All Posts in Category: Branson Missouri

Veterans Events 2017

Branson Homecoming Week: Veterans Events 2017

Branson is home to America’s largest annual celebration honoring America’s veterans and active military servicemen and women of all service branches.

Every year, thousands of veterans and active military personnel unite in Branson where the entire community participates in giving back to those who serve. With the core value of patriotism supporting the foundation of the municipal Community Plan 2030, visitors find a variety of exhibits throughout the city demonstrating our commitment to honor those who serve and protect our homeland.

The annual Veterans Week celebration in Branson draws thousands of veterans where they participate in a multitude of events, reunions, parades and special recognition ceremonies across the Ozarks. From the Veteran’s Memorial Gardens where the City of Branson in partnership with Silver Dollar City and memorial founder Ben Kimmel placed a 12-man military statue to demonstrate our gratitude to those who fought for our freedom in Vietnam, to the newly completed ‘Liberty Plaza’ city park in Historic Downtown Branson that pays tribute to all military branches throughout its landscape; the Missouri Veterans Memorial located on the campus of College of the Ozarks to the Veterans Memorial Museum that proudly displays more than 2,000 artifacts dating back to WW1 along with its newest exhibit – the very Huey UH-1C Huey Gunship (endearingly named ‘The Bandit’ by its pilot) that was flown with the 118th Thunderbirds during Vietnam – and displays more than 2,000 artifacts and combat icons dating back to World War 1; or the demonstration of American pride wherein Veterans are openly recognized and saluted by entertainers and audiences throughout the entertainment district and at special flag-raising ceremonies at Silver Dollar City Attractions, to the gathering of thousands of spectators and participants during the Veterans Day Parade held every November 11 at 11:00AM.

According to Tom Newman, Chief Operating Officer of Summer Winds Resorts, LLC, “It is the mutual duty, honor and privilege of our city to maintain awareness of the courage and bravery of America’s defenders – our stewards of freedom. We are committed to continuing to recognize those who gave all, and those who place their lives on the line to protect the rights we enjoy as American citizens.” Beginning November 5 and running through November 11, our Veterans and active military personnel will once again have the opportunity to participate in a multitude of events designed especially to honor the work of these heroes. Ballparks of America is the new home of the annual Veterans Village where our military guests will enjoy the outpouring of Ozark Mountain hospitality including food, shopping, reunions and special ceremonies in their honor where Branson residents and businesses serve those who currently serve or have served our great country. Literally everywhere you go in Branson, you will find that citizens of Branson are dedicated to encourage and foster patriotism and provide recognition to all Veterans for their courage and willingness to serve.

We’ve compiled a schedule of events taking place across the community and invite all visitors to participate. Stormy Point Village and Choose Branson continue to also do their part to honor our Veterans with special discounts and events which can be found on Facebook at Facebook.com/StormyPointVillage and Facebook.com/Choose.Branson.  Check back often as new events and stories covering Veterans Week 2017 will be updated regularly!

 

VETERANS WEEK 2017 (see entire schedule of events here)

 

Fourth Annual Trout Tournament  (October 28)

Located at Scotty’s Trout Dock & Marina http://www.scottystroutdock.com/, grab a buddy and get your lines in the water. The tournament, which is sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America, will have cash prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams.

Vets for Vets Celebration (November 5)

This free event is at the Mansion Theatre located at 189 Expressway Lane. It is a special 2 pm show where no ticket it required. Donations are appreciated.

Opening Ceremony of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (November 6)

This ceremony, which begins at 10 am, will make a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial available to the public. The wall will be located at the Welk Resort during the Homecoming Celebration and will include more than 58,000 names.

Vietnam Era Reunion (November 6)

The Clay Cooper Theater will host this special reunion event. Tickets for the 10 am Hot Rods and High Heels Show will reserve a spot for lunch and an afternoon show as well.

Flag Raising and Wreath Laying Ceremony (November 10)

The College of the Ozarks will host a special Flag Raising and Wreath Laying Ceremony near the Williams Memorial Chapel at sunrise.

Veterans Day Parade (November 11)

The parade through the heart of downtown Branson will begin at 11 am. Make sure to show up early and find a good spot. Organizations are welcome to participate in the event, please contact the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913 to get set up.

We hope to see you in Branson during Veterans Week. While you are here make sure to say thank you and shake the hand of those who served to protect this great country.

 

@ChooseBranson

Hitting for Heroes

Benefit the Badge Softball Tournament

By: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

This Sunday – October 15, 2017 – show your support for the Branson area law enforcement agencies.

Teams from Branson West, Branson, along with Taney and Stone County will meet at the Ballparks of America for the Benefit the Badge “Hitting for Heroes Fall Classic” softball tournament. The first game is at 1:00 PM on the Chicago field with Branson West facing Branson. At 2:30 PM the Taney and Stone County teams will square off, also on the Chicago field.

The series’ championship game will be at 4:00 PM on the St. Louis field. Have the entire family with you to help support this great event. There will be inflatables set up for kids (there is a small charge for inflatables), as well as food from Big BBQ Boyz.

Benefit the Badge’s goal is to “ensure local law enforcement agencies have the tools they need” and “serves as an example of how to honor law enforcement.” If you would like more information you can check out Benefit the Badge on their official website here  and on Facebook here.

Benefit the Badge

Official poster for the Hitting for Heroes Softball Tournament

Ballparks of America

Ballparks of America Voted One of America’s Must See Complexes

SportsEvents Magazine polled their readers and Facebook followers to vote for the top “American Ballparks Every Planner Must See”. A list of 28 baseball and softball fields and facilities was narrowed down to nine top complexes across the country.

Ballparks of America

Team prepares for play at Ballparks of America

“These nine ballparks are shining stars that make players and their families feel like they’ve been sent up to the big leagues.”

Branson’s “Ballparks of America” came in number four on SportsEvents Magazine’s list. The top three spots went to Elizabethtown Sports Park in Elizabethtown, KY (1), Choccolocca Park in Oxford, AL (2) and Youngsville Sports Complex in Youngsville, LA (3). At number four it shows you the impression the Ballparks of America has made in a short time.

The complex has been open for just over a year, hosting its inaugural game on July 7, 2016. It offers players and parents an experience unlike any other. With 2/3 scale replicas of iconic ballparks from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York and St. Louis it definitely delivers the big league atmosphere. The complex is equipped with big league suites that house teams during their tournament weeks.

Since its opening Ballparks of America has received glowing reveiws, like this one on the official Facebook page:
“We brought our U12 FirstStrike Baseball team from Orlando, FL and they had a blast. We
were able to play eight games, hit up the water park, Silver Dollar City and some go-carts on the
strip. We had a couple of kids that have been to Cooperstown (home of the Major League
Baseball Hall of Fame) and they said they enjoyed this just as much if not more.”

With its growing reputation not only is Ballparks of America sure to climb to the top of lists such as the SportsEvents Magazine’s “American Ballparks Every Planner Must See”, but it is yet another reason why Branson continues to be one of America’s top family destinations.

Ballparks Interview Ext from Choose Branson on Vimeo.

Fall Scene

Fall Foliage: 2017 Fall Drive in Ozark Mountain Country

Do you ever feel the need to just get out and drive? I’m talking about rolling down the windows, putting on some good music, and taking off with no real place to go. Autumn in Branson is a great time to cruise.

Taking in the Ozarks scenery during the fall season is a great way to spend a part of any day. If you are considering taking a tour through Ozark Mountain country, then allow us to suggest a route that is sure to please.

Fall Drive

2017 Choose Branson Fall drive map route

·         Begin at Stormy Point Village

·         At the corner of Stormy Point Road and Hwy 265 take a right on Hwy 265

·         Just after Chateau on the Lake, take a right and stay on 265 until it connects with the 265/165 intersection. Take a right to stay on 265 until you reach Hwy 65

·         Turn right onto Hwy 65 South,  exit right to Hwy 86 near Top of the Rock

·         Follow 86 until it connects with Hwy 13 in Blue Eye, take a right onto 13

·         Continue on 13, you witll go over the Kimberling City bridge and finally into Branson West

·          Turn right at the Hwy 76 Junction. Stay on 76 until you reach Ozark Mountain Highroad/465 and take a left at the traffic light

·         Stay on 465 until you reach the Hwy 248 exit and take a right. Stay on 248 until you reach the junction for Shepherd of the Hills Expy and make a right

·         Stay on this road until you reach Hwy 265, take a right at the light and then an immediate left to return to Stormy Point Village.

Choose Branson Remembers the Events of September 11, 2001

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.

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!

 

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 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.