christmas lights celebrating of its “Old Time Christmas.”

“Branson’s Thanksgiving menu offers a lot more than turkey,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s filled with feasting, which may or may not include turkey, great live entertainment, excitement, Christmas lights, adventure, great shopping, and so much more,” she added.

“And speaking of feasting, visitors who spend Thanksgiving in Branson will have a cornucopia available of great places to eat,” Wood said. She points out that whether it’s non-traditional Thanksgiving fare, such as the Italian cuisine at Florentina’s Italian Ristorante; a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the Stage Door Restaurant, or a mouthwatering Thanksgiving buffet like that served at the Keeter Center, Branson diners will have a wonderful choice of Thanksgiving meals for every palette and budget.

Here’s a list of many of the Branson restaurants and buffets that will be open on Thanksgiving Day:

Chateau on the Lake Thanksgiving Day Brunch
Devil’s Pool Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet
Golden Corral Thanksgiving Day Buffet
Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks Thanksgiving Day Brunch
Plaza View Restaurant at the Grand Plaza
Osage Restaurant & Arnie’s Barn at Top of the Rock Thanksgiving Buffet
Shorty Smalls
Paradise Grill & Steakhouse
Wildwood Bistro at Radisson Hotel Branson Thanksgiving Brunch
Worman House

Stage Door Restaurant at Welk Resort

Baldknobbers Restaurant, 417-334-7202
Bob Evans, 417- 336-2023
Branson’s P’sghetti’s Restaurant & Attraction, 417-335-0690
Buckingham’s Restaurant, 417-337-7777
Cracker Barrel, 417-335-3003
Denny’s Restaurant, 417-339-3670
Fall Creek Steak House, 417-336-5060
Florentina’s Italian Ristorante, 417-337-9882
Grand Country Buffet, 417-335-2434
Great American Steak & Chicken House, 417-335-6699
I.H.O.P., 417-339-4467
Lonestar Steakhouse, 417- 336-5030
McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, 417-336-4680
Texas Land & Cattle, 417-337-8200
Shoney’s, 417-335-6855

How about some of that famous Branson live entertainment, either before or after a great Thanksgiving meal? Although some of Branson’s shows will not be performing on Thanksgiving Day, many of its most popular shows, including the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Million Dollar Quartet, Puttin’ on the Ritz, The Andy Williams Christmas Show and many more will be. Here’s a list of 17 of Branson’s Most Popular Shows that will be open Thanksgiving Day:

10:00 AM
Hughes Brothers Christmas Show
12:30 PM
Dixie Stampede
2:00 PM
Puttin’ on the Ritz
The Lettermen
3:00 PM
Acrobats of China
Amazing Pets
Legends in Concert
4:00 PM
Showboat Branson Belle
7:30 PM
Grand Jubilee
Shoji Tabuchi
The Haygoods
8:00 PM
Acrobats of China
Andy Williams Christmas Show
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
New Jersey Nights
Pierce Arrow

And that’s just some of the shows that will be open. (Click here for a more complete list.)

On Friday, November 27, those Branson shows closed on Thanksgiving Day will join those listed above as they resume their normal performance schedules for the remainder of the season. These include such popular shows as Billy Dean In Concert With Jarrett, Christmas Wonderland, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Grand Jubilee, Jonah, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, SIX, The Texas Tenors, and many more.

Great food and Branson’s famed live shows isn’t all Branson has to offer Thanksgiving visitors; from golf to Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, the Titanic Museum Attraction, Drive-thru Christmas Lighting displays, and more, most of Branson’s major attractions will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s a list of 15 Branson Attractions scheduled to be open on Thanksgiving Day, along with a link to additional information, schedules, and pricing:

Silver Dollar City
Titanic Museum Attraction
Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village
Trail of Lights
Branson Limousine Christmas Light Tour
The Track Family Fun Parks
Thousand Hills Golf
Branson Dinosaur Museum
Branson Limousine Wine and Shine Tour
Branson Hills Golf Club
Harold Bell Wright Museum
Shepherd Inspiration Tower
Veterans Memorial Museum
Vigilante Extreme ZipRider
World’s Largest Toy Museum

On Friday, November 27, those Branson Attractions not open on Thanksgiving Day will join those listed above and resume their normal operating schedules.

Chances are that Black Friday, and other shopping opportunities, will play a major part of Thanksgiving plans for many people throughout the entire Thanksgiving weekend. Branson’s major shopping areas, such as Branson Landing, historic downtown Branson, Grand Village Shops, Tanger Outlets, Branson Mill Craft Village, The Shoppes at Branson Meadows, and its more than 250 different boutiques, specialty shops, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, and famous-name outlet stores, will make it easy to find that long sought after item or unique gift. National chain stores in Branson will have the same Thanksgiving sale hours as elsewhere, and just about all Branson retailers and shops will be having Black Friday specials. Not surprisingly, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year in Branson.

For additional information on Thanksgiving in Branson, for information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.Branson Tourism


Blessing or luck, crew of the ‘Lucky Lady’ celebrates 70th Annual Reunion

Crew members of the U.S.S Sante Fe attending its 70th Annual Reunion, ictured from left to right, with ages in parens, are Richard Champagne, 91; Clifford Hamilton, 89, Ivan Cannon, 89, Robert Hazelwood, 92, Stephen Wong, 92; Charles Bright, 89; and Steve Downing Jr., 90.

Crew members of the U.S.S Santa Fe attending its 70th Annual Reunion, pictured from left to right, are Richard Champagne, 91; Clifford Hamilton, 89, Ivan Cannon, 89, Robert Hazelwood, 92, Stephen Wong, 92; Charles Bright, 89; and Steve Downing Jr., 90.

Recently, the crew of the “Lucky Lady,” more formally known as the U.S.S. Santa Fe (CL-60), a Cleveland class light cruiser, celebrated their 70th Annual Reunion in Branson, Missouri. Melissa McGowan, a Group Sales Manager for the Branson Tourism Center Groups Department, worked with the group in planning and conducting the reunion. She said, “It’s always an honor and privilege to work with our military groups, but this group was special.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be with them and to hear them talk about what they experienced aboard the Santa Fe during World War II. It changed me. Of the over 1300 plus crewmembers who sailed on the ‘Lucky Lady’ throughout the war, only seven were able to attend the reunion: Richard Champagne, Clifford Hamilton, Ivan Cannon, Robert Hazelwood, Stephen Wong, Charles Bright, and Steve Downing Jr. The oldest was 92 and the youngest was 89. Precious heroes; I love them!”

When the Santa Fe, named after the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was christened, the traditional bottle of champagne was not used. Instead, the bottle was filled with water taken from the Santa Fe River that had been blessed by Santa Fe’s archbishop. That, and the appropriateness of the ship’s nickname, “Lucky Lady,” came to mind many times as the crew and family members of crew members who have passed, shared some of their experiences. Remarkably, the Santa Fe and her crew fought their way through 224,999 miles of battles, air raids, kamikaze, and torpedo attacks in the Pacific Theatre during World War II without the death of a single crew member due to battle injuries!

How lucky or blessed were they? How about having a torpedo hit the bow of the ship near a gun turret, surrounded by ammunition, that failed to explode? The crew said that if it had exploded they would have lost the bow of the ship. Imagine a kamikaze torpedo plane coming at the ship and being blown out of the sky by the ship’s guns about two seconds before it would have crashed into the ship. It was so close that gas from the plane sprayed aboard, injuring crew-members and killing one non-crew member that the ship had previously rescued. They all agreed that if the plane had remained airborne for two more seconds, very few, if any of them, would have survived.

During one air attack, the aircraft carrier USS Franklin was bombed by a Japanese plane, was on fire, and was in danger of sinking as she listed horribly. The Santa Fe and her crew, in a daring move of extraordinary courage and seamanship, pulled alongside the badly damaged ship, and maintained its position for over three hours, amid fires and exploding ammunition, with the towering aircraft carrier listing over it, as they rescued more than 800 members of its crew.

For her action with the Franklin, the Santa Fe received a Navy Unit Citation. That was in addition to the 13 Battle Stars she received for service from the Aleutian Islands to Tarawa, Wake, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and just about every other major sea raid and battle conducted in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.

The U.S.S. Santa Fe 7 Reunion was held in the beautiful Grand Plaza Hotel in Branson from September 22 through 26; the hotel’s Montclair Room was made available for meetings, dinners, and fellowship. Their schedule allowed plenty of free time to shop, relax, and enjoy the comradery and fellowship of their shipmates, family, and friends. In addition, there were planned events and meals, along with the opportunity to ride the Branson Scenic Railway, experience the adventure of dinner and a show aboard the Showboat Branson Belle on Table Rock Lake, and to see the fabulous Legends in Concert show.

Branson Tourism Center’s McGowan said, “It was an honor to work with them and, although just for a while, get to know them. I hope they enjoyed their time in Branson as much as we enjoyed having them!”

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.