“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!”