“Branson has been recognized as one of the top two value destinations in America for 2015,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “That value becomes even more so when families combine those activities costing money with those that are free,” she added.
Here’s a list of three unique free things that families can have fun and enjoy sharing together:
1. Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery – The “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery,” is located about ten minutes from the famed Branson Strip at the foot of Table Rock Dam just off of State Highway 165. Operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation, it is part of a complex occupying 211 acres along with a “Conservation Center” consisting of trails, a wild life refuge, and a “Visitor Center.”
The Visitor Center has a small nature display and a short video on how the hatchery produces the hundreds of thousands of Rainbow and Brown Trout that makes Lake Taneycomo one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation. Its huge aquarium features some of the “lunker” Brown and Rainbow Trout that any Lake Taneycomo fisherman would love to catch. It is open every day from 9 AM through 5 PM from, through the end of May and from 9 AM through 6 PM from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
After visiting the welcome center, it is exciting to walk outside and tour the “race ways,” containing thousands of trout in the various stages of development from the smallest of trout to the large “brood stock” used to produce them. In addition to these “self-guided” tours, guided tours depart from the Visitors Center from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekdays at 10 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM and 2 PM.
2. The Dewey Short Regional Visitors Center at Table Rock Dam – The $7.9 million, 15,000 square foot U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visitor center has been called “the crown jewel of Table Rock Lake” and for good reason. It is one of only 11 Class A visitor centers in the U.S. and offers an unparalleled view of two of Branson’s lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo, that can be seen from the floor to ceiling glass windows on the Table Rock Lake side of the building. Among other things, the Center features interactive activities, displays on area history, nature and the inner workings of Table Rock Dam, movies, a gift shop with unique merchandise and an interesting film on the construction of Table Rock Dam. The center is open from 10 AM until 5 PM every day from March through December and Tuesdays through Saturday in January and February.
3. Branson Landing Boardwalk – The 1.5 mile long paved level boardwalk runs the entire length of Branson Landing along the shoreline of Lake Taneycomo. It provides a convenient, easy and safe way to view some of the lakes wildlife and birds, the natural beauty of its constantly changing shoreline as well activity both on, off and over including a chance to see Main Street Lake Cruises river boat replica, the Lake Queen as she takes her passengers out for a scenic tour on the lake; the Landing’s $7.5 million spectacular fountains 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 and “Parakeet Pete’s Zip Line which goes over the lake to the top of Mount Branson before releasing its riders for an exciting “zip” back across the lake to their starting point at Branson Landing.
From grist mills, to scenic overlooks, a giant Bass kids can stand in, “Dicks 5 & 10,” nature and hiking trails, parks, “Moonshine Beach and much more, Branson has a broad choice ofactivities that families can enjoy together for free. For more information on these and other Branson activities, both free and not, as well as Branson shows, attractions and lodging please feel free to call the Branson Tourism Center toll free at 1-800-785-1550.