We just got back from a fantastic family trip to Branson, MO, and it reminded me of why my parents loved taking us there when we were kids! The good news: It’s an easy drive, and there’s tons more to do today than there was back when we were young.
Of course, Silver Dollar City is still one of the biggest family highlights of the entire trip. The kids loved the roller coasters (especially long-time fave Fire in the Hole), the water rides, and exploring Marvel Cave and the old-fashioned town within the theme park. But they had just as much fun chilling out while experiencing the steam engine train (complete with an old-fashioned train robbery attempt) and watching craftsmen, including a blacksmith, wood carver, glass blower, and weaver, show them how they hand-craft the things they make. They even got to try their hand at weaving a rug.
Our kids wanted to buy all the hand-crafted items for sale, but we handled that by giving each child a limited amount of money to spend on their own. It was a big lesson for both in budgeting their money.
There are rides for all ages at Silver Dollar City, so if you have younger kiddos, everyone can still have fun. The Grand Exposition and Fireman’s Landing both have plenty of rides and fun activities (including a gigantic “tree house”) for kids, and the calm water rides allow smaller ones who are accompanied by an adult.
- Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede: I wasn’t sure what to expect at this foot-stompin’ show, but it sure delivered! The show includes some amazing horsemanship, including trick riding, and a friendly competition among audience members. The family-friendly entertainment also includes music, dancing, comedy, and a pre-show juggling show. We’re not sure which our kids loved more: the trick riding or the fact that dinner is served chuck wagon style (no silverware), so they got to eat with their hands.
- Ride the Ducks Branson: Discover the Ozarks in this unusual road/lake tour. These military vehicles will take you right into the water for a historical look at Branson. We liked it because it was a relaxing way to see more of the natural beauty of Branson and Table Rock Lake.
- Table Rock Lake: Whether boating, fishing, camping, swimming, hiking, animal watching, or any other lake activity is your thing, Table Rock Lake is sure to have it. Spirit of America offers a great way to enjoy boating and swimming, but there are tons of other places around the lake offering boats, hiking trails and other things to explore.
- The Branson Strip: If you don’t enjoy nature, check out the hundreds of activities and restaurants on the strip in Branson. Miniature golf, shopping, Branson’s Wild World, arcades, Titanic Museum, bumper boats and dozens of live shows are just some of the things you’ll find to occupy your time on the strip.
On a final note: One of our kids has food allergies, and I was concerned about finding places he could eat in Branson. It turns out, I shouldn’t have worried. Everywhere we went, including Silver Dollar City and the Dixie Stampede, had great food options for all of us to enjoy.
I’d love to hear about some of your family’s favorite spots in Branson in the comments below!
Photos courtesy of Branson Tourism Center.