Finding its beginning in the Texas Panhandle, the popularity of the chuck wagon spread across the Old West like a wild fire as it became known as a means to fellowship over the food cooked over an open fire.
Cowboy cooking is an American tradition that has slowly dwindled into our past as America has advanced into new technological horizons. However, Kent Rollins and wife Shannon work to preserve the tradition one cooking demonstration at a time.
Featured on many top-performing Food Network shows like “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay”, “Chopped Grill Masters”, “Chopped Redemption” and “Cutthroat Kitchen”, Rollins maintains an undefeated record on NBC’s “Food Fighters”. Visitors to Ozark Mountain Country can now enjoy the culinary mastery of Rollins up close and personal at the Silver Dollar City National Crafts & Cowboy Festival where the couple will be whipping up many of their favorite dishes through the end of October.
Throughout the demonstration of the chuckwagon, Kent Rollins shares the history of each meal as he prepares it. His stories reflect the historical past of ranchers and cowpokes when they roamed the range. It is no wonder that Rollins has earned the “Best Cowboy Humorist” and “Storyteller of the Year” awards by the Academy of Western Artists.
The team at Choose Branson recently visited Rollins as he performed a demonstration in which he prepared his famous bread pudding and shared the story of the dish that inspired its creation which can be seen in our video here.
You don’t want to miss the classic opportunity to enjoy some great down home cooking while reliving America’s past in Branson this month. So get out your hats, boots and denims and visit ChooseBranson.com to purchase tickets to the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival. While there, you may also book your lodging, and find special deals throughout the season to make your trip a “YEEHAW” blast!
Silver Dollar City’s favorite festival is back and better than ever in 2017.
The National Crafts & Cowboy Festival is now taking place through October 28. Choose Branson was able to check out what is new this season and what makes this festival one of the favorites for guests and SDC employees alike.
When you first enter the park you will notice an unique piece of Silver Dollar City history. An original stagecoach that was purchased in 1960 has made its return to the property. It has undergone a detailed restoration process. The story behind the coach is displayed and visitors have the chance to learn about its past only during the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival.
Just beyond the stagecoach is the Silver Dollar City town square. Here you will find the “Best of Missouri Hands” proudly on display. Throughout the year SDC is home to 100 different craftsmen regularly. During the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival that number more than doubles. Vendors display their goods and demonstrate their skills on-site. You will find a wide array of products in the square, but there are plenty more throughout the entire park.
Like the Cowboy Emporium at the Frisco Freight Company. The art included in this exhibit is completely western inspired. From horseshoe art, antler baskets and photos of iconic figures of the American West this is the place for any Old West enthusiast to visit. You will also find Native American art at the Cowboy Emporium as well.
Get your tickets for the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival at ChooseBranson.com and see for yourself why fall in the Ozarks is the perfect time to visit Silver Dollar City.
While September 11, 2001 grows deeper into history over time, our attachment to that day grows stronger as we seek to never forget the events that strengthened the bonds to further unite America’s people. To some, the War on Terror is very personal as they recall media coverage, personal experiences or perhaps even lost a loved one on that day. Today’s younger generations, on the other hand may only be familiar through conversation that takes place at the dinner table among their parents and grandparents. At the age of 19 on September 11, 2001, however, my personal recollection of that day reflects the routine of a college student but has transitioned to a personal mission to exhibit my commitment to patriotism.
I can vividly remember walking into the dorm’s lounge and seeing the images of buildings in New York with smoke rolling out of them. I remember trying to get filled in as quickly as possible as to what was happening. As a 19 year old kid, while I knew this event was a big deal, I’m not sure that I fully understood the importance of what was happening at that moment, and routinely went about my day…I still went to classes and my campus job; my day did not stand still.
Time has allowed the emotion to sink in, however, and having friends who now serve as one of Branson’s hometown defenders, their pledge to serve and protect the community in which I am now raising my own children.
Matt Eaves, my friend and former classmate at College of the Ozarks, is now a Branson Fire & Rescue engineer. Matt and I initially met at the College of the Ozarks firehouse where he was studying to become a firefighter some day. He remembers going to class that morning to find everyone huddled around a computer to watch the events unfolded over national television.
“It was kind of weird. I hadn’t been in the fire service that long; I didn’t have a huge connection to it yet. So the actual events on that particular day were not as big of a deal as it has become to me now.”
“Being around the fire service as long as I have, it (9/11) really becomes emotional… what we say in the fire service world is to ‘not forget’ says Eaves. The Branson Fire Department goes the extra mile to ensure its service men and women never forget. On Thursday, they added a name of one of their fellow firefighters from 9-11 onto their riding board to carry with them throughout the day. “We carry their memories with us, especially this month. “
“For me, the experience of 9/11 has changed from the time it happened – especially after being a part of the fire service for 16 years since then.”
One person who was already well entrenched in the fire service during the events of September 11, 2001 was Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin. Martin said in an interview, “On September 11, we were staffed here at the fire station and saw the first impact on television. As we were watching that news story develop it was obvious that the country was under attack. We were a thousand miles away and loaded with firefighters who were ready to go, but we still had a community to serve.”
“We could hear the personal safety devices that were worn by firefighters in the background [of the news report] going off. We knew there were a lot of injured firefighters. That was hard to listen to here, locally. It was one big challenge to be sitting this far away and not be able to do anything about it, but to simply focus on our brothers and sisters in the fire service and emergency service,” added Chief Martin.
Taking the time to focus on those who were directly impacted by this national tragedy is something that Branson takes very seriously. College of the Ozarks is home to the September 11 “Lest We Forget Memorial” which includes one of the last remaining remnants of the World Trade Center, which is part of their memorial. Marci Linson who is the Deans of Admissions at the college is also the Vice President of Patriotic Activities and shared her memories of that day: “I was working in the admissions office and one of my colleagues on campus called and said ‘have you seen the news?’ It all unfolded from there. I remember being very, very frightened because we didn’t know what was going on.”
While Matt and myself where students at College of the Ozarks at that time, students enrolled there today ranged in age of two to four years old. They know about what happened, but its impact may not be the same. It is the goal of Linson and the college to make sure that they understand the emotion involved.
“As I oversee Patriotic Activities that include special events and ceremonies, we make sure that we remember 9/11 every year. Of course the college has made it a priority to honor 9/11 heroes every year; we are blessed with the opportunity to handle it. We have children from daycare all the way up through college. It’s not just about remembering – it’s about making sure the younger generations know. We want them to know, even the hard things.”
These efforts not only reach the residents and visitors of Branson, but the local service men and women take notice as well. For those like Matt Eaves it is not taken for granted.
“With all of the different events and the media coverage, the general feeling of Branson residents and visitors is that you’re always getting a ‘thanks for your service’ and ‘Thank You’. We had a lady come up to us the other day, very emotional, saying thank you about a call we ran – not even our crew but one of the crews in Branson – that basically saved her life. “
“It’s not even just about the firefighters or the emergency responders; it is about all of the people that passed away that day. I think Branson does a good job at remembering and honoring their memories. I appreciate the different events and lengths the different businesses and organizations go to, it is done very tastefully. It’s not a ‘Hey look at us’, it’s providing a venue to remember.”
Chief Martin seconds Eaves’ belief. “It [Branson] turned into a community that is really resilient in serving and working with other communities that were affected…and by remembering.”
This year Branson is proud to continue its tradition of honoring America’s heroes and hometown defenders. Throughout the month of September, all Fire & Rescue, EMT, law enforcement, active military personnel and veterans will receive free admission to Silver Dollar City, and half-price admission for their spouse. For the rest of us, I encourage all to join me in my challenge to take time to reflect and never forget.
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.
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.
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!
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 Ivan, Branson’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.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Not technically within the Branson city limits, Dogwood Canyon still entices many visitors to take a hike and check out the natural beauty onsite.
Photo Credit: Hannah Williams
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Photo Credit: Silver Dollar City Attractions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.