Table Rock Dam is one of Branson’s most impressive man-made attractions boasting an impressively large stature and a fascinating history.
The dam is 6,423 feet long and stands 252 feet above the riverbed. It was built for hydroelectric power, water supply and to prevent flooding of the Ozarks that could potentially destroy thousands of businesses and homes. Construction of the entire dam was completed in August of 1961.
The Dewey Short Visitor Center is right on White Lake near the Table Rock Dam on Missouri 165 in Branson. The center is a great resource for visitors and residents alike to see the dam up close and learn about its construction, power and the history and wildlife of the Ozarks.
The visitor center features several interactive exhibits on the lower level spanning the subjects of Ozarks history, an overview of the construction and purpose for the dam and the wildlife that inhabits the White River area.
Both kids and adults will find these exhibits interesting! One of my favorite exhibits was one that clearly demonstrated the energy needed to power simple objects like a light bulb, a coffee grinder or a hair dryer. By turning a knob, you’ll get to use your own energy to attempt to power these objects. The light bulb was by far the easiest but sadly, I never managed to get the hair dryer going. Either I’m just really weak or it really takes more energy than I thought to get a hair dryer going.
The historic exhibits were also intriguing because one in particular featured a brief video clip of extreme flooding in the Ozarks before the dam was constructed. When the land was flooded, residents lost everything and it took them a long time to get back up on their feet. They were forced to grab anything and everything they could in order to get their families out alive and start all over again. That eye-opening exhibit really made me understand the significance to Table Rock Dam.
Back on the main level of the Dewey Short Visitor Center, you’ll find doors that lead out to a covered outdoor deck that provides incredible views of the dam and the White River. I was visiting on a dreary, rainy day so my pictures looked a little sad but on a nice sunny day, you’ll be able to capture amazing pictures of the dam. Sit around long enough and this time of year you’ll probably spot a pair of nesting eagles too! Visitor center staff say like to fly around and pick up snacks from the lake.
Just a short drive from the action-packed strip of Branson, the Dewey Short Visitor Center is a worthwhile stop to make next time you’re in town.
Stop by any day of the week from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. The visitor center is at 4500 Missouri 165, Branson, just 3 miles from the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery.