Category Archives: Branson Attractions

Best Branson Insider Highlights for May 2017

The Million Dollar Quartet; dresses worn by “Rose”, Kate Winslet,  in the movie “Titanic;” and White Water’s KaPau Plummet.

“May is the month when all of Branson’s shows and attractions are fully open and running for the 2017 season,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “From our lakes to our great live shows, there’s fresh excitement, adventure, and entertainment for everyone to enjoy in Branson during 2017,” she added.

Along with our highlight list, containing some of the best of what’s going on in Branson during May, here’s our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month:

Featured Show of the Month: The Million Dollar Quartet has quickly become one of Branson’s most popular do not miss shows. Live on the Branson stage, the musical that the hit CMT TV drama “Sun Records” is based on. It’s a show about one of the greatest jam sessions in rock n’ roll history. A once in a lifetime impromptu gathering of four young recording legends-to-be, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, that took place on December 4, 1956, in the Memphis storefront recording studio of Sun Records. It would have been a forgotten page of history, but for the resurfacing of an unknown recording of it decades later. It became the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet that shares the music, spontaneity, and drama of what happened that day, as these four legends performed together for their first and last time.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: The last 42 days to see the Titanic Museum Attraction’s display of actual costumes worn in the “Titanic.” 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the premier of the blockbuster hit movie. It went on to win eleven Academy Awards including “Best Picture” and “Best Costume Design.” Now, for the first time, and only through June 11, 2017, visitors to the Museum can view a collection of the actual costumes worn in the movie.

The costumes are displayed throughout the museum. Each is in an appropriate setting that enhances the viewing experience. During a recent tour of the exhibit with First Class Maid Jamie, she said, “Everyone comes to the Museum and asks, ‘Where’s Jack?’ Well we don’t have ‘Jack,’ but what we do have is one of the costumes that Leonardo DiCaprio’s, ‘Jack,’ wore in the movie.” They will be on display in Branson through June 11, after which they will moved to the Pigeon Forge Titanic Museum Attraction, where they will be displayed from June 17 through Labor Day.

Featured Event of the Month: White Water, Southwest Missouri’s largest water park, opens with two million gallons of cool wet fun ensconced in a 13 acre Polynesian themed “island” in the middle of the Ozarks. Its $1.7 million thrill ride, KaPau Plummet, launches riders from a drop-floor, four stories in the air, into a 70-degree plunge into a thrilling 240-foot spiraling loop slide to the bottom. And that’s just one ride! When you add in the iconic seven story multiple slide Kalani Towers; Aloha River at Hula Bay, with “over 800 feet of unexpected twists and turns, fountains, misters, bubblers, geysers, a 30-foot tall tiki water tower; and so much more, it’s easy to understand why White Water is sometimes referred to as “Mid-America’s Nearby Island Adventure.”

Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date.)

May 1: Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown
May 2: Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune
May 3: Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson
May 4: Larry’s Country Diner-Mo and Holly Pitney
May 5: Larry’s Country Diner-Mark Wills
May 14: Vicki Lawrence and Mama
May 18-21: Menopause The Musical
May 31: The Bellamy Brothers

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

May 1-31: Ozark Mountain Shindig Festival
May 1-31: Trail of Art
May 4-29: Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival at Silver Dollar City
May 5: Cinco de Mayo
May 5-6: Scott’s Challenge Firefighter Combat in Branson!
May 6: MDA Muscle Walk
May 12: Wanda Durant to Speak
May 14: Mother’s Day Cruise on Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
May 14: Happy Mother’s Day
May 14: Keeter Center Mother’s Day Brunch
May 14: Mother’s Day Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
May14: Level 2 Steakhouse Mother’s Day Brunch
May 14: Big Cedar & Top of the Rock Mother’s Day Brunches
May 14: Branson Center Stage Mother’s Day Brunch
May 18: Shindig Festival – Jammin’ at Area 57
May 20: Armed Forces Day
May 20: Kayak Branson’s Biggest Flotilla Adventure on Lake Taneycomo
May 20: Reeds Spring Cajun Days
May 20: Annual Casino Night, BBQ, and Silent Auction – VVA Chapter 913
May 20-21: Summer Splash In-Water Boat Show
May 22: Annual Veterans Benefit Show
May 26-27: Treasure Lake RV Resort Wood Carvers Club Show and Sale
May 26-29: Memorial Day Weekend Sidewalk Sale at Tanger Outlets
May 27: Shindig Festival – The Shindig Shuffle
May 27-Jun 2: Ballparks of America – Memorial Day Classic (10U-13U)
May 28: Celebrate Memorial Day with Chateau of the Lake
May 29: Memorial Day
May 29: Memorial Day Service
May 29-30: Branson Landing’s Annual School Shoes For Kids

For additional information on these events, Branson’s shows and attractions, or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with a Branson-based vacation planning specialist. They will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations and there’s absolutely no charge for this service.

 

Personal answers to the question, “What do you like most about Branson’s Silver Dollar City?”

Silver Dollar City’s world class wood coaster, “Outlaw Run.”

Silver Dollar City features dozens of practicing crafters and artisans displaying their skills; over 40 exciting rides for all ages; shows; six annual world-class festivals, and much more. The 1890’s styled theme park has been “Creating memories worth repeating” for generations and is Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction.

We thought it would be interesting see what it was about Silver Dollar City that keeps bringing people back again and again. We asked those participating in our Facebook and Twitter social media channels, the question, “What’s your favorite thing to do at Silver Dollar City?

The following responses represent the things mentioned the most often and offer a personal perspective on what people enjoy most at Silver Dollar City. Joe Cannon’s comment, “Just going inside the gate and shutting out the real world for a while!” sums up the essence of what Silver Dollar City means.

The names of the “commenter” precedes their comment. Click here to read all the comments. In some cases, we have added our remarks. They follow the comment in [brackets]:

Gina Wagner: Just walking around, taking it all in. The music, the quaint little shops, the food, the rides. It’s all lovely. My favorite ride is the swings. During the Christmas festival [Old Time Christmas], my favorite thing to do is ride the train. It gets me emotional (in a good way) every time. [There is just something about Silver Dollar City and what it represents. It reminds people of a bygone era And brings them back again and again. It’s a wonderful thing!]

Jill Hoppe Allen: Our first visit to Silver Dollar City was in 1968. We had been married for 6 months. Now we’re coming up on 50. I’ve always felt like I was home when I walked through the gates. Now living in Florida and truly miss our annual trips to Branson and Silver Dollar City.

Barb Eaton: Sometimes we like to ride rides, some days it’s the shows, other days just walking and visiting the shops. We like to do it all at some point. [That’s one of the neat things about Silver Dollar City; there’s so much to do that you can tailor it to what you want to do when you want to do it.]

Matt and Julie Pierce: The demonstrations, Fire in the Hole and Grandfather’s Mansion. [“Fire in the Hole” is one of the oldest and most popular rides at Silver Dollar City. There’s nothing like it anywhere! It was the very first ride I rode on my first visit to Silver Dollar City in 1976 at the age of 35.]

“Marvel Cave” is another of Silver Dollar City’s unique experiences.

Maggie Jean McCurdy: THE TRAIN, my little ones love-love-love-it! Ride it every single time! The “ball room” [inside the Firehouse Play Place] at “Fireman’s Landing.” The rides, the food, and of course the shops! We’re season pass holders but, we’ve yet to see a show or the cave. Gives us something to look forward to on our next visits. [Marvel Cave is something you really should see. Hope you will find this article interesting: “How Devil’s Den Became A Marble Marvel On Its Way To Becoming Branson’s Silver Dollar City” https://goo.gl/qLDGhx]

Joyce Meinhardt: Classes at the Culinary school. My husband & I both love to attend for the recipes, samples and to chat with Debbie Dance Uhrig. [Another of the great unique activities Silver Dollar City offers its guests.]

Patricia Key-Bartee: Try all the foods, sit and enjoy the atmosphere, listen to the music, the sounds of the train, watch my family just having fun, enjoy the festivals, and make lots of amazing memories!!! SDC is one of our favorite places to visit each year. [“Making memories worth repeating” is what Silver Dollar City is all about!]

Tammy Lasley Stephens: Watching my family’s reactions to all it has to offer! Great memories! [That’s the real magic of Silver Dollar City.]

Michelle Gandy: Watching all the different people reacting to the sights and smells. For us, it’s always glass blowers, bread, and shows first. Then the rides as we pass them and go round again. It’s been 30+ years of fun! [It’s amazing the way people are continually drawn beck to Silver Dollar City and the fun filled memories it has created.]

Kyle Murphy: Every time we go, we have to do these 3 things: get a skillet meal, listen to the “Homestead Pickers,” and get an apple turnover with apple butter at the apple place.

Bob Kirkley: Listen to the “[Homestead] Pickers!” I first visited SDC in 1961 or 2. There was only the “hotel, general store, a stage coach ride, and, of course, “Marvel Cave!” [Bob: Here’s a link an article we wrote on Marvel Cave that we hope you will enjoy: “How Devil’s Den Became A Marble Marvel On Its Way To Becoming Branson’s Silver Dollar City” https://goo.gl/qLDGhx]

Shaina Jones: We love all the rollercoasters, shops and food!! The cave under silver dollar city is awesome. I love going at Christmas time to have cider, see the parade, shops and millions of lights, and the big 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree with over 350,000 colorful LED lights! [Here an article on two of SDC’s coasters that we hope you will find interesting: “Will Silver Dollar City’s iconic ‘Wildfire’ be eclipsed by ‘Outlaw Run?’” https://goo.gl/z4e4wn]

Tandi Frazier Jackson EVERYTHING!!!

“Silver Dollar City is a unique one of a kind theme park unlike any other,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, sellers of over five million Branson show and attractions tickets. “It’s filled with a special spirit and all the fun, excitement, and adventure anyone could ever want. Our customers just love it,” he added.

For more information or tickets for Silver Dollar City, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. One of its Branson based Vacation Specialists will answer your questions and help with reservations and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

Time running out to see original Titanic movie costumes in Branson

Two of the dresses and coat actually worn by “Rose”, Kate Winslett, in the 1997 Academy Award winning movie,”Titanic.”

“On a day to day basis, Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction is a wonderful interactive experience for the whole family to enjoy together. It has hundreds of artifacts from the ill-fated ‘unsinkable’ ship, self-guided tours for adults and children, interactive exhibits, and much more,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Even with all that, it’s just amazing the way it keeps adding something fresh, unique, and new for its guests to experience every year,” she added.

2017 is the 20th anniversary of the premier blockbuster hit movie “Titanic.” It went on to win eleven Academy Awards including “Best Picture” and “Best Costume Design.” Now, for the first time, and only through June 11, 2017, visitors to the Museum can view a collection of the actual costumes worn in the movie.

The costumes are displayed throughout the museum. Each is in an appropriate setting that enhances the viewing experience. During a recent tour of the exhibit with First Class Maid Jamie, she said, “Everyone comes to the Museum and asks, ‘Where’s Jack?’. Well we don’t have ‘Jack,’ but what we do have is one of the costumes that Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘Jack,’ wore in the movie. And that’s just one of many!”

Jamie explained the effort involved in putting the exhibit together. “It took the Museum about two years to get all of the contracts signed,” she said. She points out that because of cost overruns on the production of the film, two studios were involved in producing the film, “20th Century Fox” and “Paramount Pictures.” Contracts had to be negotiated with each of them as well as individual collectors who own some of the costumes.

One of the costumes worn by “Jack,” Leonardo DiCaprio.

When asked what her favorite costume was she said it’s the white “boarding dress” worn by “Rose,” played by Kate Winslet, as she was boarding the “Titanic”. Another favorite is the scarlet “jump dress” she wore when she was going to jump off the ship, and Jack talked her out of it. Those two dresses are in a dazzling exhibit with the pink “sinking coat” Rose wore as the ship was sinking after hitting the iceberg. My favorite costume was the “Engineers Overalls” and the engine room environment created for their display.

It’s the total experience, uniqueness and the beautiful way each is displayed. It’s an historical collection of movie artifacts that may never been seen together again. First Class Maid Jamie said, “These costumes are not going on a big tour of the United States. They will be on display in Branson through June 11. The only other place they will be displayed will be in the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge from June 17 through Labor Day.

The 155-carat sapphire “Heart of the Ocean” necklace.

“The Heart of the Ocean (also known as Le Cœur de la Mer), was a fictional blue diamond and sapphire necklace that played a very prominent part in the movie “Titanic.” The owners of the Titanic Museum Attraction commissioned their own “Heart of the Ocean” necklace, and it’s real! Valued at $250,000, it has a 155-carat sapphire surrounded by 16 carets of diamonds. It is normally displayed at the Pigeon Forge Titanic Museum Attraction, but is on display in Branson through June 11.

Another costume on display is that of the Titanic’s Captain Smith, played by Bernard Hill in the movie. Jamie points out another interesting aside involving the movie. The Museum’s audio tours, for both adults and children, are narrated by Bernard Hill.

For more information on Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction or other attractions, shows or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center and talk with one of their Branson based Travel Planning Specialists by calling 1-800-785-1550. BTC’s one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services and has sold over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets.

 

Peace and scenic beauty abound on Lake Taneycomo Main Street Lake Cruises

Main Street Lakes Cruises Lake Queen and Landing Princess

“Whether you take a sightseeing cruise on the river boat replica, Lake Queen or the 100 foot luxury yacht, Landing Princess, it is a spectacular unique adventure,” says Mellisa McGowen, Marketing Manager and Groups Sales Coordinator for Main Street Lakes Cruises.  “It offers amazing panoramas, sights, and a closeness with the beauty, nature and history of the Ozarks that few of the millions of annual visitors to Branson will ever experience,” she added

When asked, “What can passengers expect to see,” she answered, “That depends. Each cruise is different. You can’t plan for a Bald Eagle to soar overhead or be sitting in a tree, a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or many of the unique things that happen daily. They either happen or they don’t, but when they do you couldn’t have a better seat to see the show!”

Passengers get a unique mid-lake view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountain. Its spectacular synchronized fire, water, light, and music show is a popular feature of every cruise. Another passenger favorite is a closeup view of one of Missouri’s largest Blue Heron Rookeries. All this while cruising by amazing bluffs carved by Mother Nature over the centuries surrounded by spectacular Ozark vistas that change with the season.

Throughout the cruise, the Captain points out sights of interest and provides an entertaining and informative account about each.  Did you know that Lake Taneycomo is one of the finest places to fish for Rainbow and Brown Trout in the United States? Where and when did the term “Hacker” originate? How did Lake Taneycomo get its name. The timing of the comments allows plenty of time to relax and enjoy the peaceful beauty of the Ozarks.

On every cruise children and others can go up to the “wheelhouse” and meet the Captain. If the weather and currents allow, under the watchful eye of the Captain, they can take the wheel and “drive” the boat.

The 90-foot long paddlewheel river boat replica Lake Queen has full sized rest rooms and two decks. The lower deck is climate controlled while the top deck is open. She cruises twice a day, 11:45 AM and 4:45 PM with boarding available 30 minutes prior to departure. Both cruises offer the option of a light meal. It consists of a Jumbo Ham or Turkey Croissant, homemade chips, a sugar cookie and unlimited tea, coffee, or water. Meals must be ordered prior to boarding. The Lake Queen has a full cash bar offering alcoholic drinks and soft drinks.

The 100-foot luxury yacht Landing Princess is luxuriously appointed, has full sized rest rooms and two fully enclosed climate controlled decks. She offers the same scenic cruises as her sister boat, with the addition of a delicious dinner. Except for an Easter Sunday Cruise on April 16 at 11:45 AM with boarding at 11:15 AM, her regular season of dinner cruises starts on May 5. Boarding starts at 6:15 PM with the cruise departing at 6:45 PM. Once underway, passengers will enjoy a delicious dinner consisting of Wedge Salad, Pan Seared Chicken Breast w/ Marsala, Pork Tenderloin w/ Tomato Béchamel, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Bread Service, Triple Chocolate Cake, Tea, Coffee or Water. Cash bar available for soft drinks (soda) or alcoholic beverages as well.

McGowen said that safety is the number one concern and that both of Main Street Lake Cruises boats and their crews are fully inspected, certified, and licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. “Our number one objective is to give our passengers an experience that they will not forget and will become a wonderful part of their Branson memories.

For more information about a cruisesaboard the Lake Queen or the Landing Princess please feel to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Best Branson Insider Highlights for April 2017

There just something special about Spring in the Ozarks!

April is the month where our Ozark Hills bloom into the full freshness and beauty of spring,” said, Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “April is also when Branson’s shows and attractions ‘burst into the bloom’ of their 2017 seasons,” she added.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, with a list of the highlights of special events you can enjoy in Branson during the month of April:

Featured Show of the Month: The Haygoods are celebrating their 25th year of entertaining Branson Audiences in 2017. Starting as youngsters at Silver Dollar City, these incredible artists have developed a unique iconic style of quality high energy entertainment. They are constantly re-energizing and changing their performances throughout the year to meet the expectations of their anticipated audience. How good is this show? When I saw it, I wrote, “Based on over 30 years of seeing Branson shows, I can testify to the fact that it’s, “Really terrific!” A WOW, WOW, and WOW, on a Three WOW Scale with three WOWs being as high as you can get! From the “Get go,” its two hours of the most unique, innovative, talented, energetic, personable, and exciting entertainment you will ever experience on a Branson stage.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Kris Kristofferson for one night only! Heralded as an artist’s artist, the three-time GRAMMY winner wrote and recorded the hit songs Me and Bobby McGee, For the Good Times, Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down and Help Me Make It Through the Night. In addition to many other awards, Kristofferson is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, winner of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter Hall of Fame, and was honored with the American Veteran’s Association’s “Veteran of the Year Award” in 2002.

Featured Event of the Month: Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Recipients, Thursday, April 20 through Saturday, April 22. It’s a unique event remembering, honoring, serving, and entertaining those receiving the ‘Purple Heart’ as the result of combat wounds suffered while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s designed to allow time for the attendees to spend time with one another, experience Branson, and participate in events that honor, entertain and support them. All the activities are free to Purple Heart Recipients. For additional information or to Register, please call 1-800-268-4014 or go to the Branson.Com Honors Purple Heart Recipients website.

Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date.)

Apr 7: Kris Kristofferson
Apr 7: The Dean Z Show
Apr 8: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest
Apr 12: Ricky Nelson Remembered
Apr 19-20: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Apr 21-22: Oak Ridge Boys
Apr 21-22: Branson Music Fest

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Apr 1-2: Big Bass Tour Table Rock Tournament
Apr 1-May 31: Ozark Mountain Shindig Festival
Apr 6-8: 2017 Kenneth Copeland Branson Victory Campaign
Apr 6-30: Silver Dollar City Presents a Festival of Wonder
Apr 8: FLW Ozark Division Bass Fishing Tournament
Apr 8: C.A.M. Benefit Trout Tournament
Apr 8: Easter Bunny Festival
Apr 15: MCDA Cheer and Dance Championships
Apr 15: Hollister Easter Egg Hunt
Apr 15: Branson RecPlex Easter Egg Hunt
Apr 15: Easter Egg Hunt – Rockaway Beach
Apr 16: Easter Cruise on Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Apr 16: Easter Shopping at Tanger Outlets
Apr 16: Easter Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
Apr 16: Easter Weekend in Branson
Apr 16: Keeter Center Easter Brunch
Apr 17-Apr 23: Legends of Golf Presented by Bass Pro Shops
Apr 19: College of the Ozarks to dedicate The Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial
Apr 20: Hootenanny in the Park
Apr 20-22: Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Recipients Weekend
Apr 21-22: Branson Music Fest
Apr 21-22: The Branson Collector Car Auction
Apr 21-23: Taneycomo Throwdown
Apr 27-28: JMH Righteous Revolution Rally
Apr 29: Kayak Branson’s Biggest Flotilla Adventure on Lake Taneycomo

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with a Branson-based vacation planning specialist. They will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations and there’s absolutely no charge for this service

How many of these free Branson experiences would your family enjoy?

The free downtown trolley is a great way to get an overview of Historic downtown Branson, Branson Landing, and Lake Taneycomo.

“With its great shows, attractions, and so much more  there’s always something fresh and exciting to do in Branson,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Although many have admission charges there’s so much  for families to do that doesn’t cost anything,” he added.

Recently we asked the following question on our Facebook page, “What’s your favorite ‘free’ thing to do in Branson?” How many of these unique experiences would your family enjoy doing?

Historic Downtown Branson’s “Free Trolley:” The Free Trolley is a great way to get a survey of the Historic Downtown District, the Branson Convention Center, Branson Landing and the Lake Taneycomo shoreline. It runs on a constant loop passing several Branson landmarks. You will see the grave site of Ruben S. Branson, Branson’s first theater, the Branson Convention Center, Branson Landing, and the spot where the “Baldknobbers” performed Branson’s first live music show over half a century ago.

Although there are many places to board the trolley in historic downtown Branson, we would recommend boarding at Branson Landing either near Bass Pro Shops or by the Belk store. This avoids the two-hour parking limits that cover most of the parking in the historic district. The trolley runs March-December daily, 9 AM – 6 PM except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Branson Landing Fountains: The fountains are in the middle of Branson Landing on the shoreline of Lake Taneycomo, at its Town Square. They’re the centerpiece of a $7.5 million spectacular water attraction. It’s the first-ever merging of water, fire, light and music with water fountains. This one of a kind show features shooting 120-foot geysers going up into the air and “fire cannons,” all choreographed to lights and music.

The Branson Landing Boardwalk: Millions go to Branson Landing each year to shop. One of its unique features is the Branson Landing Boardwalk. Following Lake Taneycomo’s shoreline, the 1.5-mile Boardwalk is concrete, level, and accessible providing a unique chance to experience the lake and its wild life, birds, and natural beauty up close.

Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery: The Missouri Department of Conservation runs the Hatchery. It’s part of a 211 acre complex consisting of the hatchery, trails, a wildlife refuge, and a Visitor Center.

The Visitor’s Center features an interesting nature display and a short video. The video shows What it takes to produce the trout making Lake Taneycomo one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation. There’s a huge aquarium with some of the largest Brown and Rainbow Trout that most people will ever see.

Guided tours of the hatchery leave from the Visitors Center each weekday, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Visitors may tour the “race ways” on their own during normal business hours and see tens of thousands of trout in the various stages of development. The Visitor Center opens at 9:00 a.m. every day except, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It’s located at the foot of Table Rock Dam just off State Highway 165.

Want to experience something you will never forget? Take your family on an early morning summer walk along one of readily accessible lakeside trails. The fog rising off Lake Taneycomo is a beautiful thing to see as it interacts with winds and the rising sun. It’s the kind of unique sights that creates memories that can last a lifetime!

Dick’s Old-time 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!”

For more information on these activities, or Branson shows, attractions and lodging, please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center, toll-free, at 1-800-785-1550.

 

Showboat Branson Belle launching exciting new guest experience in 2017!

The magnificent Showboat Branson Belle!

When the magnificent Showboat Branson Belle leaves the dock on her first 2017 Table Rock Lake cruise, on March 4, 2017, something special will happen. Her guests will be cruising into an exciting new experience. They will enjoy the improvements of Phase One of a two-year, multi-million dollar, “large-scale guest experience relaunch.” The relaunch delivers to the boat’s guests what they said they wanted during extensive research done in 2016.

Nick Guevel, Director of Operations for the Showboat Branson Belle, took time from his busy schedule to the talk with the Branson Tourism Center about the Branson Belle and the exciting new guest experience they will have in 2017.

BTC: How long have you been working at the Showboat Branson Belle?
NG: I’ve been with Herschend Family Enterprises for five years and with the Showboat Branson Belle for just over a year.

BTC: What does the Director of Operations do?
NG: They manage the complete operation of the Showboat. This includes everything from marketing and ticket sales to the daily execution of cruises and customer service.

BTC: If you could write the headline for an article describing the experience your guests will have on the Branson Belle in 2017 what would it be?
NG: Showboat Branson Belle launching exciting new guest experience in 2017!

BTC: In 2017, the Showboat’s guests will enjoy the enhancements of Phase One of a two year multi-million dollar “large-scale guest experience relaunch.” What was the driving force behind the project?
NG: Giving our guests an experience creating “Memories worth repeating” has always been our mission. To do that we are constantly evolving to give our guests the best experience possible. Last year we conducted extensive research to get their opinion as to what they wanted. This project delivers what they said they wanted.

BTC: What are some of the major elements of Phase 1?
NG: A complete redo of our theatre and dining area including carpeting, stage, chairs, wall paper and painting. The launch of a new summer show, “Country on the Lake;” menu changes, expansion of the premium dining area, entertainment on the top deck; modification of the panoramic windows throughout the boat so the curtains won’t have to be drawn while guests enjoy the show, and much more.

Just enjoying the moment.

BTC: Of all the physical enhancements in Phase One, which one are you personally most excited about?
NG: I’m most enthused about those that focus on enhancing the experience of the lake for our guests. One example is taking the curtains off the giant panoramic windows throughout the boat so that our guests can see the lake at all times while on the boat.

BTC: Does glare coming through the windows interfere with guests enjoying the show?
NG: No. We have a coating on the windows that reduces glare while permitting the guests to enjoy both the show and the view of the lake.

BTC: In the past, a premium dining and seating experience was offered in the Paddle Wheel Room. How is that experience changing for 2017?
NG: We have guests on the boat that want the best deal they can get. We also have guests that are willing to pay for premium experiences. In 2017 we are growing our premium seating and the amenities that go along with it. Our “Captain’s Club Premium Seating and Dining Experience” includes priority boarding, ordering from a menu with a choice of delicious entrees, and premium seating. The 60 premium dining seats, the first three rows in the balcony, are considered “the best seats in the house.” The “upcharge,” from “General Admission,” to “Captain’s Club” is $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children..

BTC: Will the “Paddle Wheel Room,” still be part of the premium dining experience?
NG: No. In the past it was, but diners then missed the pre-show.

BTC: Will the enhancement include more room between seats?
NG: Yes. One of the things people told us during our research was that they wanted more room. We have removed seats from the boat so that there is more room between each seat.

BTC: What are the Phase Two enhancements?
NG: We’re going to continue to work on the remodel of our front atrium area, more seating and activities on the exterior of the boat, the top deck, and more work on the White River Landing area where people arrive.

BTC: Why the emphasis on more seating and activities on the exterior of the boat?
NG: We are trying to make the outside of the boat more flexible for each guest. We want to create an opportunity for guests to go up to the top deck and enjoy it their way. If they want to sit up front and listen to the music we have seats for that. If they want to go find a quiet place on the boat to just sit and talk, we want to have nice seating for that too. We’re trying to create these “pods” around the boat with activities and seating where people can really get to use the boat to maximize their experience.

BTC: Could you give an example of where these “pods” would be located?
NG: Throughout the exterior of the boat we have spaces where we are creating unique comfortable settings for people to enjoy. The back of the boat on the top deck provides a lot of flexibility, but there are other areas. One would be the “atrium balconies” at the front of the boat on each level.

BTC: What one thing about the first phase of the enhancement project means the most to you?
NG: For me, there’s a sense of pride in that we are delivering on what our guest research told us our guests wanted. It’s satisfying to me to know that we not only asked, but that we listened.

BTC: Will the boarding process be a little different in 2017 than in the past?
NG: Yes. We want people to relax and enjoy the experience. That starts with giving them more time to shop and enjoy the landing, maybe have a coke before boarding. We also wanted to do away with long boarding lines and make it a more fluid experience. Everyone has an assigned seat so there’s no need to rush on board. We will call smaller groups by row. You listen for your row, we will scan your ticket and you go right down and sit in your seat. There’s no need to wait in those long lines.

CELEBRATE’s Cassandré Faimon-Haygood and Christopher James.

BTC: CELEBRATE is the headline show of the Showboat Branson Belle. Are there any major cast or production changes from last year?
NG: Our all-star cast is returning. This includes the ShowMen, our talented vocal group; Cassandré Faimon-Haygood, one of Branson’s premier female vocalists and entertainers; the four-man dance troupe Rhythm; and comedian emcee Christopher James will all be returning. The Rockin’ Dockers, one of the finest live bands anywhere, will also be back.

BTC: Will there be changes in the music in CELEBRATE?
NG: Yes. Our research indicated that our guests wanted more classic rock. Although there will certainly be a variety of music, with something for everyone, it’s going to be much more focused on classic rock.

BTC: Can you give us an example of the artists whose music will be included?
NG: Sure, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Beatles and others. The songs will be songs, that you grew up listening to and will get your toes tapping.

BTC: Is magic and comedy still part of CELEBRATE?
NG: Absolutely and in a big way! Christopher James, our emcee is fabulous with his ultra-sharp improvisation, magic and humor.

BTC: The Branson Belle is featuring a new noon show for 2017 called Country on the Lake. What lead to the decision to change to the new country format?
NG: Our guest research told us that there is a real love for country music and specifically, 1990’s country music.

BTC: What type of music will it feature?
NG: It will be a musical journey through some of the most popular country music of the 90s along with some of the southern classic rock hits that influenced that music.

BTC: Will the menu for that show be different than the CELEBRATE! menu?
NG: Yes. It has been designed to enhance the overall country experience of our guests. It includes slow smoked pork, smoked at Silver Dollar City and delivered fresh to the boat each day; BBQ Chicken, loaded baked potatoes; roasted corn; homemade rolls; a great spring mix salad and ice cream pie for dessert. It’s also made at Silver Dollar City and transported to the boat.

BTC: So the CELEBRATE! and Country On the Lake shows will have different casts, a different show, and a different meal?
NG: They are two entirely different experiences resulting in one thing. An extremely enjoyable and entertaining experience providing “Memories worth repeating.”

If you’d like more information on the Showboat Branson Belle please call the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. A Branson based Vacation Specialist will answer any questions you have about Branson lodging, shows, or attractions. They can also help with ticketing, reservations and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

 

Lake Queen cruise shares a unique part of the Ozarks missed by Millions each year!


 

Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen coming through the early morning mist on Lake Taneycomo.

“A scenic cruise aboard the Lake Queen is a nostalgic adventure,” said Melissa McGowan, Marketing Manager and Groups Sales Coordinator for Main Street Lakes Cruises. “Cruising aboard the Lake Queen is a unique adventure. It offers sights and a closeness with the beauty, nature and history of the Ozarks that few of the millions of annual visitors to Branson will ever experience.”

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

McGowan said the 2017 Cruise season for the Lake Queen will start on March 3*. When asked, “What can passengers expect to see, she answered, “That depends. Each cruise is like a snowflake. You can’t plan for a Bald Eagle to soar over head or be sitting in a tree, a mink scurrying along the shoreline, or many of the unique things that happen daily. They either happen or they don’t, but when they do you couldn’t have a better seat to see the show!”

Passengers get a unique mid-lake view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million fountain. Its spectacular synchronized fire, water, light, and music show is a popular feature of every cruise. Another passenger favorite is a close up view of one of Missouri’s largest Blue Heron Rookeries. All this while cruising by amazing bluffs carved by Mother Nature over the centuries surrounded by spectacular Ozark vistas that change with the season.

Throughout the cruise the Captain points out sights of interest and provides an entertaining and informative account about each.  Did you know that Lake Taneycomo is one of the finest places to fish for Rainbow and Brown Trout in the United States? Where and when did the term “Hacker” originate? How did Lake Taneycomo get its name. The timing of the comments allows plenty of time to relax and enjoy the peaceful beauty of the Ozarks.

On every cruise children and others can go up to the “wheelhouse” and meet the Captain. If the weather and currents allow, under the watchful eye of the Captain, they can take the wheel and “drive” the boat.

The 90-foot long paddlewheel river boat replica has full sized rest rooms and two decks. The lower deck is climate controlled while the top deck is open. She cruises twice a day, 11:45 AM and 4:45 PM with boarding available 30 minutes prior to departure. Both cruises offer the option of a light meal. It consists of a Jumbo Ham or Turkey Croissant, homemade chips, a sugar cookie and unlimited tea, coffee, or water. Meals must be ordered prior to boarding. The Lake Queen has a full cash bar offering alcoholic drinks and soft drinks.

The Lake Queen and her crew is U.S. Coast Guard certified.  The Coast Guard inspects the ship yearly. Every five years it has to be taken out of the water for inspection. “This was the year. While she was out we gave her a ‘2017 Makeover’ including a new coat of paint.’ She’s just beautiful!” McGowan said.

For more information about a cruise aboard the Lake Queen please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

* Cruises on March 3 & 4 will be aboard the 100 foot luxury yacht Landing Princess

For best Branson vacations one call takes care of it all!

Just a few of the many choices Branson visitors have.

“There’s good news and bad news for those planning to vacation in Branson,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “The good news is that there’s so much to see and do. The bad news is there’s so much to see and do.”

How can “good news” also be “bad news?” Garrison says there’s more excitement, fun, live entertainment, and adventure for families in Branson than any similar sized travel destination in America. So much so, that planning a vacation to Branson can be challenging, for first time visitors. “But one call to the Branson Tourism Center, at 1-800-785-1550, can take care of it all.”

The Branson Tourism Center has been helping Branson Visitors plan exceptional vacations since 2002. “‘Helping people have the best possible Branson experience,’ is not just a trite phrase. It describes the passion and commitment of our 100 Branson based employees as they share all Branson has to offer each day,” Preston adds.

One call to 1-800-785-1550 puts you in contact with one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson-based Vacation Specialists. They’ll help you to narrow all the choices Branson has to offer into the perfect vacation for you and your family. There is absolutely no fee or charge for this service.

The Vacation Specialist will guide through the 20,100 hotel rooms, condos, and cabins available to come up with the one that is ideal for you and your family. Do you want a lake side cabin, condo, or room? Do you want to be near Silver Dollar City? On a golf course? Pet friendly or not? Are there particular amenities or services wanted? What price range?

Want the lowest guaranteed price on your lodging? No problem, just select lodging that is part of the Branson Tourism Center’s Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee Program. These include properties such as the Welk Resort, Dutton Inn, Pointe Royale Resort, and others. Subject to a few conditions, if you find a lower price for the same room on the same dates, between when you book and arrive in Branson, the Branson Tourism Center will match it.

Branson’s shows are famous! From over 120 shows, as varied as Moses, Million Dollar Quartet, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, and Amazing Pets, the Vacation Specialist will help boil it down to those that most interest you and your family. They will also show you how to save money by bundling lodging and shows and using Family Passes.

“And that’s just shows and lodging! As with them, there are similar choices within each of the general categories of things to do in Branson. It’s not just a “lake” there is a choice of three. Do you want to fish for warm water fish like bass and crappie or cold water species like Rainbow and Brown Trout? How about zip lines? Do you want a full guided eco canopy tour across many zip lines, platforms, and skywalks like that offered by Branson Zipline. Or would you prefer the unique thrill of zipping across Lake Taneycomo to the top of Mount Branson for a spectacular view of Branson Landing and Historic Downtown Branson on Parakeet Pete’s zip line?

From rooms, to shows, attractions and other activities, your Branson based Branson Tourism Center Vacation Specialist will help custom design the perfect Branson vacation for you and your family. At the very least they will save you valuable time and, in most cases, money. Most  important of all however, is that they’ll help plan a Branson vacation that could make memories lasting a lifetime!

The words of Peggy Barthel, the purchaser of our three millionth ticket, said it all! “I had spent most of that day on the internet spinning my wheels trying to decide where to go, what we were going to do, and that kind of thing.” Then she found the Branson Tourism Center and called 1-800-875-1550. “One call, that’s all! They just took care of everything. We just came and had fun.” Doesn’t that sound like great advice? “One call takes care of it all!”

Best Branson Insider Highlights for February 2017

The Hughes Brothers from our Featured Show of the Month, “It starring the Hughes Brothers.”

“Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend provide February’s focus for romance, fun, shopping, and entertainment,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s hard to imagine a more romantic spot for Valentine’s Day or a better shopping destination during President’s Day Weekend. And it just gets better, as many of Branson’s most popular shows open their 2017 Season,” she added.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, with a list of Special Event Highlights you can enjoy in Branson during February, 2017:

Featured Show of the Month: As words go, “it” is a short word. The show it Starring the Hughes Brothers, shows how big “it” can be, with music, fun, inspiration, and entertainment for every member of the family!

It’s one thing to be “world’s largest performing family.” It’s entirely something else when that performance results in a show listed on Branson Tourism Center’s Most Popular and Highly Recommended Show List. The majority seeing “it,” hearing “it,” and experiencing “it,” as I did, know why. From the opening curtain to the finale, “it” is one of the most energetic, unique, colorful, and inspirational shows in Branson, entertaining all ages simultaneously.

Featured Event of the Month: The beginning blush of Branson’s 2017 live show season with the opening of some of its most popular shows including:

Amazing Pets
Branson Country USA
Comedy Jamboree
Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies
Grand Jubilee
The Haygoods
it starring the Hughes Brothers
Legends in Concert
New Jersey Nights

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Feb 4:     Father/Daughter Valentine Dance
Feb 5:     Super Bowl LI at The Paddlewheel
Feb 7-14:  Tanger Outlets Share the LOVE Event
Feb 10-14: Valentine’s at Chateau Grille
Feb 11:    Hot Winter Fun at Trophy Run
Feb 12:    2017 Branson Bridal Show
Feb 14:    Valentine’s Day
Feb 14:    Valentine’s Weekend in Branson
Feb 14:    Valentine’s Day Dinner at Keeter Center
Feb 15:    The Massacre at Ledgestone Country Club
Feb 17-19: Tri Lakes Building & Home Show
Feb 17-20: President’s Day Weekend Sale – Tanger Outlets
Feb 23-26: VisionCon – Gaming, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Anime Convention
Feb 25:    Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament – Lilleys’ Landing

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood said that weather and seasonal show, attraction and lodging availability are important when planning a trip to Branson during the winter months. She suggests calling the Branson Tourism Center, toll-free at 1-800-785-1550, and talking with one of its Branson-based Vacation Planning specialists. They’ll answer any questions and help with show reservations, ticketing and lodging. There’s no charge for this service.