Shorty Smalls

Good Eats: Shorty Small’s

By: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

Spending a day in Branson includes several items on the average to-do list. Making time to visit shows, shopping, and countless outdoor activities are all options. One thing that everyone has to do while in town is eat. One of the best options around now resides in the former Andy Williams’ Moon River Grill.

Shorty Small’s has been serving up great Southern dishes and top notch BBQ in Branson for years. Sitting in the heart of the 76 strip, it makes for easy access to grab a meal that is sure to give you the fuel you need as you tour Branson. Be warned, Shorty’s makes sure to fill you up. Their portions are, should we say, “shareable”. As the staff says, “Everybody walks out full!”

Don’t worry if you stop in and there is a line (remember a wait at a restaurant is a good sign), Shorty’s has plenty to keep you entertained while your table is prepared for you. Make sure to get your free digital selfie at their photo booth. The crew here at ChooseBranson had a blast picking out props and getting our picture taken. Not only can you get a digital copy sent to your phone via text, but the staff can print out top quality photographs on the spot. They also offer a package that includes photos, t-shirts, and a bounce-back coupon at an excellent value.

Once seated the best place to start any meal is with an appetizer. Shorty’s Famous Onion Loaf is made up of sliced onions that have been breaded and deep-fried. The onion loaf comes in two different sizes and includes Chipotle Ranch dip on the side.

The Macho Nachos are “bunches and bunches” of tortilla chips covered with meaty chili, charro beans, Jack and Cheddar cheeses, diced tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, lettuce and sour cream. The half-order hits the spot, but if you are feeling adventurous then give the full-order a run.

Who doesn’t love a good Mozzarella stick? At Shorty Small’s they take fried cheese to another level. How about a Mozzarella stick the size of a Twinkie? Once you get a grip on this bad boy, make sure you dunk it in Sadie’s special marina sauce.

Sadie's Breath

Sadie’s Breath, Photo by Gabe Rawling

A refreshing cocktail is always a way to wash down any appetizer or meal. Try Shorty’s version of a hurricane, the “Sadie’s Breath”. It is a mixture of light and dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine. Topped off with an orange wedge and cherry, it really hits the spot.

When it comes to choosing a main course Shorty Small’s has a wide variety to choose from. Whether it’s homestyle burgers, salads, sandwiches, soup, BBQ, or steaks no matter the choice it is sure to please your appetite. Let us suggest some of Shorty’s classic menu items.

Check out the House Favorites and see why Shorty Small’s is a hit with locals and visitors alike. The World Famous Catfish platter includes farm-raised strips of “fried-just-right” catfish and includes a pile of french fries, as well as homemade coleslaw, on the side.

The Roasted Chicken feels just like something that grandma would make on a Sunday afternoon. An oven-roasted half chicken that has been lightly-seasoned and comes with helpings of mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. It is a picture perfect plate that you may feel shouldn’t be disturbed. Except that it tastes amazing so there is no chance of that!

If you are someone who enjoys a good challenge then get ready. Shorty Small’s is the home of the World’s Largest Chicken Fried Steak. This hand-breaded steak is topped with country gravy and is so big the platter can barely contain it. Add-in seasoned fries and coleslaw for the ultimate filler-upper. But let me tell you it is worth taking on. It may very well be the best thing on the menu. Perhaps you should find that out for yourself!

You cannot be in the Ozarks and not enjoy some great BBQ. Shorty Small’s “Jumpin’-Off-The-Bone” Ribs will rival the best around. Marinated loin-back ribs, that have been basted with their house sauce, will have you lickin’ your fingers and coming back for more. They are simply THAT GOOD!

After catching Illusionist Rick Thomas at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center & Theatre why not come across the street and finish your night off with a something a little sweet. Ask for a table in the Andy room and check out the wall of portraits of the legendary performer with other musical acts you are sure to recognize. Nibbling on a fantastic desert is the “icing on the cake”.

The Cookie Monster is a chocolate chip, brownie sundae. Topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel, chocolate, whipped cream, nuts, and of course a cherry. Everyone in the family will want to grab a spoon and dive into this delicious treat.

If you prefer a desert with a bit more warmth to it, then don’t pass up the Sizzlin’ Apple Pie. Brought to your table on a sizzlin’ skillet this pie has been baked to perfection. Filled with handpicked apples and topped with vanilla ice cream, the kicker is when your server pours Shorty’s brandy butter sauce over the giant slice right at your table. Not only will the steam rise, but so will your anticipation.

Outdoor Patio

Shorty Small’s outdoor patio. Photo by Gabe Rawling

This Fall will be a great time to stop by and relax on Shorty Small’s outdoor patio. Complete with fire pit, it is the perfect place to spend an evening with friends, hear some live music, and maybe even sight Shorty’s unofficial mascots (two groundhogs and a large bullfrog). Grab a drink from the bar off of their Fall drink specials.

The Fall lineup will include the Top Shelf Margarita, Branson Mule, and BBQ Bacon Bloody Mary which includes strips of bacon and Shorty’s house BBQ sauce.

So whether you are grabbing lunch before heading back out on the Branson trail, or looking for a night filled with good food and entertainment, Shorty Small’s needs to be at the top of your list. With a great menu and awesome atmosphere it is truly one of Branson’s gems!

 

Best Free Branson Activities Vol. 2

By: Michael Ayo

It’s true what they say: the best things in life are free. However, rarely is anything free in this world anymore. That can be especially true when talking about a vacation destination such as Branson. While there are many great shows, attractions and activities in town that require a fee, there are some Branson activities that won’t cost you a dime. Last year we provided readers with five of the best free Branson activities; now we’re back to let everyone know about a new list of great things to do in town that will only cost you your time.

Choose Branson Lip Sync Clash

The Choose Branson Lip Sync Clash held its inaugural event last August, and was a massive success. Because of that, the event is back for a second time this summer. Taking place June 9 at 5 p.m. in front of the Branson Landing Fountain, Branson entertainers and representatives from businesses and attractions across town will clash in a lip syncing competition for the ages.

The Titanic Museum took home the trophy belt in 2016, and is back again this year to defend their title. Challenging them will be representatives from Branson Zipline and Stormy Point Village, along with entertainers Prince IvanBranson’s Famous Baldknobbers and George Dyer. Before they take the stage to perform their hilarious lip sync antics, however, there will be a pre-show performance by the Baldknobbers and an acoustic set by Prince Ivan titled “Prince Ivan: Unplugged.” Of course this event is absolutely free, and there may even be a few giveaways and free handouts throughout the event so if you’re in town, definitely stop by.

Concerts at the Branson Landing

The Branson Landing is known for hosting a large number of events throughout the year, such as the aforementioned Choose Branson Lip Sync Clash. In addition to that great event, there are several other incredible concerts being performed on stage in front of the fountain at various times during 2017. Their Summer Concert Series this year will feature entertainers such as Prince Ivan, the Dan Benton Band, the Mark Chapman Band and many others. Be sure to check out the Landing’s entertainment schedule for a full list of things happening.

Moonshine Tastings

“Free samples” is perhaps the most well-known term including the word “free,” and while wine tastings and samplings may be the most popular in Branson, there are some places that offer whiskey and moonshine samplings as well. Copper Run Distillery in Walnut Shade, MO offers free tours of their facilities throughout the day where you can sample some of the delicious moonshines and whiskeys made onsite. Smith Creek Moonshine at the Branson Landing is another place you can go for great tasting drinks made right here in the Ozarks. There is a restaurant inside and you can visit the bar area to sample the various flavors of moonshine such as salted caramel and strawberry shortcake.

Museums

Branson has several museums throughout town, headlined by ones such as the Titanic Museum and the Velvet Collection Celebrity Car Museum. However, unlike these, there are museums that charge no admission for you to enter and look around. Prehistoric Fossils in downtown Branson is fairly new to town, opening just this year. This attraction is free to visit but offers you the chance to purchase various prehistoric fossils, gems and educational items. Also downtown is the Branson Centennial Museum. The museum features intriguing artifacts related to Branson since the town’s incorporation in 1912. Displays rotate roughly every six to eight months, with exhibits often highlighting the roots of tourism and iconic Branson citizens such as the Herschends and Reishes.

Free Choose Branson Giveaways

One other way you can experience free activities in Branson is by entering the various contests put on by Choose Branson. Giveaways are always being promoted in the Choose Branson Monthly Newsletter and our social media pages. We currently have a White Water family four-pack giveaway happening on Facebook, and the Pack Your Bags to Branson Sweepstakes is on the website as well.

There is plenty to do in Branson, regardless of the price. If you want to pay the price of admission, the shows and attractions are well worth the fee. If you don’t, try any of the entertaining activities above and save some money in the process.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Most Instagramable Places in Branson

By: Michael Ayo and Kerry Pearson

Vacations are about creating memories, experiencing new things, and fun times with family and friends. One of the best ways to hold onto those beautiful moments is by snapping as many photos as you can along the way. Fortunately, when you vacation in Branson there are many great places for a photo op. We have compiled a list of the most Instagramable places for you to snap the perfect vacation photo next time you visit.

Branson Ferris Wheel

As one of the latest additions to the Branson skyline, the Branson Ferris Wheel and its night-time light show provide perfect chances for photo ops and a little romance.

Photo Credit: Beckie Fairchild and TGC Photography

Branson Landing

With several shopping and dining locations and a $7.5 million water, fire, light and music fountain show, there are more than enough opportunities to snap an Instagram-worthy photo at the Landing.

Photo Credit: Branson Landing

Branson’s Promised Land Zoo

As Branson’s only outdoor zoo, Promised Land Zoo gives guests the chance to mingle with animals and bottle feed some of the cutest babies you will ever see; something definitely worth bragging about on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Promised Land Zoo

Cakes-N-Creams 50’s Diner

One of the few places in town that will make you feel as if you’ve travelled back in time, Cakes-N-Creams offers great photo ops with even better desserts.

Dessert at Cakes-N-Creams 50’s Diner. #springbreak #choosebranson #funnelcake #jukebok

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Photo Credit: Choose Branson

Celebrity Car Museum

Whether you want to go inside the museum or just check out the amazing cars out front, the Celebrity Car Museum includes iconic cars to pose with and you’ll definitely want to share those photos on social media.

Mater made for a happy boy! #celebritycarmuseum #explorebranson

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Photo Credit: Candance Crocker

Chopper Charter Branson

After seeing Branson from the ground level, take a ride on a Chopper Charter helicopter where you can see sight such as the Table Rock Dam and Silver Dollar City, and head bang with your pilot.

Photo Credit: Chopper Charter Branson

Dogwood Canyon

Not technically within the Branson city limits, Dogwood Canyon still entices many visitors to take a hike and check out the natural beauty onsite.

walked 7 miles & almost died of dehydration, but the view it was for made it worth it

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Photo Credit: Hannah Williams

Dixie Stampede

Dolly Parton guarantees the “Dixie Stampede” show is the most fun place to eat, and the stables that line the building are great for visiting the horses and capturing some Instagramable memories.

#DixieStampede #ChooseBranson #Cousins

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Photo Credit: Kerry Pearson

Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area

Another wonderful spot to take a hike, Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area features many scenic views and a number of great spots to relax and take a photo.

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Photo Credit: Robert Vonch

Parades in Branson

If there’s one thing Branson is known for besides its shows, it’s parades. One of the best and most popular parades to share with your Instagram following is the Veterans Day parade in November.

Parade ready. ❤️🇺🇸💙😍#veteransday #parade #choosebranson

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Photo Credit: Kerry Pearson

Showboat Branson Belle

Table Rock Lake is Instagram-worthy alone. Add the Showboat Branson Belle to the picture and it’s an absolute must-post.

Photo Credit: Silver Dollar City Attractions

Sight and Sound Theatre

Performing shows such as “Moses” and “Miracle of Christmas,” the Sight and Sound Theatre is a beautiful location with incredibly detailed statues worth capturing in a photo.

Enjoying the show!

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Photo Credit: Kerry Pearson

Silver Dollar City

As one of Branson’s most popular attractions, Silver Dollar City is a must-visit while in town and there are several spots to stop at to snap a photo.

Don’t miss the opening ceremony during Spring Ride Days– you might get a special surprise, as well as a hug from Lucky!

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Photo Credit: Silver Dollar City Attractions

Titanic

Towering high above Highway 76, the Titanic Museum and its grand staircase are definitely worth posting to Instagram.

Photo Credit: Titanic Museum

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Drive, Float and Fly in Branson

By: Kerry Pearson

When vacationing to Branson, chances are you haven’t fully seen the beautiful landscape of the Ozarks or some of the local’s favorite spots in the area. After you have seen the shows, take some time to go exploring around the area in a fun, new way.

If you enjoy beautiful scenery and unique experiences, then taking a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway is a perfect addition to your Branson vacation. While onboard one of the many passenger cars, you will travel through the Ozark Mountains and witness some of the most incredible views the area has to offer. The 45-minute trip carries passengers from Branson down into northern Arkansas, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

One of the newest, yet more luxurious ways to see Branson is with VIP Tours of Branson. If you are interested in seeing something specific then you will be pleased with one of the four tour options offered with VIP Tours of Branson. From the “Discover Branson Tour” to “Branson Christmas Lights Tour,” you are sure to have a great experience onboard the Mercedes Sprinter Coach with the knowledgeable tour guide showing you around town. When meeting with your guide, be sure to tell him Choose Branson sent you!

If you want to see Branson from the air, book a tour with Chopper Charter Branson. Seeing your favorite vacation spot from high above is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for anyone. At Chopper Charter Branson you can enjoy a comfortable ride in the luxury of the six-seat Bell 206L jet powered helicopter. Depending on what you want to see, you are able to customize a tour or choose from one of the five tour packages offered. As with VIP Tours, be sure to tell Chopper Charters that Choose Branson sent you over!

Get the best of both land and water with a Ride the Ducks tour. This attraction is a popular one among visitors in Branson. During the 70-minute ride you will see the Ozarks like never before. From driving up a mountain to cruising around Table Rock Lake, this tour covers it all. Something that makes this tour unique is the captain of each duck. Not only will you be entertained by all you see during the tour, but the stories and interaction from the captain is something that is guaranteed to never be forgotten.

Another fun way to see Branson from the water is with a cruise on Lake Taneycomo. Main Street Lake Cruises offers sightseeing tours of downtown Branson. Choose between cruises onboard the historic Lake Queen Paddleboat or the Landing Princess, a 100-foot luxury yacht. Both cruises feature an informative guide to point out Branson’s historical facts and sights along the way.

A fun way to see historic Branson is by taking a ride on Sparky the Branson Trolley. There are 13 stops around the downtown Branson area. The total time for the trolley to make stops at all 13 locations is about 45-minutes. This is a fun way to see the historic part of Branson. If you want to take the trolley to specific locations in the downtown area, you can do that as well.

Try something new next time you visit Branson. There is so much to see and discover even for those who have visited year after year. Whichever sightseeing tour you choose to go with is sure to create memories to last a lifetime.

Valentine’s Day Activities in Branson

By: Michael Ayo

Just because you’re on vacation in Branson doesn’t mean Valentine’s Day has to be any less romantic or meaningful. While February may seem to be in the “offseason” of entertainment in Branson, there are still plenty of great Valentine’s activities to try out along with a few shows to see.

Spa Treatments

One of the most relaxing and romantic ways to spend Valentine’s Day is with a couples massage. Several places around Branson offer a number of different spa services and packages, depending on what you are looking for. Spa O2 on Highway 165 and Spa Chateau at Chateau on the Lake are two of the more popular places to visit, though others such as Body Works Day Spa on Green Mountain Drive and City Spatique Day Spa on Shepherd of the Hills are great too.

Shopping

Aside from the shows and attractions, Branson’s shopping is one of the biggest draws to the town. Whether you want designer clothing, outlet store prices or handcrafted works of art, there are stores to satisfy all your needs in Branson. While it may lack in romance, spending the day shopping is still an acceptable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The Branson Landing has several great shops to browse through, and the same can be said for the Grand Village.

From Feb. 7 through Valentine’s Day, Tanger Outlets will be having their “Share the Love at Tanger Outlets” event where you could have a shot to win multiple prizes. Shopping during this week gives you a chance to win a $1,400 Yves Delorme luxury bedding set and a $500 Tanger shopping spree. There will also be a “Tanger Share the Love” team walking throughout the mall giving out random prizes to lucky recipients. The final way to win a great prize during this week is by visiting the Tanger Facebook page and sharing #TangerLove with your friends to enter you in daily prize giveaways. For more information on the “Share the Love at Tanger Outlets” event, visit tangeroutlet.com.

Shows

While a vast majority of theaters are still on vacation for the season, two shows will be hosting special Valentine’s Day performances. The Hughes Brothers Theatre will be hosting their “It Celebrates Valentine’s Day Show,” complete with a renewing of vows and a free memory portrait taken. When you buy your tickets, you have the option of adding a candlelight dinner at the theatre before the show with flowers, romantic music and a classic romance movie.

Another show happening on the weekend before Valentine’s Day is “Elvis Live!” at the God and Country Theatres. The first of the special shows will take place on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. with the “Elvis Live! Aloha from Hawaii” show. Jerry Presley will be reenacting his cousin’s classic performance that was broadcasted via satellite on April 4, 1973. The second will be on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. in the form of “Elvis Live! Madison Square Garden.” This reenactment will be of Elvis recording his live musical album at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 1972.

If neither of these shows interest you, you can never go wrong gifting tickets in advance to your significant other whenever their favorite show opens for the 2017 season.

Titanic Museum

Grand gestures are welcomed on Valentine’s Day, and if you are looking to make one this year then the Titanic Museum can help with that. February is Sweetheart Month at the Titanic and you can make reservations for a grand gesture on their Grand Staircase. Whether it is a proposal, engagement photos, a wedding or vow renewals, all can be performed at this attraction. There are also plenty of great gifts to pick up for your sweetheart inside the gift shop that include jewelry and perfumes.

Dining

When all else fails, you can never go wrong taking your Valentine out for a nice dinner. There are several fine dining restaurants in Branson to visit on Valentine’s Day, and you are almost guaranteed to find one that matches your taste. Dobyns Dining Room at the Keeter Center and Level 2 Steakhouse are having special Valentine’s Day menus, and others such as Saltgrass Steakhouse offer a fine, quaint atmosphere you are sure to love.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, just about anything you decide to do will be appreciated by your significant other as long as you put some thought and effort into it. If you are falling short of ideas while in Branson on Feb. 14, try one of the above activities to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Explore the Ozark Caves

By: Michael Ayo

The vast Ozark landscape is filled with many explored, and perhaps unexplored, caves. With all the shows and attractions constantly running in Branson, it may be easy to forget about the beautiful cave tours offered in the Branson area. There are three caves in particular that offer tours throughout most or the entire year.

Perhaps one of the most visited caves in Branson belongs within its most popular attraction. Silver Dollar City’s Marvel Cave actually predates the theme park, and is one of the first attractions to bring visitors to the area. With Silver Dollar City actually built around Marvel Cave, cave tours are complimentary with the price of admission to the park and operates around the same schedule.

A tour through this cave is approximately 60 minutes, and is considered strenuous for some. There are 600 steps to climb, but those who do will see sights such as the Cathedral Room which is the largest cave entrance in the United States. This wet limestone cave also features the Mammoth Room, which is a large cave room located to the right of the guest trail, along with a bat wall and a Spanish ladder left behind circa 1541.

One of the most intriguing caves to explore in the Ozarks resides at Top of the Rock, just south of Branson. Titled the Lost Canyon Cave, here you can enjoy a beautiful two and a half mile journey through the cave aboard an electric cart where you will get glimpses at dramatic natural rock formations and waterfalls as you pass over Amish bridges.

For the adults, Lost Canyon Cave is also home to the Bat Bar near the waterfalls where you can be served specialty drinks such as the signature John L’s Lemonade. Cave tours begin daily at 10 a.m. and run through one hour before sunset, weather permitting. The Bat Bar is open seasonally, starting at 11 a.m. each morning. Tickets for the tours are $20 for adults, $10 for children 4 years to 12, and children 3 and under are complimentary.

One other cave residing in the Ozarks is Talking Rocks Cavern. This cave is open year-round, and sits at a comfortable 62 degrees no matter the season. The cave is vertical in nature, but features concrete steps and handrails for people of all ages to walk on while touring. The cave tour is approximately one hour and guests learn all about the history and discovery of Talking Rocks. Tours begin at 9:30 a.m. on weekdays and run through 5 p.m., and go from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Aside from being educated, people touring can see beautiful rock formations along with glistening crystals throughout. Once the tour is complete and you are back outside, Talking Rocks also has a mini golf course for you to enjoy at an additional cost. Tickets are $17.95 for ages 13 and up, $9.95 for children ages 4 to 12, and ages 3 and under are free. Mini golf is $7 for adults and $5 for children, though discounts are offered for those who tour the cave as well.

There are so many outdoor activities to experience in Branson, sometimes it may be hard to decide what to do. If you enjoy exploring and seeing beautiful rock formations, touring caves is just for you. You can’t go wrong with any of these three caves, and each has additional activities to try out along with their tours.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Branson’s Christmas Openings

By: Michael Ayo

Christmas in Branson is one of the most anticipated times of the year. The world-renowned “An Old Time Christmas” festival is happening at Silver Dollar City, several theaters have their own holiday shows, and there is more than enough shopping to be had leading up to the holiday. If you find yourself on vacation in Branson this Christmas, it may be helpful to know what shows and attractions are open for the holiday.

Shows

The following is a list of shows performing their regular or holiday/Christmas shows on Dec. 25, 2016.

– Acrobats of China at Yakov Theatre
          ~ Show plays at 3 and 8 p.m.
 Amazing Pets at Grand Country Music Hall
Show plays at 3 and 7 p.m.
 Doo-Wop and the Drifters at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
          ~ Show plays at 2 p.m.
 Motown Downtown at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
          ~ Show plays at 7 p.m.

Attractions

The following is a list of attractions open on Dec. 25, 2016.

 Branson Zipline
          ~ Certain zip lines and tours available throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
 Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center
          ~ Opens at 10 a.m.
 Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights Drive-Thru will be open, but the Christmas Village will not.
~ Drive-Thru will open at 5:30 p.m.
 Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights
          ~ Opens at dusk (5:03 p.m. according to weather.com)

No matter what you decide to do, Christmas is always a wonderful holiday. That statement is especially true if you celebrate it in Branson. After all the presents have been unwrapped and the wonderful holiday meals have been consumed, make sure to go check out some of these great shows and attractions open on Christmas Day.

Branson Christmas Trees

By: Michael Ayo

Photo opportunities are plentiful around the Ozarks and that is especially true during the holiday season. Christmas lights are everywhere and decorations line the buildings along every road. When it comes to Christmas, Branson goes all out. This is evident by the number of Christmas trees located throughout town. If you want a one of a kind photo opportunity to preserve wonderful memories of vacationing to Branson, be sure to snap a picture in front of one of the Christmas trees around town.

Branson Convention Center

One place to check out for a great Christmas tree picture would be the Branson Convention Center in downtown Branson. Aside from hosting any kind of event imaginable in the Ozarks, the Convention Center is home to a 40-foot tall Christmas tree located inside their lobby.

Branson Ferris Wheel

The Branson Ferris Wheel actually has two different photo ops with Christmas trees. The first, and by far biggest, is the Christmas tree that appears on the side of the ferris wheel several times a night through their LED light display. The other is an actual Christmas tree rather than a massive one made of LED lights. This tree is located just to the right of the gateway you enter to ride the ferris wheel.

Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex

If you are up for catching a movie or a show in the Little Opry Theatre while on vacation, you may want to grab a photo with the IMAX Entertainment Complex’s Christmas tree as well. The decorative tree stands tall in their lobby just as you enter the complex.

Branson Landing

One of Branson’s most popular shopping centers is also home to one of the most photogenic trees in the Ozarks. The Branson Landing has their Christmas tree located across from the fountains, standing a whopping 65 feet tall. Right below the tree is Santa’s workshop where kids can grab a photo with jolly St. Nick after snapping one in front of the tree.

Dixie Stampede

Dolly Parton’s well-known dinner attraction, “Dixie Stampede,” possesses a fairly large Christmas tree they place just outside the entrance to the building. As you walk along the stables checking out the horses that star in the show, be sure to stop and admire the beautifully decorated tree outside.

Downtown Branson Roundabout

If you have exited off Highway 65 and turned toward downtown Branson, odds are you have traveled through the roundabout that leads to Skaggs Road, Veterans Boulevard and Branson Landing Boulevard. A trip that may be dizzy to some is lit up with beautiful Christmas lights during the holiday season due to the 80-foot tree in the middle of the roundabout. While it may be difficult to approach this tree on foot for a picture, it is still a wonderful sight to see.

The Grand Village Shops

Another popular shopping center in Branson, the Grand Village Shops is home to the largest Christmas store in the state of Missouri, Kringles Christmas Shop. This store is filled with a wide variety of decorations along with themed Christmas trees. After you see everything inside, go outside and view the 14-foot tree the Shops has on display near the road.

Silver Dollar City

When speaking about Christmas in Branson, it is practically impossible to not mention Silver Dollar City. As one of the most popular attractions in town and a nationally recognized theme park, Silver Dollar City is home to over 5 million Christmas lights and 1,000 decorated trees. At the heart of their decorations is a five-story special effects Christmas tree that is constantly changing colors.

Theaters and Attractions Around Town

There are plenty of Christmas trees around town that will not cost you a dime to see, but Branson’s theaters know how to decorate for the holidays as well. Most people come to the live music capital of the universe to see just that; some fantastic live music. Once you see a show at any number of theaters around Branson, be sure to make time to see all the Christmas trees and decorations each individual theater has made time to put up. If you are visiting an attraction, various places have specially themed trees such as the Butterfly Palace and their poinsettia tree.

 

tree-map

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

Branson’s Thanksgiving Openings

By: Michael Ayo

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year. Whether you get excited for the food, family, entertainment or the conclusion of the holiday in order to start decorating for Christmas, there is so much to anticipate on Nov. 24. If you find yourself vacationing to Branson during Thanksgiving this year, it may be helpful to know what shows, attractions and shops are open for the holiday.

Shows

The following is a list of shows performing their regular or holiday/Christmas shows on Nov. 24, 2016.

– Acrobats of China at Yakov Theatre
– Amazing Pets at Grand Country Music Hall
– Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center
– Carpenters Once More at the Historic Owen Theatre
– Christmas on the Trail at Shepherd of the Hills
– Crazy ‘Bout Patsy and Other Country Legends at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
– Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
– The Duttons at the Dutton Family Theater
– George Strait Country at the Little Opry Theatre
– Grand Jubilee at Grand Country Music Hall
– Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show at Hamners’ Variety Theater
– Hank Williams Revisited at the Historic Owen Theatre
– The Haygoods at the Clay Cooper Theatre
– Hughes Brothers We’re Thankful for You at the Hughes Brothers Theatre
– Hypnolarious at the Lodge of the Ozarks Crystal Theatre
– The Legend of Kungfu: Return of the Dragon at the White House Theatre
– Legends in Concert at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater
– The Lettermen at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center
– Maxine’s Christmas Carol at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center
– Million Dollar Quartet at the Welk Resort Theatre
– Motown Downtown at the Branson Hot Hits Theatre
– A Neil Diamond Tribute at the Historic Owen Theatre
– New Jersey Nights at King’s Castle Theatre
– Pierce Arrow at the Pierce Arrow Theatre
– Puttin’ on the Ritz at King’s Castle Theatre
– REZA: Edge of Illusion at the Starlite Theatre
– Sanders Family Christmas at the Little Opry Theatre
– Shoji Tabuchi at the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre
– Showboat Branson Belle
– A Tribute to John Denver at the Little Opry Theatre
– A Tribute to Marty Robbins at the Little Opry Theatre
– Twice Adopted at Hamners’ Variety Theater

Attractions

The following is a list of attractions open on Nov. 24, 2016.

– Adventure Ziplines of Branson
– Branson Dinosaur Museum
– Branson Promised Land Zoo
– Branson Zipline
– Branson’s Wild World
– Hollywood Wax Museum
– National Tiger Sanctuary
– Ripley’s Believe it or Not
– Silver Dollar City
– Talking Rocks Cavern
– Titanic Museum
– Velvet Collection Celebrity Car Museum
– Veterans Memorial Museum
– World’s Largest Toy Museum
– Xtreme Racing

Shopping

Branson’s most popular shopping centers will also have special hours for the evening of Thanksgiving leading into the early morning of Black Friday. The Branson Landing will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving Day and their Black Friday Blowout event will start at 7 a.m. the next day.

Tanger Outlets will also be having their Moonlight Madness sale beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This will last all through the night and into Black Friday, finally closing at a later time, 10 p.m., on Friday night.

Whether it’s a show, attraction or some shopping, there are plenty of places to check out this Thanksgiving. Be sure to take advantage of everything that’s open for the holiday this year.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.

5 of the Best Free Christmas Activities in Branson

By: Michael Ayo

Vacations can be tough on a bank account, especially if you are vacationing during the holiday season. While Branson is one of the most affordable vacation destinations in the country, your wallet can still take a hit while paying for lodging, food and activities. This Christmas, educate yourself on five of the best free activities in Branson during the holiday season so you can have an entertaining, yet affordable, vacation.

Kringles Christmas Shop

Sometimes window shopping is just as fun as going on a shopping spree, and there is no better place in town to check out everything Christmas related than Kringles Christmas Shop. Kringles is the largest Christmas store in the state of Missouri, and features an incredible collection of Christmas decorations including 125 designer-decorated themed trees. While it is plenty of fun checking out all the various ornaments and trees, it is pretty hard to leave the store without buying at least one thing.

See the Lights

The holiday season is a big deal in Branson. Practically every theater unveils some sort of Christmas show, which means their venue is maxed out with Christmas decorations. One great family-bonding activity to try out this season is cruising Highway 76 at night with the family to see the best and brightest Christmas lights the theaters have to offer. You can also visit popular shopping centers such as the Branson Landing and Grand Village Shops for views of colorful lights and decorated Christmas trees. If those aren’t enough, stop by Shepherd of the Hills for a photo op with their lights or drive through downtown Branson to see their festive tree and decorations.

Visit Branson’s Santas

One of the most enjoyable things about the Christmas season is seeing the look on a kid’s face when he or she gets to meet Santa. Santa Claus will be in various spots throughout the Ozarks during the holiday season, and it is always great fun taking the little ones to visit with him. The Branson Landing will have Santa visiting from Nov. 12 through Dec. 24 inside their “Christmas Treehouse.” Bass Pro Shops at the Landing will also have Santa visiting during those same dates along with holiday-themed games and crafts. Lastly, the aforementioned Kringles Christmas Shop will have Santa in store Wednesdays through Sundays during the holiday season and he will be accompanied by live Christmas music.

Holiday Parades

Another free activity you can take part in this holiday season is one of the two Christmas parades in Branson. The Most Wonderful Time of Year Parade is the first to take place, happening at the Branson landing on Nov. 19. It will start at 10 a.m. and begins at the north end of the Landing, near the Belk Department Store. The parade will travel the length of the outdoor mall, ending at Bass Pro Shops. It will feature Branson stars such as Clay Cooper, the Hughes BrothersOsmondsDuttons and many more. Mayor Karen Best will also be a part of the parade along with its grand marshal, Mel Tillis.

The 68th annual Adoration Parade will occur a few weeks later, on Dec. 4. This parade through downtown Branson will start at 6 p.m. with the lighting of the area’s largest nativity scene then follow with a number of beautifully decorated Christmas floats from Branson locals. There are not many activities more joyous and fun than the annual Adoration Parade.

Electrify Christmas Light Show

The Branson Ferris Wheel is one of the newest and most exciting attractions in town. Brought in from Chicago’s Navy Pier this summer by the Track Family Fun Parks, the wheel will be electrified by colorful lights to the tune of holiday music every night during the holiday season. The free show will take place at 9, 10 and 10:55 p.m. each night. If you want a great seat while enjoying a delicious holiday dessert, Andy’s Frozen Custard offers up-close views of the ferris wheel.

Holiday shows and Silver Dollar City are on most people’s to-do list when vacationing to Branson during the Christmas season. If you’re looking for something more economical, or just need to pass the time between other scheduled events, be sure to check out these five free activities this Christmas.

Article courtesy of ChooseBranson.com.