Branson, Missouri: Vacation Capital of the Midwest
If you're planning a family trip without breaking the bank, consider Branson. You'll find a one-of-a-kind theme park the entire family will love, terrific entertainment, and fun resorts!
Silver Dollar City:Details: Silver Dollar City 399 Silver Dollar City Parkway Branson, Missouri. www.SilverDollarCity.com
Silver Dollar City is a theme park set in the 1880s. Shows, rides, and crafts make this a theme park for all ages. The entire family will delight in watching crafters use historic tools to create works of art and delicious food right before your eyes. Watch a candy-making demonstration, and enjoy samples. Stop at the blacksmith, glassblower, wood carver, broom maker, and other crafters to watch skilled artisans create everything from wrought iron fences to marbles and baseball bats. Beyond crafts, Silver Dollar City also provides terrific shows and live entertainment. Enjoy special shows during festivals (including Kids Fest each Summer, World Fest in the Spring, Festival of Arts and Crafts in the Fall, and Old Time Christmas each winter).
And, of course, everyone loves the rides too! Roller Coasters, a full-size steam train, kiddie rides, water rides, and more are part of the fun. Many of the rides feature theatrics and decor adding to the fun... like the classic, "Fire in the Hole," where you ride through a burning mine shaft, or "The Great Shoot Out" where you compete with your fellow passengers to shoot targets as you float through a "prison." While you're there, be sure to tour Marvel Cave and learn about Branson's legendary tale, "Shepherd of the Hills."
Moms will enjoy classes at the "Culinary & Craft School," where Silver Dollar City's own culinary team offers hands-on programs where you make and sample delicious SDC foods, and leave with excellent recipes.
If you've never been, we give Silver Dollar City two thumbs up and recommend a few days for your visit. Every festival is fantastic and your family will be eager to come back for more fun each season.
Ride the Ducks:Details: Tours are offered on multiple routes, select the one that works for you. branson.ridetheducks.com/home.aspx
The Ducks were a favorite for our girls hands-down. The Ducks are a land and water adventure where you tour Branson aboard a "Duck" (originally a military vehicle, specifically designed to travel by land or water). The kids enjoyed the humorous tour provided by the Captain, quacking their duck calls (these are also used for discounts around Branson), and of course, splashing down into the lake for a fun cruise. Every child is given the opportunity to "co-pilot" the boat, and they are granted a Captain's Certificate at the end of the tour.
Dixie Stampede:Details: Dixie Stampede 1525 West Highway 76 Branson, Missouri. 800.520.5544 www.dixiestampede.com
Dixie Stampede is fun for the entire family! This Dinner Show is unlike any other. The audience is seated around an arena, where a live horse competition takes place complete with music, games, and a variety of animals from ostrich to pot belly pig. While you watch the show, you're served a full meal complete with soup, bread, chicken, corn, and dessert... one catch, the entire meal is "finger food." The show is fun for the whole family and it's a great value with a full meal served for all!
Showboat Branson Belle: Details: www.showboatbransonbelle.com
The Showboat Branson Belle is a riverboat cruise and dinner theater experience for all ages. They offer music shows and family shows (Todd Oliver and talking dogs is the best show for families... the kids LOVE it!). The audience is served a full meal aboard the boat, and given time to site see on the beautiful Tablerock Lake.
Castle Rock Resort & Waterpark: Details: 3001 Green Mountain Drive, Branson, Missouri. 1.888.273.3919 www.castlerockbranson.com
When visiting Branson, you'll soon discover a myriad of hotels and resorts to choose from. Castle Rock is an excellent choice for families. The highlight of this hotel is the waterpark with indoor and outdoor pools, two water slides, a 500 gallon dump bucket, a lazy river, toddler pools, and kids activities offered daily. You'll find a restaurant in the hotel with fastfood options (nachos, sandwiches, pizza, and the like). We stayed in a Tower Suite which features a Kiddy Cove Bunk Room with bunk beds (100 lb. max weight limit) and television... the girls LOVED it! Waterpark passes are included for all overnight guests. This is the perfect place to stay on your next trip to Branson with comfortable rooms at reasonable prices... and great fun poolside after a day of play at Silver Dollar City and area attractions.
Note from Kristina ~ In May of 2011, we returned to Branson and decided on more of a "camping" experience. We wanted to stay on Table Rock Lake and enjoy some outdoor fun before a day at Silver Dollar City (we NEVER visit Branson without a day at SDC!)... so, we stayed at Caboose Junction in Lampe, Missouri, and camped in a caboose! We had a great time and you can read all about it in my blog, "Camping in a Caboose."
More MoKan Day Trips & Vacations!
- 20-30 Min. East: Independence: Log Cabins & Trails West
- 45 Min. Northeast: Sibley: Lewis & Clark Country
- 45-60 Min. North: Weston: Autumn Splendor
- 1 Hour North: St. Joseph: Wild West in our Backyard
- 1 Hour Northeast: Lexington: Civil War in Missouri
- 1-2 Hours North: Jamesport: Amish Country
- 2- 3 Hours South: Carthage: Classic Rt. 66 Road Trip
- 2 1/2 - 3 Hours Southeast: Springfield: Ozark Country
- 4-5 Hours East: St. Louis: Gateway to the West Kansas
- 20-30 Min. West: Bonner Springs: Be a Kid for a Day
- 30-45 Min. South: Louisburg: Apples, Autumn, and Astronomy
- 30-45 Min. West: Lawrence: Eclectic College Town & Family Fun
- 45-60 Min. Northwest: Atchison: History & Mystery
- 60-90 Min. West: Topeka: More than a Capital City
- 60-90 Min. South: Fort Scott: National Historic Site
- 3 1/2-4 Hours Southwest: Hutchinson: Soar to Outer Space