When most of us think about vacationing in a US city, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, or Orlando make the top of our list – but Branson doesn’t usually cross our minds. However, if you are looking for the top family-friendly to-dos, Branson is the place to be.
From mind-blowing historic museums and picturesque lakes to live music theaters and amazing theme parks, Branson can help you explore nature, history, and culture, all within 20 square miles.
Silver Dollar City
Do you want to take a trip to the 19th century? The Silver Dollar City is the place where you can time-travel straight to the 1880s. A theme park, heritage craft center, and historical village all rolled into one, the Silver Dollar City can transport you to an historic Ozark mountain village.
The park includes rides for people of all ages. If you want to have an adventure of a lifetime, we dare you to take a ride on the Time Traveler, the World’s Fastest, Steepest and Tallest Spinning Coaster, that travels the track at 50 mph, drops down 90-degrees, and can ascend a height of 100 feet.
Also try the Fire-in-the-Hole roller coaster, which travels through a coal mine on fire, which further promotes the old-time feeling. The park also includes historical buildings on site like an 1843 log cabin and an 1849 church.
You will also see heritage craftsman selling their homemade and handspun ware, keeping alive the Ozark tradition. You can buy all the homemade candies you can carry, watch a glassblower blow delicate glass vases, a blacksmith forge a candleholder, and a woodworker carve a beautiful figurine. You can also get cooking classes from a master chef.
The theme park also features special events all the year round, including the ever-popular Country Music Weekend and Old Time Christmas.
The stunning park was built around the limestone Marvel Cave, and underground tours are still very popular.
Table Rock Lake
Table Rock Lake is one of the most serene and picturesque lakes in Missouri. The water body covers over 50,000 acres and has an 800 mile of shoreline. This beautiful bounty of nature is perfect for nature lovers who enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, waterskiing, and even scuba diving— since the lake is so big and is teeming with wild life like white bass, channel cat, crappie and blue gill.
If you want to take a dip in the cool waters or feel the sun on your skin, nothing is better than the stunning Moonshine Beach, the lake’s only sandy swimming beach. Maintained and run by the US Corps of Engineers, this lovely beach is near Cape Fair and the Dewey Short Visitor Center Recreation Area.
To rent out a boat, you can go to the Indian Point Marina or the State Park Marina. Bear in mind that these areas are forbidden to swim in.
If you visit this gorgeous lake, do not forget to go on the sunset cruise, a two-hour cruise on the showboat Branson Belle.
The out-of-this world Titanic Museum is built to look like the actual ill-fated ship. For the past four years, the museum has attracted thousands of tourists through its Luminaries Festival of Lights display.
According to the president, Mary Kellogg, the lightning of the luminaries was a ceremonial way to welcome the Christ Child to the world. The luminaries of the Titanic Museum serve as a spiritual tribute to the 2,208 souls who sailed on the RMS Titanic.
A guide will lead the guests along a candlelit path of the Great Light Way and towards the entrance of the museum, where they will be given a ticket with an actual name of a Titanic passenger on it. The tour features various interactive experiences; visitors are invited to touch a piece of a real ice berg and dip their hands in 28-degree water — the actual temperature of the Atlantic Ocean when the Titanic sunk. Visitors can also stand on the sloping decks, which mimic the actual incline of the ship as it was sinking.
You will also get to see more than 400 artifacts from the ships that have been carefully preserved. At the end of the tour, the visitor will also find out whether the passenger whose name is on their ticket survived the sinking or not.
The museum is just a scant 5 miles from the Silver Dollar City, so if you visit the theme park, the Titanic Museum should be next on your list.
Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum
Travel to the prehistoric age as you enter the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum. This revolutionary museum celebrates the rich history of the Ozarks and features several galleries with Native America and Osage Indian artifacts and artwork.
Going back to the Ice Age, Ozark was inhabited by the most fascinating animals. To remember them, the museum contains true-to-life diorama and carbon-dated skeletons of ancient majestic creatures like the woolly mammoth, the saber-toothed tiger, giant ground sloths and prehistoric cave bears.
You will also get the chance to travel through history and see the images, artifacts and interactive exhibits of the old Ozarks and the people who lived there 12,000 years ago. The exhibits date to the Civil War era, showcasing historical items from the American West and many interactive displays.
The Ancient Ozarks Natural history Museum is not just very entertaining but educational as well, so bring your kids along with you too.
Sight & Sound Theatres
The Sight & Sound Theatres seats 2,000 people and should be one of the top things to do in the Live Music Capital of the World.
This famous theater has been called the “Christian Broadway” since many of its live stage shows contain Biblical themes. Some of the most popular performances include the “Miracle of Christmas,” Samson,” and “Jonah” that are brought to life by the exceptionally talented cast, unbelievable special effects and even live animals on stage and in the aisles.
The theatre is family-friendly and is equipped with glass covered family room, which allows parents to take care of small children while watching the performance on TV, without the distraction of an audience.
Visitors say that there is not a single seat in the entire stadium-style theatre, though you should consider a seat in the back half of the stadium for the very best view. The theatre also offers a one-hour behind-the-Scenes tour from March to December.
These are only five of the dozens of places that you need to explore while you are in Branson. This amazing city is filled by tourist attractions like the Keeter Center, Branson Landing, Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, and the Branson Scenic Railway, which should be on you to-do list as well.
If you want to get the full Branson experience, schedule a one-week visit on overdrive.