Category Archives: Attractions

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.

How Devil’s Den Became A Marble Marvel On Its Way To Becoming Branson’s Silver Dollar City

Looking back toward the top of the Marvel Cave.

Looking back toward the top of the Marvel Cave while descending into the cave.*

The tourist destination of Branson, Missouri has been evolving for over 115 years into the wonderful place that enables millions to be entertained, have fun and create special family memories that will last a lifetime. Today Branson visitors have a marvelous choice of attractions, live shows and activities, all surrounded by pristine lakes and the beauty of the Ozark Mountains, that is unrivaled anywhere. Yet, it wasn’t always that way and started its evolution from the place the Osage Indians called “Devil’s Den.”

Osage legend has it that the name came about when a young bear hunter and a bear fought on the edge of a great hole and fell into it one evening. When they came back the next day all they saw was blackness and a hole that seemed to have no bottom, hence legend says, the name “Devil’s Den.” Legend also speaks of early Spanish explorers exploring the cave, but the first recorded record of the caves exploration was in 1869 as the result of an expedition lead by Henry T. Blow, of St. Louis, who was involved with lead mining.

At that time, as it had been since the days of the Osage and before, the cave’s access was through a big sink hole through which those exploring the cave were lowered. Although they did not find lead, they thought they had seen “marble” in the ceiling of the cave and named it “Marble Cave.” A “bat guano” mining operation developed along with the very small town of “Marmaros” near the mouth of the cave, but the mining operation had ceased and the town had burned down when William Lynch, along with his two young daughters, Genevieve and Miriam, purchased it and began operating it as an Ozark tourist attraction in 1894.

Lynch, ran the cave with his daughters until his death in 1927. The name of the cave was changed to “Marvel Cave” shortly after his death and his two daughters operated the attraction until leasing it to the “Herschend family,” Hugo, Mary and their two teenage sons, Jack and Peter, in the mid 1950’s. The Herschend family has operated it continually since.

“After signing a 99 year lease, the Herschends made many improvements to the cave, but wanted something for people to do up on the surface while they were waiting to tour the cave. Hugo’s vision was to have Ozark craftsmen demonstrating their crafts. That vision, along with some insight about Marmaros were the seeds which were planted and nourished by the Herschend family and blossomed into an 1880s themed town named “Silver Dollar City,” located at the entrance to the cave, which opened May 1, 1960.” The rest is history.

Tours of Marvel Cave, a National Natural Landmark and Branson’s oldest continuously operated attraction, are still conducted daily and are actually included in the price of admission to Silver Dollar City. The 60 minute walking tours depart every half hour and are guided by trained cave guides who take visitors over 500 feet below the surface into the “wet limestone cave” via a combination of stairs, trail and ramps. Once at the bottom, cave visitors get a half mile ride back to the surface via a unique “cable train” installed in 1957.

For additional information on Silver Dollar City, Marvel Cave, or other Branson shows and attractions or Branson lodging please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

* Pictures courtesy of Silver Dollar City

Why Not Spend New Year’s Eve in Branson?

Chateau on the Lake Fireworks.

Chateau on the Lake Fireworks.

Branson’s Christmas Week, already filled with the adventure, fun, shopping and entertainment Branson has to offer, takes on added excitement and anticipation on New Year’s Eve, both during the day and into the evening and nighttime hours as the New Year approaches,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Whether it’s a family or a couple looking for an exciting and fun way to ‘ring out’ the old year and welcome in the New Year, Branson offers an amazing variety of ways to celebrate the New Year,” she added.

From hiking, fishing or playing golf at one of Branson’s championship golf courses, such as the Payne Stewart Golf Club to the unique and exciting Titanic Museum Attraction, decked out for its beautiful “Edwardian Christmas;” the vast majority of Branson’s attractions will be open on New Year’s Eve Day. Most of Branson’s dozens of attractions are not weather dependent and are open year round. From the thousands of white and Christmas colored butterflies in the unique White Flight exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, the lions and tigers at the National Tiger Sanctuary to the Track Family Fun Parks, Ripleys Believe It or Not Museum, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Promised Land Zoo and dozens of others, there will be a host of ways that families can have fun together on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Starting with the Amazing Pets at 10:00 AM on New Year’s Day and culminating with the New Year’s Eve celebrations to welcome in 2015, a number of Branson shows will be providing a variety of the live entertainment Branson is noted for. These include Acrobats of China, Grand Jubilee, Jonah, Legends in Concert, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, The Haygoods, Pierce Arrow, Comedy Jamboree, Dixie Stampede, Hamners Unbelievable Variety Show, Showboat Branson Belle, Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai, Christmas on the Trail Chuck Wagon Dinner Show, Comedy Hypnosis Dinner Show, Motown Downtown, The Revollusionists, Red, Hot & Blueand Swing Starring Kelli Grant. Click here for information on show times, scheduling and ticket information.

In addition, the following shows are having special New Year’s Eve parties. For specific information on a particular party please Click here and go to the bottom of the page:

Clay Cooper’s Country Express (See Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve)
Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Grand Jubilee
Legends in Concert
Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show
Pierce Arrow
The Haygoods (See Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve)
Hamners Unbelievable Variety

New Year’s Eve firework displays welcoming the New Year will light the skies at Big Cedar Lodge, Big Cedar’s Top of the Rock and the Chateau on the Lake. The most easily accessible and closest to Branson is the Chateau’s display with convenient viewing on their grounds or along authorized areas on Highways 265 and 165 near the Chateau.

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood stated that “packaging your lodging with shows and attractions can save you money. Here are some examples of a way to have a great New Year’s celebration in Branson and save money at the same time through some Branson Tourism Center packages, New Years Eve In Branson, Haygood’s & Clay Cooper New Year In Branson and Legend’s Rockin New Year In Branson. For information on customizing a package for your particular desires, the latest and most complete information on New Year’s events, scheduling, tickets and lodging please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services and sellers of Branson show and attraction tickets and lodging. BTC can be reached by calling 800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

“One thing is for sure,” said Wood,New Year’s in Branson is a special way to say goodbye to the old year and to start the New Year with a memory that might just last a lifetime.”

Did you know this about Christmas Week in Branson?

A small sample of the spectacular display of Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City's Old Time Christmas.

A small sample of the spectacular display of Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas.

Although many don’t know it, ‘Branson’s Christmas Week,’ the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, offers the same type of excitement, adventure, shopping and entertainment for which Branson is famous,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. She goes on to point out that because there is typically less people visiting Branson during that period everything seems to go at a more relaxed and leisurely pace with less lines and traffic.

Here a list of just some of the things you can expect to see and do during Branson’s Christmas Week:

1. Experience the Christmas lighting displays of Ozark Mountain Christmas – Although Christmas Day is past, all the major lighting displays including Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, the Branson Area Festival of Lights, Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights and the giant 30 foot nativity scene on top of Mount Branson overlooking Lake Taneycomo will continue to be displayed through Dec. 31.

2. Branson Shows – Although most of Branson’s shows are closed for the season, many of Branson’s most popular shows will be open during Branson’s Christmas Week presenting the live entertainment Branson is noted for. This includes The Acrobats of China, Amazing Pets, Billy Dean Live, Clay Cooper’s Country ExpressDixie Stampede, Grand Jubilee, Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety, The Haygoods,  Sight and Sounds spectacular Jonah, The Haygoods, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Paul Harris and the Cleverlys, Pierce Arrow and the Showboat Branson Belle along with many more.

3. Branson Attractions – The vast majority of Branson’s attractions will be open. This includes its oldest and most popular paid attraction, the international award winning Silver Dollar City presenting its “Old Time Christmas;” the Titanic Museum Attraction decked out for its beautiful “Edwardian Christmas;” the unique White Flight exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure; National Tiger Sanctuary; Promised Land Zoo and others.

4. Branson Shopping – Branson’s legendary shopping is “always” open and Branson’s Christmas Week is no exception. From the unique “Branson Landing,” with its 100 retail stores, to the shops of Historic Downtown Branson, featuring “Dicks 5 & 10;” outlet malls such as “Tanger Outlet” and “The Meadows” and specialty shops offering arts and crafts and one of a kind items, Branson’s Christmas week shopping should not only satisfy the most avid shopper, but just might have a few “after Christmas sales” to boot.

5. New Years Eve – In addition to other New Years Eve celebrations, the following shows will have special New Year’s Eve celebrations:

Clay Cooper’s Country Express (See Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve)
Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Grand Jubilee
The Haygoods (See Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve)
Legends in Concert
Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show
Pierce Arrow

BTC’s Wood points out that the off season scheduling of shows, limited seating and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed requires some advance planning. She suggests that an easy way to avoid problems, save time and, in many cases money, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center, toll free at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of their Branson based Travel Planners who will be delighted to answer any questions and assist in making any show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

 

Material Connection

“White Flight” ensures a Branson “White Christmas”

Live "angel" sharing butterfly with family during "White Flight."

Live “angel” sharing butterfly with family during “White Flight.”

“‘White Flight’ at Branson’s Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure adds new meaning to the term ‘White Christmas,'” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s another of those special Ozark Mountain Christmas activities that makes Christmas in Branson a special experience,” she added.

Brittney Smith, the General Manager of the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure said that “White Flight” is a unique exhibit consisting of thousands of white butterflies flying in a “rain forest” amid sparkling lights, colorful red and white poinsettias and living angel statutes to the sounds of beautiful Christmas music. She adds that this is the sixth Christmas season for this special limited engagement which runs through January 15,  2015.

The thousands of white butterflies, along with some surprise winged Christmas colored guests this year, are comprised of more than 30 different species of tropical butterflies with the most common being the “Paper Kite Butterfly,” also referred to as the “Rice Paper Butterfly.” The majority of the butterflies used in White Flight, as is the case with the majority of the exhibits at the Butterfly Palace, live out their average three week life span in a predator free environment, after they arrive, via air express, from tropical rain forests in their chrysalis (cocoon) stage, emerge, and are released into the exhibit, aviary.

In addition to the spectacular display of butterflies, “White Flight” also includes amazing and unique performances of the centuries old art form of “living statutes” in the form of “White Angels.” “The statutes slowly and subtly come to life as people walk through the exhibit and butterflies alight on and flutter around them. It might be just a change in the position of a head or the extension of a hand, but it’s fascinating to watch as the artists playing the angels interact with the guests.

“The aviary is decorated with a number of poinsettias and other flowers and highlighted by a large poinsettia Christmas tree that provides an excellent place for picture taking. The whole ‘White Flight’ experience, from the thousands of White Butterflies to the living angel statutes and beautiful music, is a unique experience for the whole family to enjoy.”

Smith points out that “White Flight” is in addition to all the other activities that the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure offers for the whole family to enjoy. These include “a Living Rainforest Science Center, the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, a Rainforest Theater, the “Banyan Tree Bungee Adventure” and more.

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood reminds Branson visitors that “White Flight” is just one of the many special events that are part of “Ozark Mountain Christmas.” For additional information or tickets for “White Flight” and the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, “Ozark Mountain Christmas” or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 800-785-1550.

Branson visitors can count on the “big three” regardless of the weather

30,000 pound ship "sails" the stage and breaks up during the storm.

“Jonah’s” 30,000 pound ship “sails” the stage and breaks up in a storm during this spectacular production.

“As autumn fades into winter and weather has more of an impact on our outdoor activities one of the great things about Branson is that, regardless of the weather, there is always plenty of exciting and entertaining things to do” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Even from an outdoor perspective, the weather in Branson is often mild enough that people are able to enjoy golfing, hiking and fishing and other outdoor activities on a near year round basis, but Branson’s “big three,” its shows, attractions and shopping, are not weather dependent,” she continued.

Here’s a list of the “big three” and why Branson visitors can count on enjoying them regardless of the weather:

1. Branson Shows – With the exception of the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play, whose last 2014 performance will be Oct. 25, Branson’s legendary live shows are held inside modern environmentally controlled theatres, with comfortable seating, the latest sound and lighting equipment and are performed by some of the best entertainers around. From shows such as Sight and Sounds spectacular production of Jonah, The Acrobats of China, Legends in Concert and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede to the comedy and country music of shows such as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Grand Jubilee, Billy Dean and Clay Cooper’s Country Express or the excitement of the Haygoods, Shoji Tabuchi, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies and Mickey Gilley, Branson’s major entertainment offering, its live shows, goes on regardless of the weather.

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

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

2. Attractions – Cold or snow, heat or rain, the vast majority of Branson’s attractions are not impacted by weather. Regardless of the weather Branson visitors can take an exciting and entertaining voyage aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction or one of Branson’s other attractions such as the “Hollywood Wax Museum,” “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” or the “Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure” to mention a few. There’s indoor miniature golf at Grand Country or Laser Tag, G-Force drag race simulator and arcades at the Track Family Fun Parks that have the added advantage, weather permitting, of some of the coolest go-cart tracks around.

3. Shopping – Branson is noted for the quality and variety of its shopping. From outlet malls like “The Shoppes at Branson Meadows” and “Tanger Outlets” to the over 100 retail stores, restaurants and attractions at “Branson Landing” and the specialty shops and galleries of the historic downtown Branson shopping district, Branson offers a variety of shopping that is unmatched by any travel destination anywhere near its size. Factor in unique stores such as the “Copper Coin” and the unique “Dick’s 5 & 10,” along with dozens of specialty and gift stores, crafters and studios such as “Crain Creations” and it becomes a shoppers dream regardless of the weather.

Obviously there will be a few days of the year when ice, snow or some other weather condition might impact the total Branson area, but on a day to day basis, three of the major things Branson is noted for, its shows, attractions and shopping, are available for the enjoyment, fun and entertainment of its visitors regardless of the weather.

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.