Category Archives: Attractions

You’ve probably been to Branson if…

 

Silver Dollar City is Branson's most popular paid attraction.

Silver Dollar City is Branson’s most popular paid attraction.

You’ve experienced one or more of the things mentioned below. When most of us tell someone we have been to a major tourist destination there are generally certain places or things that come up in the conversation. It’s hard to imagine mentioning that you have been to New York City, particularly to someone who has been there before, and not having one or more of the following com up as part of the conversation the “Statute of Liberty,” “Broadway,” the “Empire State Building,” the “911 site” or other key things New York City is noted for.

While certainly not on the same size scale as New York City, Branson has been named as one of the top 25 U.S. Travel Destinations and, like the mention of New York City or other major travel destinations, has certain places or things that come to mind when discussing a visit to Branson. Based on a history that started with visiting Branson in 1976 and living in Branson since 1986, it would be my opinion that most discussions about having visited Branson would include at least one or more of the following:

Branson’s Spirit: It would be hard for me to imagine that the same spirit of hospitality and values that drew me back to Branson year after year, until I finally moved here over 28 years ago, would not be a special memory of a Branson visit. In my opinion, Branson’s spirit and unabashed love of family, God, country and our military; coupled with a sincere desire and commitment to insure that every Branson visitor has a great Branson experience would be something that most people who visit Branson would feel, appreciate and associate with what makes Branson so special.

The Branson Strip: Located on Highway 76, called by some “Country Music Boulevard,” the “Branson Strip” is where most of Branson’s theatres and major attractions are located. It is said that Branson “has more seats than Broadway” and its signage, particularly at night, reminds one of Las Vegas, but its entertainment, personality, value and spirit is rooted in the history and tradition of the Ozarks and family.

Silver Dollar City: This award winning 1880′s styled theme park is Branson’s oldest continually operated attraction and is easily its most popular paid attraction. It features dozens of rides, including the record setting wooden coaster, “Outlaw Run” and its “Wildfire” coaster; practicing craftsmen; shows; six world class festivals including “An Old Time Christmas,” and everything else one would expect from a world class theme park.

Branson Landing: The 95-acre, $435 million public/private multiuse project spans 1.5 miles of waterfront on Lake Taneycomo and is conveniently located adjacent to historic Downtown Branson. It’s combination of luxury condos and over 120 retail stores, kiosks and restaurants including “eclectic shops, national retailers, fine dining, intimate cafes and nightspots,” Main Street Lake Cruises, a zip line, two “floating restaurants, lakefront boardwalk on Lake Taneycomo and the spectacular free $7.5 million Branson Landing Fountain synchronized fire, water, light and music show make it one of the most popular attractions in Branson.

Branson's Titanic Museum Attraction  towers above the famed "Branson Strip."

Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction towers above the famed “Branson Strip.”

Titanic Museum Attraction: The iconic, two story, ½ size, replica of the Titanic opened in 2006 and dominates the intersection of State Highway 165 and the Branson Strip. This permanent museum holds hundreds of Titanic artifacts in its many galleries and is an interactive adventure that makes the guests part of their own Titanic experience from beginning to end.

Inspiration Tower: Located in the historic Shepherd of the Hills Homestead, where Harold Bell Wright wrote his 1907 classic novel “The Shepherd of the Hills,” Inspiration Tower stands 230 feet above one of the highest points in southwest Missouri and on a clear day, provides a unique spectacular view of the Ozarks that extends over 90 miles into Arkansas.

Tanger Outlet Mall: It might seem strange to list an outlet mall as one of the things people who visit Branson are more than likely to talk about, but its central location in the middle of the Branson Strip, the fact that its Branson’s biggest outlet mall and one of the most popular shopping destinations in Branson combine to put it on the list.

Branson’s Live Shows: Although certainly not everyone who comes to Branson attends one of its live shows, the vast majority do and just about everyone who has visited Branson is aware of its shows. From the Acrobats of China and Jonah to Clay Coopers Country Express, Shoji Tabuchi, The Haygoods, Legends in Concert, SIX and dozens more, Branson has a variety, quantity and quality of shows that is unmatched by any travel destination anywhere near its size.

Presleys’ Theatre: Home of the Presleys’ Country Jubilee, the theatre was the first theatre on the Branson Strip in 1967. Two of its current cast members, Drummer, Steve Presley and comedian, “Herkimer,” Gary Presley have been performing continuously since that time.

Spectacular Beauty the Ozarks: Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Branson is surrounded by the constantly changing tapestry of the beauty of the Ozark Mountains and its two pristine lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo.

 

Those who have had a Branson family vacation share why they “Got It”

Silver Dollar City's record setting wooden coaster "Outlaw Run" is just one of the many exciting and fun things  awaiting Branson visitors.

Silver Dollar City’s record setting wooden coaster “Outlaw Run” is just one of the many exciting and fun things awaiting Branson visitors.

 “Over 12,000 people who have ‘Liked’ our Facebook page, have, at one timewhy they “Got It” or another, interacted with us to get or share information about our favorite town, Branson, Missouri,” said, Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing, Branson Tourism Center. “Earlier this week we asked the question, ‘Why should someone who has never been to Branson before pick it for their family vacation this year?’ We think that some of the responses, in the words of people that we believe have been to Branson, are insightful, particularly to those who have never shared a Branson vacation with their families before,” she added.

Here is a list of six of the reasons along with the supporting response from the post:

1. Family FriendlyStacy Smith-Frost: Because it is family friendly! I can bring my two girls to Branson and know the shows I watch are going to be clean and good for my girls!

2. Wide Variety of Fun Things to DoPatricia Eidschun: There is such a wide variety of fun things that can be done in Branson: great food, water fun for kids, beautiful music for the entire family, friendly atmosphere to name a few.

3. Kids Love ItAmy Sooter: Because my kids have been to Disney world and they say Branson is also the best place on Earth!! We love it.

4. GenuinenessTammy Mullins Witte: There’s just so much to do for all ages of the family! We usually need a vacation to rest after a week in Branson because we’re just going, going, going.  Another reason we love Branson is no matter where we go in town, we’re not treated like “just another tourist”. Everyone seems genuinely glad we’re there. Branson is our favorite vacation spot.

5. Create Precious Family MemoriesSusie Edge: Because you said “family” and Branson screams family! I have the most precious memories of several family vacations to Branson!!!!

6. RelaxationDiane Sartori Kelemen: For years there were people around me going to Branson and rave[ing] about it. I thought, what’s the big deal? Sounds like another tourist place. Well, we finally went, and now I get it. There is something about all the sights and sounds and things to do …like a mini Vegas with lights! It is crowded, but you don’t care, because it comes with a sense of relaxation. Everyone is friendly, and there is plenty to do. It takes repeated trips to do it all, so it can be a new adventure every time you visit.

The words, “For years there were people around me going to Branson and rave ing about it. I thought, what’s the big deal? Sounds like another tourist place. Well, we finally went, and now I get it,” in number 6 above, is a common reaction of first time Branson visitors. It sums up the feelings of those who have heard about Branson for years and once they came, for all of the reasons mentioned above and more, “Got It.”

Five unique Branson attractions you might not know about

Just a few of the things at Branson Attractions that you might not know about.

Just a few of the things at Branson Attractions that you might not know about.

“The quality and quantity of Branson’s live shows, its spectacular Ozarks beauty, pristine lakes and major attractions, such as the 1880s styled theme park, Silver Dollar City, the Branson Titanic Museum Attraction and major national attractions like the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” are well known,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It has dozens of other attractions, that while perhaps not as well known, add to the excitement, fun and adventure that is available for Branson visitors to enjoy on a daily basis,” she added.

Here’s a list of five of those attractions, most of which are unique to Branson, that you might not have heard about:

1.  Branson’s Wild World: Bull Sharks, crocodiles, alligators, wolves and snakes in the middle of the Branson Strip? Well the location of this incredible interactive animal attraction, unlike any most have ever seen, certainly is. Its “aquarium is filled with all sorts of exotic sea creatures; including eels, a full reef tank, and of course, Sharks. Branson’s Wild World is one of a very few places in the USA to display bull sharks” along with the only Sea Turtle in the Midwest that you can feed and that’s not mentioning the other animals, snakes, opportunities to interact with some of the animals and other activities the attraction offers. It’s worth noting that this attractions, as is the case with the majority of Branson attractions, is not weather dependent and is contained totally within its own environmentally controlled building.

2. Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure:

Another thing Branson visitors do not expect to find in Branson is a tropical experience such as the “Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure.” The unique Butterfly Aviary, located in its own palace overlooking Branson, features hundreds of living, flittering exotic butterflies carefully imported following strict USDA regulations, sharing their forest environment with a unique collection of birds and other botanical specimens. And that’s not all, “you’ll find a Living Rainforest Science Center, an Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, a Rainforest Theater, and the Banyan Tree Bungee Adventure. It’s a unique, beautiful, fun, educational, and challenging experience that the whole family will enjoy.

3. Lake Taneycomo Ozark Natural Beauty Sightseeing Cruise on the Lake Queen

Main Street Lake Cruises’ L”ake Queen” is a riverboat replica reminiscent of the boats and the White River that played such an important part in Branson’s early history. While many destinations offer cruises none offer the blend of boarding at a modern shopping attraction like Branson Landing and witnessing a $7.5 million dollar spectacular water attraction featuring the first-ever merging of water, fire, light and music with water fountains shooting 120-foot geysers into the air and “fire cannons,” all choreographed to lights and music as part of their itinerary. And that’s just the first 15 minutes! From Bald Eagles and the other birds and wildlife abounding on Lake Taneycomo’s shore line, amazing natural bluffs stretching back into the eons of time and the spectacular majesty of Ozark vistas this 1.5 hour cruise is a unique experience not seen by the vast majority of the millions of visitors who come to Branson each year. Produced primarily by Mother Nature it is one of Branson’s most extraordinary shows and will provide memories that will last a lifetime. The Lake Queen offers a full set of modern amenities, is fully handicap accessible, has full sized modern restrooms; a full bar, snack food service and a fully enclosed environmentally conditioned lower deck and open air upper deck.

4. The National Tiger Sanctuary: Most people coming to Branson don’t expect that there will be a chance to meet a lion or tiger up close and personal, but thanks to the National Tiger Sanctuary, a non-for-profit organization established in 2000 to create a safe and protected environment and a safe, stress free, forever home for the big cats such as lions and tigers, that too is a possibility. To limit the stress on the animals under their care, there is a limited number of guided tours conducted Wednesday through Sunday that provide a unique opportunity to meet these large cats and learn how they ended up at the sanctuary as part of this educational experience that is unlike any other. This attraction is weather sensitive.

5. The Track Family Fun Parks: Ok so go-karts and fun parks are not unique to Branson, but having four unique parks and the number of go-kart tracks Branson has creates a choice of go-kart opportunities that some have called a “go-kart paradise.” In addition to the traditional go-karting there’s the steel and concrete, 1,200 foot and four story tall “Heavy Metal High Rise,” the four-story spiral climb of the “Wild Woody” the spirals and “blind peak” of the “Lumber Jack!” And there’s more, everything from Bumper cars, batting cages, laser tag, mini-golf, arcades to the incredible “Skycoaster,” a 100-foot-tall super swing that combines the elements of skydiving and hang-gliding into its 70 mph swinging adventure. “The Track” also has plenty of kid-friendly rides and lots of fun for the little ones.

For information on the attractions in this article or any of Branson’s attractions, shows or lodging feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550.

Branson earns Traveler’s Choice for Top 25 U. S. Destinations

Main Street Cruise's Landing Princess and Lake Queen viewing Branson Landing's spectacular Water and Fire Show.

Main Street Cruise’s Landing Princess and Lake Queen viewing Branson Landing’s spectacular Water and Fire Show.

“Branson visitors are just amazing,” said Annette Wood, director of sales and marketing, for the Branson Tourism Center. “What a humbling experience that so many of them would take the time to comment on TripAdvisor® that Branson, a little town in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, would, for the first time, make the top 25 List of U.S. Destinations in ‘TripAdvisors® 6th Annual Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards’ along with cities such as New York, Orlando, and New Orleans,” she added. Joining Branson, who was number 19 on the list, as “newbies to the top 25 was San Diego (7), Austin (18), Atlanta (20), Phoenix (21), St. Louis (23) and Nashville (24).

In announcing the awards, Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor said, “If you’re looking for trip inspiration, look no further than the Travelers’ Choice Destinations.” The award is based on the “quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, attractions and restaurants in destinations” that are “gathered over a 12-month period.” The description accompanying the award listing highlighted the number and variety of Branson shows, the natural beauty of the Ozarks and the “great fishing, hiking, biking and water sports” available in Branson.

Larry Milton, owner of Main Street Lake Cruises whose two boats, the Lake Queen and the Landing Princess, are featured in the illustration of the description accompanying the award listing said, “How neat is that, Branson is featured in the top 25 of this award list because of the efforts that travelers to Branson have made based on their own great Branson experiences. What a testimony to the efforts of our entertainers, shows, attractions, lodging providers and everyone else in Branson’s tourism industry who help provide our guests with that great experience.”

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood invites everyone to visit Branson and experience firsthand why this special little town nestled in the Ozarks is listed as one of the top 25 destinations in the U.S. For information on Branson shows, attractions, lodging and everything else that Branson offers please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center toll free at 1-800-875-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

10 People Share Favorite Things to Do While in Branson

The Titanic Museum Attraction pictured amid the beauty of spring which can't come soon enough this year.

The Titanic Museum Attraction pictured amid the beauty of spring which can’t come soon enough this year.

“There is so much to see and do in Branson that it is often hard to decide what to do,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing, Branson Tourism Center. This week on the Branson Tourism Facebook page, in conjunction with announcing our first ever contest giving away a Branson Spring Break Family package, we asked people if they would comment on their “favorite thing to do or see in Branson.” From the many received, we picked ten in the hopes that the “favorite things to do” from people who have actually been to Branson” might be of benefit to those trying to decide what to see and do while in Branson.

The comments are listed in no particular order, and include the Facebook name of the commenter, the total comment and links to additional information:

 

Shoji Tabuchi and his daughter Christina.

Shoji Tabuchi and his daughter Christina.

Geneva Madding Vance: My favorite thing in Branson is the Christmas Lights and I love to watch the Branson Landing water fountain. I love to walk downtown and shop in the quaint stores. Really enjoy Six and Shoji.

Genevieve Rose: I have been to Branson four times…I could go every year if I could afford it. I love it, but the last time in 2013, at 63 yrs of age, I went Zip-lining…OHHHH…that was the most fun ever…I love the shows especially at the Sight and Sound Theatre…[Biblical spectacular Jonah premieres March 22.]

Natasha Morris: My favorite thing to do is ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! WHATS NOT TO LOVE? I FEEL PEACE WHEN I’M THERE…THE ATMOSPHERE IS JUST AMAZING!

Linda Hale: I love everything about Branson. We see the shows Presleys, SIX, Clay Cooper, Gilleys, Dixie Stampede. We also love The Sight & Sound Theatre, Ride The ducks, seeing the lake [Branson has two lakes the 22 mile long cold water Lake Taneycomo and the 43,000 surface acre warm water Table Rock Lake], shopping & all the good places to eat, but what we really like is how great the people are in Branson.

Alan Mears: Branson has so much going for it! Have vacationed there for the last 19 years & consider it like my second home. It has a Christian spirit, is family friendly & family oriented with a good, honest fun attitude-filled with museums, a variety of shows, theme parks, great dining, shopping, outdoor activities, delicious food & an amazing blend of old & new talent. It has an atmosphere of hospitality & patriotism, with many different things to do for all ages-can even be a romantic getaway since it is one of the most beautiful places in America with a wide array of things to see & do throughout all the seasons. The memories are awesome, especially bringing someone to Branson for the first time. My Favorite thing is- all the above & so much more!

Pam Hook: RELAX, golf, and shows!!!!

 

Innovations like its new world breaking "Outlaw Run" wooden coaster have helped Silver Dollar City "Create memories worth repeating" for over 50 years.

Innovations like its new world breaking “Outlaw Run” wooden coaster have helped Silver Dollar City “Create memories worth repeating” for over 50 years.

Ashley Fuller: There’s so much to choose from! It would be nice if we had more vacation time and hours in the day to do it all! I would have to say Silver Dollar City, Branson Landing Shopping, Dixie Stampede, Sight and Sound Theater, Titanic, mini golf, Segways and Grand Country.

Joyce Soule Stump: So many things to do. It is hard to pick one or two. Love the Baldknobbers, great restaurants, great motels [Lodging], Dick’s 5 & 10, Flea markets etc.

Dee-Dee Saluppo Baker: Titanic

Deborah Gander Smith: The shows, the lake and the new riverfront [Branson Landing].

We noticed too; most had a tough time picking just one favorite thing, but isn’t that a wonderful memory to have, a vacation with so many favorite things that you couldn’t pick just one.

What you need to know about the exciting 2014 changes at Main Street Lake Cruises

Welcome the New Year in celebrating aboard the 100 foot luxury yacht "Landing Princess."

The 100 foot luxury yacht “Landing Princess”

“There is more of everything this year, excitement, fun, romance and adventure, at Main Street Lake Cruises, downtown Branson’s one stop Lake Taneycomo activity destination,” said Steve Johnson the General Manager of Main Street Lake Cruises (MSLC). “Our goal has been to provide Branson visitors with a ‘one stop’ fun and activity destination from which they could enjoy Lake Taneycomo, the most historic and scenic of Branson’s waterways,” he added.

Whether sightseeing on the river boat replica Lake Queen or dining on the 100 foot luxury yacht Landing Princess, passengers will see a spectacular constantly changing show produced by “Mother Nature” herself. This includes the opportunity to see everything from the Bald Eagles and wildlife along Lake Taneycomo’s shore line, amazing natural bluffs stretching back into the 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. Each cruise provides a unique lakeside view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountains that is as unique as it is beautiful and inspiring.

For 2014, a lunch option has been added to the “lunch time” cruises aboard the Lake Queen including a delectable choice of entrees such as Blackened Chicken Salad with croissant, Turkey Croissant with choice of chips or garden salad, Ham Croissant with choice of chips or garden salad or Caesar Chicken Wrap with choice of chips or garden salad and unlimited fountain drinks. Always a wonderful experience, in 2014 the dinner cruise seating aboard the 100 foot luxury yacht Landing Princess becomes even more romantic and intimate with its new private “individual” table seating. To make the occasion even more special there is the option to customize the occasion by adding upgrades, including items such as a bottle of Canyon Road House Wine (red or white) with 2 MSLC Logo Flutes or a half dozen Roses.

The Wilderness Ride fishing kayak.

The Wilderness Ride fishing kayak.

Kayak rentals, including fishing, single and tandem kayaks, are a new addition to the MSLC activities offered for 2014. The fishing kayaks are 11.5 foot “Wilderness Systems Ride” models that are 33 inches wide with raised seating and a stability that enables an angler to stand up and fish from them. The single and tandem kayaks are the “Perception Tribes,” sit on top models that are 9.5 feet long and 31 ¼ inches wide and 13.5 feet long and 33.25 inches wide respectively. A unique feature is that the kayak rentals will all depart from the Main Street Lake Cruises’ Dock located right off the boardwalk at Branson Landing in Branson Landing and do not require any special transportation or pick up coordination. In addition, it is anticipated that there will be an option where the kayaks and passengers will be transported upstream from Main Street Lake Cruises for a release and downstream paddle that can be customized to the desires of the customer.

Also new for 2014 will be pontoon rentals and family or small group custom charters aboard a 27 foot Regal Deck Boat piloted by a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain. Add a lunch option from the Paddlewheel Restaurant to either and you are set for a special memorable day on the water.

For additional information or to make reservations for Main Street Lake Cruises’ sightseeing or dinner cruises, kayaks or deck boat charters please contact them by either calling 877-382-6287 or through their web site www. MainStreetLakeCruises.com

Soothe Winter Doldrums by Planning a Perfect Branson Summer Vacation

Silver Dollar City's record setting wooden coaster "Outlaw Run" is just one of the exciting experiences awaiting Branson visitors.

It might seem odd, in the depths of the harsh winter many of us are experiencing to suggest planning a summer vacation in Branson, but what better way to shake the winter doldrums? Naturally, being a resident of Branson for these past 28 years, and having vacationed in Branson for ten years prior to moving here, it is natural to understand why I might be partial to Branson, but the question is why you and your family should spend your summer vacation in Branson?

Simply put, because there is no other place on earth that offers the combination of fun things to do coupled with the spirit Branson offers. The combination of things to do and the hospitality of those providing them stems from an Ozarks heritage and culture that is at the heart of all Branson is. Whether simply relaxing; going through a full day of fun and excitement experiencing Branson’s live shows, attractions, dining and shopping or enjoying one of the many other exciting activities Branson offers, you and your family will be interacting with people dedicated to providing you with a Branson vacation you will never forget.

Of course, it is extremely helpful in that regard that, from its oldest and most popular attraction, the award winning world class 1880s styled Silver Dollar City theme park to its three pristine lakes, around 100 live music and entertainment shows, dozens of attractions and other activities, Branson has more entertainment, excitement and things to do “per block” than any other vacation destination anywhere near its size. As an example, where else could you conveniently start your morning at a world class attraction like the Titanic Museum Attraction; visit a state of the art trout hatchery on your way to basking on a sandy fresh water beach such as Table Rock Lake’s “Moonshine Beach;” enjoy a dinner sightseeing cruise on a 100 foot luxury yacht like Main Street Cruise Lines’ Landing Princess and still be able to take in an evening performance of a Branson Show such as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Acrobats of China, The Texas Tenors, Haygoods, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, it, The Duttons, SIX, Grand Jubilee or any one of dozens of other live shows.

Seems like a lot and it is, but the point is that everything is so close together and convenient in Branson that your day can be as active or, depending on what you want, as relaxing as you want. The real beauty of it all is that was just one daily itinerary out of hundreds that can be put together to make sure that you and your family have the best vacation ever filled with exactly the things that you want to do. Want to get a better taste of what Branson has to offer? Click here for instant on line access to Branson Tourism Center’s 2014 Branson Vacation Guide.

To make it fun and easy to plan the perfect vacation for your family, the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), who’s mantra is, “We don’t sell discount vacations we sell amazing vacations at a discount,” starts that amazing vacation off with a unique free personal concierge style Branson vacation planning service. One phone call to 800-785-1550 will put you in contact with one of their Branson based Vacation Planners who will show you what Ozark hospitality is as they help you plan a perfect Branson vacation, answer questions, make recommendations on what to see and do, save you time and, in most cases, money.

 

 

Material Connection

Cutting Edge Event Hard to Swallow at Branson Ripley’s Odditorium

 

World Sword Swallower's Day to be celebrated at Ripley's.

The 4000 year old art of sword swallowing will edge its way into the Branson Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium (Ripley’s) on February 22. There are only a few dozen full time professional sword swallowers left and 20 of them will be partnering with Ripley’s to celebrate the “7th Annual World Sword Swallower’s Day” which was started by the “Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI)” and co-sponsored by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” “We established ‘World Sword Swallower’s Day’ to honor this ancient art and recognize the few people in the world who can do this,” explains Dan Meyer, a sword swallower whose amazing feats have been chronicled by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Each of the “20 sword swallowers will risk their lives when they ‘drop swords’ at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums around the world on February 22. In all, more than 125 feet of solid steel will go down the hatch – hopefully without a scratch!” Professional sword swallower Sandra Kallich, known as “Bob Zilla,” will demonstrate her sword swallowing skills at a free performance at the Branson Ripley’s starting at 2:00 PM.

“Some people call Ripley’s Believe It or Not a ‘museum’ and some an ‘odditorium,’” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “One thing everyone seems to agree on however, is that from activities like ‘Sword Swallower’s Day’ to its distinctive look and the unique exotic exhibits it displays, Ripley’s provides Branson visitors with a unique, interesting and fun filled attraction in which they are “guaranteed” to experience the unusual,” she adds.

Ripley’s distinctive earthquake damaged design is one of the most photographed buildings in Branson. The oddity of the building’s design is just a hint of the excitement that awaits its guests. John Dixon General Manager of Ripley’s said, “Our slogan for this year says it all, ‘Odd is in, trust us we are the experts.’ We have over 400 exhibits that are a collection of the odd and interesting things that Robert Ripley collected throughout his life and a lot of other cool fun filled stuff such as the slanted room, vortex, optical illusions, unique collections and interactive activities.” Dixon said that two of his personal favorites are the shrunken head because it’s “odd, creepy, cool and there’s not a lot of them around” and, just recently added, a giant 14 foot “Incredible Hulk” made out of car parts.

Ripley’s truly does have something for everyone, takes about an hour and a half to go through, and is open 365 days a year. For additional information on “Sword Swallowers Day,” the Branson Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium or for information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

What you should know about what’s new in Branson for 2014

Sight and Sounds "Jonah" is a spectacular biblical production for the whole family.

Having lived in and written about the Branson area for the past 28 years, this is the time of year that is the most exciting for me. It’s not only the anticipation of spring and the opening of the new Branson season, but the metamorphosis of all the effort that Branson puts into presenting their visitors with something that is constantly fresh, new and exciting becoming a reality each year. It may be a new $1.7 M water ride, a complete renovation of a theatre’s auditorium, opening of new shows or attractions or a myriad of other things that keeps Branson on the cutting edge of the fun, entertainment and adventure that makes it the outstanding relevant travel and vacation destination it is.

One of the major highlights of 2014 is the opening of Jonah which will be presented as only Sight and Sound can do it with their 2000 seat theatre, a 300 foot stage that wraps around three sides of the audience virtually engulfing them in the action, elaborate sets that are up to 40 feet high and an assortment of live animals that brings the bible to life in a spectacular way. “Experience all the up’s and downs of the Bible’s most misdirected prophet, ‘Jonah,’ whose story is filled with humor, soul-stirring music, incredible special effects and the amazing ‘underwater’ scene.” It is “an exhilarating fun-filled journey that carries you over land and sea, across deserts, into royal palaces – and deep within the belly of a big fish” and is a production that the whole family will enjoy.

“And that’s just the beginning,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “From the unique Elvis Lives, kicking the season off with a limited engagement just in time for Valentine’s Day, to Osmond’s American Jukebox and new magic, music, limited engagement and animal shows, Branson’s live entertainment scene for 2014 is bursting at the seams with excitement and variety,” she added. New 2014 Branson shows include, among others, Billy Dean Live!, Chris Perondis Stunt Dog Experience, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies, Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety, Illusionist Rick Thomas, Magnificent Seven, Sha-na-na Rockin Christmas Show, The Lettermen and more.

The annual “Branson Shuffle” has resulted in many shows having a new home for 2014. Some of the major changes include one of Branson’s hottest shows, The Haygoods moving into the Clay Cooper Theatre along with and Joseph Hall’s Elvis Rock N Remember Tribute  and  another of Branson’s hottest shows, the Clay Cooper’s Country Express; Buck Trent to the Baldknobbers Theatre; 70′s Music Celebration Starring Barry Williams to the Hughes Brothers Celebrity Theatre;and the Rankin Brothers moving to the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre to perform 8 PM shows.

The Titanic Museum Attraction pictured amid the beauty of spring which can't come soon enough this year.

From a Branson Attractions perspective White Water’s new $1.7 M 240 foot “Kapu Plummet” water ride starting with a drop-floor drop through a 70 degree plunge into a spiraling loop ride and is promised to be the biggest thrill in “White Water history.” Construction of the new “Branson Auto and Farm Museum,” after its demolition as a result of the 2013 Tornado, is about complete and will result in a bigger and better facility than what was there before. Although no formal completion date has been announced, construction on the new “Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline” is proceeding. When completed it will provide a unique ride departing from Branson Landing and traveling across Lake Taneycomo to an observation platform high on the side of Mount Branson. From there riders will have a unique and inspiring view of historic downtown Branson, Branson Landing, Main Street Lake Cruises and Lake Taneycomo. When they leave the observation platform they will zip back across the Lake to the original starting point on Branson Landing.

The Branson Titanic Museum Attraction, is always offering something new and fresh for its “passengers” to experience. This year they are featuring a new gallery honoring the eight musicians on the Titanic. As the great ship sank and the final “sadness and sorrow of that dark night” approached these heroic musicians played on. It has been said that “When the music stopped the legend began.” This gallery tells their individual stories and commemorates their courage and gallantry.

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood points out that the Branson entertainment scene is painted day by day on a constantly evolving canvas. She advises that the Branson based Vacation Planning Specialists of the Branson Tourism Center will be delighted to answer any questions anyone may have about the current status of the Branson entertainment scene.

How to give the one you love the perfect Branson Valentine

Branson is a special Valentine.

To those of us who live and work in Branson and to many of the millions who visit each year, Branson is a special place full of excitement and entertainment with a spirit that seems to make special occasions just a little more special. Valentine’s Day, is a special day that those in love show their Valentine just how special they are and what better place to do that than in Branson, Missouri. From great live shows and attractions to romantic dining, shopping and much more, Branson has an outstanding variety of choices to give the one you love the perfect Valentine experience.

 

Grand Country's Comedy Jamboree is just one of the shows to share with your Valentine.

A number of Branson shows will be open for Valentine’s Day Weekend. Clay and Tina Cooper will be opening their 2014 show in their newly remodeled auditorium on Valentine’s Day followed by the Haygoods, who will be appearing in the Clay Cooper Theatre starting this year, the very next night.. The shows that will be open for Valentine’s Day Weekend include:

Absolutely Patsy

Acrobats of China

Amazing Pets

Branson Country USA

Baldknobbers Jamboree Show

Branson Country USA

Clay Cooper’s Music Express

Comedy Jamboree

Dancing Queen ABBA’s Greatest Hits

Elvis Lives

Grand Jubilee

The Haygoods

For many, if not most, Valentine’s Day includes a special meal with their Valentine. Branson offers a variety of choices that meets just about every budget and need. From the simple down home cooking of “Clocker’s Café” in historic downtown Branson to the “Keeter Center,” “Level 2 Steak House,” “The Chateau on the Lake” and many others including a romantic champagne cruise and dinner aboard Main Street Lake Cruises 100 foot luxury yacht the Landing Princess; Branson has the special dining experience that will help make Valentine’s Day Special.

 

The "Grand Stair Case " of the Titanic Museum Attraction.

Although it’s always a great time to visit the Branson Titanic Museum Attraction, Valentine’s Day seems like an especially appropriate time to visit. The museum’s elegant full sized replica of the “Titanic’s Grand Staircase” is a romantic icon that is a popular place for weddings and for couples to renew their wedding vows. Its brand new exhibit honoring the musicians aboard the Titanic coupled with the romance of its band master, Wallace Hartley and his engagement to Maria Robinson is, to me, a special Valentine in itself.

The Branson Tourism Center is offering a variety of “Valentine’s” packages combining shows, lodging, attractions a “Romance Basket” and more. These packages not only provide a way to save money, but a special romantic way to show your Valentine just how special they are.

Why not give your Valentine a special Valentine and plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Branson? Need help deciding what to do in Branson or adding that little extra something that will make Valentine’s Day special for your Valentine? Call the Branson Tourism Center, Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning service, by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 and talk with one of their Branson based Travel Planners who will be happy to assist in planning the perfect Branson Valentine experience for your special Valentine.