Five Branson show reviews from recent Branson showgoers

Hamners' Unbelievable Variety Show .

Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show .

Many, including myself, write reviews, articles and posts about Branson shows, but for a current inside look at Branson shows from those who have an insider’s view because they have seen the shows recently, and for that matter everything else “Branson,” along with information and feedback, from locals and visitors alike, it’s hard to beat the Forums of 1Branson.Com, Branson’s biggest message board. Specifically, be they abbreviated or extensive, the show reviews in its Show Forum provide a unique perspective and freshness.

The following reviews recently posted in the “Show Forum, are listed alphabetically and followed by the name of the poster and date posted in italics:

AYO staring Voices of Glory – Went to see AYO again last night. If you want a show that will touch your heart, AYO is it. If you want a fast paced show, AYO is it. If you want to see talented performers, AYO is it. The boys are very talented & excellent singers. Nadia, was voted young entertainer of the year. Branson has a lot of very good female vocalists. I’m not going to say, she’s the best, but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said she was. She certainly is right at the top of the list. As far as being the best female entertainer, in totality, in my opinion, she is the total package & the best in Branson. I feel confident, in saying, put AYO (Voices of Glory) on your must see list, you won’t be sorry. Helppitch, June 21, 2014

Acrobats of ChinaYesterday we attended the Amazing Acrobats of China, and they were amazing. We’d never been to this one before and wanted to try it out. We weren’t disappointed and found the culture lesson that was included with the performance very interesting. How those young people accomplish all that balancing in those various situations is beyond me. Branson Junkie, June 24, 2014

Dublin’s Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies – We have seen both the “12 Irish Tenors” and “Dublin’s Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies”…some of the same guys that were in the 12 Irish Tenors are also in the new show. They do many of the same songs in the new show that they did in the old one…The 4 girls in the new show are very good, and bring a good variety of songs… Wait until you hear one of them do Nessun Dorma…I had never heard that sung by a woman until this show, but she does a fabulous job! All that to say, this is a good show and I’m sure you would enjoy it. Lots of energy, lots of variety, the guys and girls do some numbers together and seem to have a good time working with each other. Try it out. thesaint, June 17

Grand JubileeJust returned from our Saturday night show – Grand Jubilee.  WOW!  WOW!  WOW!  New South quartet is excellent, Jackie Brown is excellent, the Grand Band is excellent, Mike Patrick is excellent and Jim Dandy is so multi-talented it’s amazing. Branson Junkie, June 21, 2014

Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show – Really, REALLY dug the new show and format… While I always found Jim entertaining, his set hadn’t changed too much throughout the past few years… With the new show, a true Variety show in every sense of the word, it looks like Dave Hamner has been reinvigorated and it shows on stage… Really fun show with just about everything you’d expect to see in a great show… Highly recommend it. Writingfool, June 13, 2014

Want funny in Branson? Here’s five of its funniest comedians

Gary Presley, "Herkimer" with son Erik, "Cecil" in one of their hilarious skits.

Gary Presley, “Herkimer” with son Erik, “Cecil” in one of their hilarious skits.

BRANSON, Mo., June 27, 2014 – Offering shows as diverse as the Acrobats of China to Jonah, Mickey Gilley, the Haygoods and Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Branson’s reputation for the variety, quantity and quality of its shows is unmatched by travel destinations anywhere near its size. Primarily known for its music shows covering just about every musical genre, Branson also offers some of the most unique, funny and family friendly comedy available anywhere.

Comedy has been a major part of the Branson shows ever since the Baldknobbers “started it all” with its mixture of music and comedy. Here is an overview of five of Branson’s best comedians from four of its most popular shows:

1. Gary Presley of Presleys’ Country Jubilee has been entertaining Branson audiences ever since the Presleys’ opened the first theatre on what is now known as “The Branson Strip” in 1967 with its mixture of music and comedy. Known on stage as “Herkimer,” Gary is the consummate master of his craft, and with a combination of his unique style of humor and “Ozark hillbilly” costume has been making Branson audiences laugh longer than any other comedian on the Branson strip. Along with his son Erik, Presley “,Cecil” on stage, and a combination of comedy skits, one liners, jokes on current events and other common topics, action routines, some great props, and special effects, this creative comedy duo keeps audiences of all ages laughing and wondering about what’s coming next.

Jamie Haage, "Jim Dandy," and Mike Patrick.

Jamie Haage, “Jim Dandy,” and Mike Patrick.

2. Paul Harris, the comedian in Paul Harris & The Cleverlys Show, has been having Branson audiences “busting their guts” laughing for over 20 years. Paul’s style is standup comedy and boy is he ever funny. Where else will you find out why it’s not a great idea to go swimming with a Sperm Whale? His comedy has that good old boy comfort of Jeff Foxworthy, turns almost anything worth talking about into an occasion of laughter and while “‘cutting edge’ he always walks the line and keeps his show clean.”

3. Jarrett Dougherty, currently performing with the Dilly Dean Live Show, is another very funny man who will have you laughing from the beginning to the end of the show with his comedy. His comedy is most often presented through the various “characters” he becomes and often involves a straight man. It will have you laughing and sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what he is going to come up with next, but one thing is for sure, this is one funny guy.

4. The multitalented Jamie Haage does a hilariously funny job of playing “Jim Dandy” and providing the comedy in the Grand Jubilee show. You’ve heard of “dark comedy,” well welcome to “orange comedy,” where, strategically placed throughout the show, Jim Dandy, along with his straight man, the shows Emcee Mike Patrick, will have you laughing until you hurt with a blend of comedy and one liners.

For additional information or tickets on the shows mentioned in the article please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Did you know this about Branson’s “Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies?”

"Celtic Ladies" performing "Moon River" tribute to Andy Williams.

“Celtic Ladies” performing “Moon River” tribute to Andy Williams.

As a big fan of the “Twelve Irish Tenors,” it was with some trepidation that I attended the show that has replaced it at the Kings Castle Theatre in Branson, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies on June11th. It didn’t take but two notes, ok so maybe it was a bar or two, of the “Celtic Ladies” beautiful show opening performance of “Danny Boy” to put my mind at ease and let me know that the tradition of beautiful and powerful Irish and, I was soon to find out, “Celtic” music, was not only alive and well at the Kings Castle, but evolving into a new and even more entertaining show establishing its own unique tradition and standard of entertainment excellence.

By the time they had finished their first set including “Scarborough Fair,” an acapella performance of “Loch Lomand” and the “Sky Boat Song” and Maggie Moore’s beautiful solo of “O Mio Babbino Caro” I was thinking “12 Irish Who?” Just kidding, but the performance of “Celtic Ladies,” Maggie Moore, Kelly Osbourne, Heather Peterson and Sarah Tochtrop was a wonderful way to start the show and set the bar, in terms of audience expectation, for what was to follow.

Dublins Irish Tenors

Dublins Irish Tenors

Not to be outdone, the “Dublin Irish enors,” Tony Turner, Robert Quibell, Jay MacManus, Alex Webster and Chism Ruden, opened their first set. They started with, among others, an inspirational performance of “You Raised Me Up,” a medley of Irish Songs including “Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “Sweet Rosie O Grady, “McNamara’s Band and “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral” and Elton Johns “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.”

Each of these vocalists, in their own right, is impressive, but when combined with the others in their group and with both groups together the result is a beautiful, powerful and unique vocal performance that is not available on any other Branson stage. Their presentation of the shows unique blend of Celtic music mixed with just the right amount of current contemporary and classical favorites is a joy to experience and will be enjoyed by “music lovers of all ages.” Add great lighting effects, sound, sets, costuming and choreography surprises with virtually every number and the result is a completely wonderful, entertaining and inspiring entertainment experience.

Will children enjoy this show? There are no animals, peer performances by other children or segments specifically designed for children, but when combined with its sets, costuming and dancing, children who have an appreciation of or simply enjoy music will like this show. [An aside, for a show that will "knock the socks off adults" as well as children don't miss Le Grand Cirque also at the Kings Castle Theatre.]

In a show packed with some of the most touching and beautiful music of all time, presented by singers with such talent and energy, there are many highlights .From those, three of my favorites were the Celtic Ladies performance of the show’s opening number, “Danny Boy,” the opening Irish medley by the Dublin Tenors and their combined performances of “I Believe” and, my all-time favorite song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” My absolute favorite however, was Maggie Moore’s magnificent performance of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s opera “Turandot.” What a beautiful job!

For additional information or tickets for Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies or any of Branson’s 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 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com

 

Recent Branson show goers really dig Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show

Earlier this year I wrote a “review” of what at the time was Branson’s newest show, Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety show entitled,Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show Is “Unbelievably” Entertaining.

Dave and Denise Hamner with one of their magical winged friends.

Dave and Denise Hamner with one of their magical winged friends.

In that review I said, “From great illusions and close up magic, presented by two of the world’s finest magicians, to high flying “silk” acrobatics, an amazing strength adagio act, comedy, musical impersonations, vocals, dancing and ventriloquism the scope and variety of this show is, well, “Unbelievable.’”

This week [June 14], a series of posts were made to the “Show Forum,” on Branson’s biggest message board, www.1Branson.Com about the show by those who have seen the show more recently. In view of the fact that this is the time of the year when many families with children come to Branson we thought it timely to share these more recent personal reviews. As indicated in the following excerpts from the posts, prefaced with the name of the poster in bold, they too were impressed with the show and recommend it:

Writingfool: Really, REALLY dug the new show and format…With the new show, a true Variety show in every sense of the word. Really fun show with just about everything you’d expect to see in a great show… Highly recommend it

Helppitch: …they have put together a very nice show. A couple nice Russian dancers/acrobats, also a very good/funny ventriloquist, plus Tamra & Jeff & the Hamners with their birds.

Leftsaidted: Yes! Saw it just a week or so ago. The show has been good in the past, but this year is MUCH better! The Russian father/daughter team are outstanding. She is amazing when performing even by herself. The female ventriloquist is very, very funny. The illusion/magic acts are also very well done, some new ones…this year. Put it on your MUST SEE for 2014.

Particularly, at this time of year when a lot of families are coming to Branson I would point out the area in our previous review where I said, “To this writer, one of the most ‘Unbelievable’ aspects of this show is the way the individual talents of its cast are combined into a production that is as equally entertaining to adults of all ages as it is to teens and younger children throughout its entire length. All of Branson’s shows are ‘family friendly’ in terms of their content, some are designed primarily for kids and others for adults, but very few to entertain adults and kids together for the majority of the show; Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show is one of those shows.

Material Connection

Four things to consider when picking a Branson show for children

Children love "Jonah." It has it all action, color, spectacle, peer performers and an ageless story.

Children love “Jonah.” It has it all action, color, spectacle, peer performers and an ageless story.

“One question we get asked quite often, especially at this time of year with many of families vacationing in Branson, is ‘What are the best shows for children?’” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “All of Branson’s shows, in terms of content, are suitable for children but ‘what is best’ for a particular child depends on their age, attention span, interests and other factors,” she added.

Based on my experience with Branson shows over the last 28 years, Johnson’s advice is right on. She’s in an excellent position to know because the Branson Tourism Center will sell its four millionth ticket this month and many of those tickets were sold to families with children. Ask most Branson shows and they will tell you that there is something in their show “for children of every age.” That might very well be true for a short portion of the show, but some shows, more than others are more likely to hold the interests of children throughout more of the show than others. Realizing that these may overlap, here’s three things to consider when considering a Branson show for children:

1. Does the show have a lot of action or animals throughout that will appeal to your children? Most children like action and variety throughout the show. Some shows have a lot of action and variety that naturally and obviously appeals to children such as the Acrobats of China, Amazing Pets, Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety ShowLe Grand Cirque, Dixie Stampede, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience, Illusionist Rick Thomas and Jonah among others.

2. Does the show have performers in it that your children will relate to on a peer to peer basis? This one is tricky because it’s not just a matter of having children performing; it’s about the quality of their performance and how it relates to the total entertainment experience of everyone in the audience because these shows, although designed to hold the interests of children throughout with key peer to peer performances, are primarily music shows. Some do it with a mixture of performers going from their star parents to younger children; prime examples of this type of show would be the Duttons, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, and it at the Hughes Brothers Theatre. In others, such as the Haygoods and Ayo staring the Voices of Glory, the stars themselves are the peer to peer performers that children, particularly teenagers, will relate to.

3. Does the show have enough color, spectacle, or action to hold your child’s interest throughout the show? Is there enough color, spectacle and action intermixed throughout the show, whether intended specifically for children or not, to hold their interest? Presleys’ Country Jubilee is an excellent example of this type of show where their colorful costumes and the hilarious action filled comedy of “Herkimer” and his son “Cecil” combine with outstanding music into a show that has been successfully and continuously entertaining families visiting Branson since 1967.

4. Does the child have the attention span to sit through the show? This is primarily age related and something only the parent or adult thinking of taking a child to a show would know. If after considering the three factors listed above the answer is, “No,” then it might be advisable to spend the time and money enjoying one of Branson’s many other activities such as the Titanic Museum Attraction, a sightseeing cruise aboard the river boat replica Lake Queen, the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery or any one of the dozens of other Branson Attractions.

Branson Tourism Center celebrates 4 Millionth Ticket with Gift Card Giveaway

Use your gift card to see Sight and Sounds spectacular production of "Jonah" the smash hit of Branson's 2014 season.

Jonah, the smash hit of Branson’s 2014 season, is just one of the many Branson shows, attractions and lodging facilities that winners can use their gift cards on.

BRANSON, Mo., June 6, 2014 – “We are so excited that the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) has sold just under 4,000,000 tickets for Branson area shows and attractions and will pass that milestone later this month,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Just to think of the number of people those 4 million tickets represent, who have come to Branson and experienced its fun, excitement and adventure, is a humbling thought,” she added.

Wood said that, in celebration of the selling its 4 millionth ticket later this month, the Branson Tourism Center is having a 4 Millionth Ticket Celebration Sweepstakes giving away a Grand Prize of a $400 Branson Tourism Center Gift Card and 4 runner up prizes of $50 Branson Tourism Center Gift Cards. The gift cards can be used at BTC for the purchase of any the shows, attractions and lodging that it sells.

Entering the contest is simple and requires no purchase or requirement to have any social media account. Simply go to BTC’s 4 Millionth Ticket Celebration Sweepstakes page, enter your email address, read of the contest rules and submit your entry by clicking “Enter Now.” Once you have entered you’ll have the opportunity to get more entries by helping spread the word about the contest.

“At BTC the words, ‘We don’t sell discount vacations. We sell amazing vacations at a discount,’ are more than a slogan and one of the primary reasons why we will be selling our 4 millionth ticket this month,” Wood said.

Amazing Le Grand Cirque will leave you breathless

The "Wheel of Death" will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

The most daring stunt ever performed on a Branson stage. The “Wheel of Death” will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Over the past 28 years I have seen just about every “Cirque” type of show that has come to Branson. On May 31st I saw Le Grand Cirque, the most exciting, amazing, entertaining and daring cirque show that I have ever seen in Branson. In fact, I have never seen a show in Branson that combines music, dancing, comedy, amazing acrobatics and extreme stunts into a “sit on the edge of your seat excitement” entertainment experience like “Le Grand Cirque” does.

The full cast opening featuring dancing and music performed by colorfully dressed “clowns” is a fast paced number filled with neat acrobatics and moves that blends into one of best “hula hoop” acts I have ever seen. Young Noemi Lee España does amazing things with hula hoops that I have never seen before. Oh I have seen plenty of hula hoop acts and people twirl ten hoops before but I have never seen a hula hoop act like this and it’s just the first act.

For reasons that will be explained in a moment, this is as good a time as any to point out the cast of the show and what they do:

Vivien España – Aerialist, Hoop, Trapeze and Chiffon
Noemi Lee España – Hula Hoops, Contortionist, Aerial Chiffon
Elan Alex España – Diabolo Juggler, Chair Balancing
Noe España – Wheel of Death Walker and Globe of Death motorcycle rider
Felix Angello Toscano Hernandez – Globe of Death motorcycle rider
dilson De Paula Fernandes – Wheel of Death Walker
Mime – Jay McManus

Noemi during her amazing Hula Hoop performance.

Noemi during her amazing Hula Hoop performance.

You will note that the name “”España” appears quite a bit. It’s amazing that all this talent is one family. In addition to the talent, the different acts performed by different family member from “mom and dad” down to the kids relates so well to the audience, especially the children. How well? This comment from a review of this show by “zrahnoelle” on May 28 on Branson’s largest message board, “1Branson.com” said, “We saw La Grand Cirque at Kings Castle Theatre last night. Ages 7 to 67 and we all loved it! Several very dangerous acts had us on the edge of our seats and my 11 year old said she was so scared they would fall that her tummy hurt!” In my opinion this is one of very few Branson shows that will entertain children and adults simultaneously from the beginning to the end of the show.

There is just the right mixture of audience interaction and humor with the Mime mixed with music and dancing as the show swiftly and seamlessly moves from one act to another in a colorful and entertaining manner. One example is with the introduction to the aerial hoop act when a box appears on the stage and colorfully dressed characters come out until Vivien España  comes out of the box and rises gracefully into the air to perform her beautiful Aerial Hoop act. The “Black Light” routine leading into the “Wheel of Death” is another example.

The “Wheel of Death” is one of the most extreme stunts I have ever seen performed on any stage, Branson or anywhere else. Noe España and dilson De Paula Fernandes each walk in a “wheel” at one end of a pendulum that is swinging the two wheels in a full 360 degree circle that goes from the stage to the top of the theatre over 30 feet in the air. It scary enough when both of them are walking inside the two wheels as the pendulum speeds up, but it approaches insanity when one of them gets on top of the revolving wheel and performs. What an act and we haven’t mentioned the two motorcyclists performing in the “Globe of Death” as they zoom around not only each other, but, Noemi Lee España standing inside the “Globe.”

Even acts you have seen before take on new life and excitement in this show. Young Elan Alex España performs with the Diabolo “Chinese YoYo.) What he does with one is amazing, but when he goes to two and three he knocks it out of the park. From music, colorful costuming, excitement, grace beauty and danger, L”e Grand Cirque “has it all and is truly “Amazing Beyond Belief.”

For additional information or tickets for Le Grand Cirque please call the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Material Connection

 

 

Three tips that every first time Branson visitor should know

Christina Tabuchi, right, Shoji Tabuchi and Sharlyn Smith performing during the "Dixieland" segment of the Shoji Tabuchi Show.

Christina Tabuchi, right, Shoji Tabuchi and Sharlyn Smith performing during the “Dixieland” segment of the Shoji Tabuchi Show.

It’s no mistake that Branson, Missouri was listed on the “Top 25 List of U.S. Destinations” in “TripAdvisors® 6th Annual Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards.” There is just so much to do in Branson and so many ways for families to relax, have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. Here are three tips for first time visitors that we hope will help them enjoy Branson to its fullest:

1. Start relaxing while planning your vacation: With all there is to see and do in Branson, deciding what you want to see and do, making show and lodging reservations, etc. why not relax, avoid the hassle and start your vacation early by using the free vacation planning services of a company such as the Branson Tourism Center. Just one toll free call to 1-800-785-1550 is all it takes to put you in contact with one of their Branson based Vacation Planners who will be delighted to help plan your Branson trip, answer questions and make all the reservations. “One call does it all.” All you have to do is show up in Branson and enjoy your vacation.

2. Plan to see a Branson show: Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing, for the Branson Tourism Center, who has sold over 3,900,000 Branson show and attraction tickets points out that Branson is noted for the quantity and quality of its shows. With Branson shows as diversified as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Shoji Tabuchi, SIX, Le Grand Cirque and almost a hundred others there is a Branson show for everyone. Wood points out that Branson’s shows are some of the most reasonably priced anywhere and made even more so when the fact that many of its most popular shows offer Family Show Passes which can save families quite a bit.

Start out by looking at the lodging choices that are available and pick one that fits in with what you want from your vacation.

 

3. Pick lodging that will enhance your overall vacation expectations: On any trip, a bad lodging experience can spoil the trip and that is even more so when you are on vacation. The “good news” is that Branson has over 18,000 rooms and 200 lodging facilities to pick from. Whether its enjoying the relaxing atmosphere and quality service of a reasonably priced full service resort such as the Welk Resort, the lakeside luxury of the Chateau on the Lake or the quaint hominess of the Gazebo Inn, centrally located in the Branson Strip, or any one of Branson’s 197 other lodging properties there is sure to be lodging that is just perfect for your vacation. The use of Branson Tourism Center’s Lodging Page and its filters makes it easy to find the lodging you want by just clicking a few buttons or you can call 1-800-785-1550 and one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Vacation Planners will help you find the perfect lodging for your vacation.

No Pun, Jonah’s one whale of a show!

"Jonah brings  biblical story of "Jonah" to life in   a "whale" of an entertainment experience.

“Jonah brings biblical story of God’s reluctant prophet  to life in a “whale” of an entertainment experience.

Living in Branson for 28 years and writing about it for most of those years has put me in a position to see all of the spectacular Sight and Sound Branson shows, “Noah, the Musical,” “Miracle of Christmas,” and “Joseph.” When I went to see their new Branson production, Jonah, on May 29 I expected to see a show with great music, vocals, spectacular sets and costuming presented as only Sight and Sound can do it. Well folks I got that and a “whale” of a lot more. OK so it was a “big fish,” but I like the term “whale” that is commonly used when people talk about the biblical story of “Jonah.”

As great as the special effects and scenery have been in their other productions, the special effects and scenery in Jonah are just about unbelievable. The action scenes of the ship breaking up; Jonah flying through the air, particularly as he departs the belly of the whale; the set of Jonah in the belly of the whale and the underwater scene with the great whale are simply magnificent and something no one has ever come close to seeing on a Branson stage.

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

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

The ship alone took two years to build, weighs 30,000 pounds, sails “the seas on the stage” with its crew and starts to breaks up right before your eyes as the storm plummets it about. Then, after, they throw Jonah overboard, the storm abates and the stars again sparkle in the background. Meanwhile Jonah sinks into the depth of the sea setting the stage for the visual highlight of Jonah, the underwater segment with the great whale.

The audience is immersed, in a literal sense, in a spectacular underwater environment as beautiful fish swim about, Jelly Fish come down from the ceilings and the great whale comes out of the darkness and swims slowly and gracefully out over the audience through a beautiful underwater world and then, returns to swallow Jonah. Parents need not worry, the actual swallowing of Jonah by the whale is not seen. One minute the whale is swimming toward him and the next, there is a set with Jonah in the belly of the whale. Jonah’s exit from the belly of the whale was a “high flying” experience that delighted the audience.

As a general rule, with Sight and Sound shows you want to be in your seats when the show starts and immediately after intermission. If you are not, there is a chance you will not be admitted into the auditorium until it can be done safely because of the fact that animals and cast members use the aisles. This is particularly the case right after intermission when the big underwater scene takes place.

This show has it all, drama; original music produced specifically for Jonah and performed by Prague Symphony Orchestra; great vocals sung live on stage by the shows cast; 30 live animals including sheep, highlander cattle, camels, alpacas, horses, llamas, dogs, birds and miniature donkeys, and great sound, special effects, lighting and spectacular sets. The energy and talent of the shows cast of 41 performers brings the story of “Jonah,” and how he tried to run from what he knew God wanted him to do, to life in a very special and entertaining way.

It’s hard to imagine a show with a greater appeal and spectacle than Jonah as it brings to life and illustrates one of the greatest biblical stories of all time about the lesson one of God’s own prophets had to learn about His mercy and love for us, even as he tried to run from it. The magnificent and spectacular way the story comes to life in Jonah is unlike anything that most people will every experience live on stage, a pure joy to experience and something is that special type of entertainment that every member of the family will enjoy and remember for a lifetime.

 

 

Material Connection

Hatchery hatches more than trout for Branson visitors

Visitor's Center of Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery with Table Rock Dam in the background.

Visitor’s Center of Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery with Table Rock Dam in the background.

From its 43,000 plus surface acre water playground, Table Rock Lake, to attractions, museums, shopping, theme and water parks and over 100 live shows of every kind Branson, Missouri offers a bewildering number of things to see and do. “Many like Silver Dollar City, Branson’s great live shows and the Titanic Museum Attraction, to name a few, are well known,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Among the lesser known things to do is the opportunity for Branson visitors to experience the “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery” at the foot of Table Rock Dam,” she added.

The “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery,” is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is part of a 211 acre complex including a “Conservation Center” consisting of trails, a wild life refuge, and a Visitor Center. It is located less than 10 minutes from the famed “Branson Strip,” just off of State Highway 165 at the foot of Table Rock Dam.

The hatchery was built in conjunction with the building of Table Rock Dam because the cold water passing through the dams generators to generate electricity was ideal for Rainbow and Brown trout, but would have a a negative impact on the warm water species prevalent before the dam was built. With the completion of the dam, the first trout were stocked in Lake Taneycomo in 1959.

As a result, Lake Taneycomo, has become one of the finest trout fisheries in America with one of its outfitters, River Run Outfitters, actually winning the coveted “Orvis Outfitter of the Year Award,” in 2006, over outfitters in the other states that are legendary for their trout fishing.

In terms of raw numbers the hatchery produces over 1.1 million Rainbow and Brown Trout annually, of which about 475,000, 10 to 12 inch trout are included in the 700,000 plus trout stocked in the lake annually. The other 225,000 trout that go into Lake Taneycomo each year come from federal hatcheries, primarily Neosho, which are required by federal law to replace the “warm water” species that the building of Table Rock Dam displaced.

Hatchery visitors are welcome to tour the “race ways,” “trout runs,” by themselves during normal business hours and will see thousands of trout in the various stages of development from the large “brood stock” used to produce them to the smallest of trout. In addition, guided tours of the hatchery depart the Visitors Center from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekdays at 10 and 11 AM and 1 and 2 PM. The Visitor Center opens at 9:00 AM every day except, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Displays of wildflowers and plants common to the Ozarks are displayed in a natural setting, with most being identified, in the area just outside the Visitor’s Center. Activities inside the Center include a nature display, a huge aquarium with “lunker” Brown and Rainbow Trout and an informative 15 minute “movie” showing how the how the hatchery produces the trout that has made Lake Taneycomo the prime trout fishery that it is.

The Visitor Center also has volunteers and Department of Conservation personnel available to answer questions as well as maps and information showing the system of four trails that winds through the undeveloped area of the Conservation Center. These trails vary in length and are ideal for families to share together. The “White River Corridor Trail” is particularly enjoyable because it parallels Lake Taneycomo for almost its entire length, is only 0.4 of a mile in length, one way, and provides a spectacular “kaleidoscope” view of the fog shrouding Lake Taneycomo early on warm summer mornings burning off as the sun rises.

Except for a coin operated dispenser for trout food for those wanting to feed the trout in the raceways, all the activities at the hatchery are free. Whether it’s a few minutes or a few hours, The Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery is another one of those things that makes Branson, Missouri the memorable unique travel destination it is.