To me, Branson was where my family went to buy clothes in bulk before school started, occasionally taking a detour to an amusement park.
And I kinda thought it was lame.
It wasn’t until a friend from another state expressed her desire to travel to Branson that I began to reevaluate my perception. Suddenly my eyes were opened to what a jewel this city truly is.
So if you view Branson as a place where country music goes for a family reunion, or if by some unlikely happenstance you’ve stumbled onto this post without actually knowing what or where Branson is, let me tell you: Branson is not what you expect.
1. Branson is surprisingly hip.
Now, while it is true that Beatles and Elvis impersonators are among Branson’s main shows along with a theme park completely set in the 1850s, the attractions are far from out-dated. Silver Dollar City, has Outlaw Run, the second fastest wooden roller coaster in the entire world, and the only wooden roller coaster with multiple inversions.
I recently rode this coaster, not knowing its record breaking qualifications. I’ve never been caught in a hurricane, but I imagine this is about as close as you can come to the experience with a safety belt and zero debris.
Besides cutting edge technology designed to make your heart race so fast it nearly explodes, Branson is a forerunner when it comes to arts and crafts. If you’re on the craft tutorial bandwagon, or if like me you are addicted to Pinterest, then you need to visit Branson.
Branson is home to hundreds of craftsmen, artists, and markets. An assortment of craft festivals have been featured and celebrated throughout the years, long before the resurgence of everything homemade that’s recently hit the web.
Yeah, Branson’s hip like that.
2. Branson is unique.
Name another city where you can Zip-line; take a helicopter ride; see a Russian comedian, Chinese acrobats, magicians; attend a show on an actual steam boat; visit the world’s largest Titanic museum, a tiger sanctuary, a hot air balloon festival, a Toy museum, a giant Butterfly palace, a water park; go horseback riding; be in a tin-type photograph; or shop at an Amish store.
My point exactly.
If you’re not familiar with the southwest Missouri region, it’s characterized by luscious, rolling hills whose wilderness flows beautifully into each season. Right now we’re experiencing a glorious fall and arguably the most vibrant red, orange, and yellow trees reside in this area.
Branson shines in other areas besides aesthetic beauty. The people of Branson are beautifully friendly! You may think that’s a bit of a stretch on my part, but Branson was voted in the top 10 friendliest cities in America by the Conde Nast Traveler Network, which is a pretty big deal if you didn’t know.
4. Branson is a cultural experience.
Go to the Silver Dollar City’s World Fest, see a country music show, hear the best Beatles impersonators in the country, learn how to carve wood or blow glass, check out Hollywood Wax Museum and know that these things celebrate important aspects of the American human experience.
Own the past that made today’s culture.
I realized that I was looking down on nostalgia instead of valuing the incredible cultural changes that have taken place in the last century.