Last summer, our family was planning a series of quick jaunts. We wanted to jump in the car and spend a few days somewhere we’d never been! As we tossed around ideas, my husband suggested Branson, Missouri. I snickered a little, remembering the Branson trips Great Uncle Frank and Aunt Ruth had taken to hear their favorite crooners. I pointed out that while I was sure it was a lovely place, it probably wouldn’t be much fun for the kids.
It’s tough admitting to not only being wrong, but off the charts wrong! This beautiful town in the heart of the Ozarks was one of our favorite vacation spots EVER! There was so much to do- we could have stayed much longer! Not only was it super kid-friendly but wholesome fun for the entire family. The people of Branson were gracious and welcoming, the scenery spectacular and the adventures endless!
Both of our children are completely enamored with anything related to the Titanic, so a stop at the world’s largest Titanic Museum attraction was definitely on our agenda. It was like stepping back in time as we each took on the role of one of the original passengers (not even knowing if we survived until the end of the tour!). Artifacts, oral histories and an experience with the frigid waters made our visit interactive and, at times, quite poignant.
While I tend to be more of an “indoor” girl, my family loves to explore the great outdoors. Kayak Branson fit the bill perfectly, and we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon gliding through the stunning waters of Lake Taneycomo.
We followed our experience on the water with a drive INTO the water as part of the Ride the Ducks Branson experience. We bumped along as we climbed to the top of the mountain quacking all the way, only to ease into the water for a completely different perspective. We were fascinated as we learned about the unique military vehicles we passed during our 70-minute ride and the kids loved helping the captain by steering the amphibious vehicle once we were cruising the lake.
The Track Family Fun Park was a definite highlight of our Branson excursion! Featuring three high-rise go-kart tracks (one smooth concrete and metal and two of the jaw-jarring wooden variety), we careened through the twists and turns as we raced to the top and back down. I wish I could say I won, but found my foot on the brake more than the gas and watched as my kids flew right by me! We also happened to be visiting during the inaugural spin of the Ferris Wheel– talk about a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Live Music Capital of the World! Of course, we couldn’t leave the Track without a visit to Andy’s Frozen Custard, which serves my version of heaven in a dish!
Speaking of heavenly experiences, our show at the Sight and Sound Theater was a phenomenon not to be missed! Moses captured the audience with astonishing special effects and live animals while drawing us in to a story as old as time itself. Remarkable!
Regardless of where we travel, we seek out the nearest theme park to the destination. My adrenaline-loving family is always game for new coasters and rides while I am usually content riding the benches or taking in a show. Silver Dollar City managed to exceed all our expectations! This 1880’s theme park in the heartland of America was nestled in abundant shade and offered exceptional entertainment and thrilling rides. There was so much to do, we considered going a second day!
Tagged as the “most fun place to eat” in Branson, our dinner and show at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede did not disappoint. Competition between the North and South is still alive and well in this arena and featured astonishing horse riding stunts, special effects and the tastiest of family feasts. We ate, whooped and laughed, all while cheering on our favorite riders. Loved the energy of this show!
I’ve shared some of our family’s favorite Branson highlights, but really didn’t even scratch the surface of all there is to do- Parakeet Pete’s Zipline, shopping at Branson Landing, the Branson IMAX, and a wonderful visit to Shepherd of the Hills (which I understand is now temporarily closed) rounded out our escapades in Branson. Since our visit, a new family-friendly attraction has been added that just may entice us to take another road trip. Frtiz’s Adventure opened in November of 2016 to stellar reviews. One visitor commented that it is a “fully interactive adventure where everything you see is meant to be crawled under, climbed upon or through.” Who wouldn’t want to check it out?!?
Branson is an amazing and vibrant town, still brimming with the energy of live shows and entertainment daily but with a youthful edge of activity. It is so completely family-friendly and reasonably priced that it’s a great vacation option for anyone.
Group Travel Odyssey has hand-selected Branson as an ideal destination for a September Homeschool Odyssey, a travel experience designed exclusively for homeschool families. GTO has captured the best of Branson in a six-day package with flexible scheduling and homeschool programming, all at a discounted rate. They’ve done the work, you just have to join the odyssey! For more information or to book now for early bird discounts, go to Branson Homeschool Odyssey. Our family just may join yours for another great week of family fun!
*Photos courtesy of the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau