Have a Sleepover at the Branson Titanic

The only thing cooler than the Branson Titanic Museum is the Night At the Titanic Sleepover!

Girls ages 5-15 can experience the ship under the cover of night on January 23 from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. with a fun-filled evening of movie-watching, snacks and educational activities.

Those attending should bring their own snacks and sleeping bags. Branson Titanic staff will provide a PG rated movie, a commemorative patch and all the fun activities.

Reservations are required for this event because it sells out quickly so don’t wait to make yours!

Call the Girl Scouts of Missouri Heartland Council at 877-312-4764 ext. 1137 for reservations or more information. Girls registering without their troops are required to bring a chaperone.

For more information about the Branson Titanic Museum, please visit www.bransonshows.com.

The Titanic Museum is located at 3235 W. 76 Country Blvd. in Branson, across the road from the Clay Cooper Theatre.

Silver Dollar City’s Outlaw Run Sets Guinness World Record

Silver Dollar City’s popular roller coaster, Outlaw Run, has snagged the title of Steepest Wooden Roller Coaster in the 2015 Guinness World Record book.

Outlaw Run first opened in 2013 and dared guests to test their bravery on its steep 81-degree drop. According to Silver Dollar City’s website, the ride is the only wooden roller coaster to twist upside down three times and is the second fastest wood coaster in the world with a top speed of 68 miles per hour.

Outlaw Run was also voted best new ride of 2013 worldwide by Amusement Today.

If you haven’t experienced this incredible thrill yet, check it out at the award-winning Silver Dollar City in Branson.

The theme park is closed during the months of January and February but will re-open in March of 2015.


Silver Dollar City’s Holiday Lights Make CNN Travel’s Top List

According to a press release from www.prweb.com, Silver Dollar City has been listed in another flattering compilation of the “Best Places to See Christmas Lights in the US.”

CNN Travel cited the popular theme park in Branson’s Christmas celebration for its fantastic display of more than 5 million dazzling lights and 1,000 beautifully decorated trees.

Silver Dollar City was included in the list alongside these other popular locations sporting gorgeous Christmas lights:

– Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

– Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada

– Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

– Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado

– Macy’s at Center City in Philadelphia

– Zilker Park in Austin, Texas

– Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska

If you missed Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas Celebration this year, don’t worry — it’s certain to be even better next year! For more information or details about Silver Dollar City, please visit www.bransonshows.com.

The park is currently closed for the season but will re-open in March of 2015.

Learn Your Branson History at the Branson Centennial Museum

The Branson Centennial Museum is a celebration of Branson’s past, present and future, featuring several exhibits honoring area traditions, performers and history.

I stopped in the museum last week and spent some time reading up on the fascinating history of the area and how this well-known town became all that it is today.

The museum opened its doors in 2012, exactly 100 years after the city of Branson was incorporated. The White River Valley Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce put forth a team effort to consistently educate the visitors and residents with educational exhibits encompassing the history of the Branson area.

The exhibits regularly rotate throughout the year so you’re bound to see something new each and every time you stop in. Currently there are several different exhibits to explore as well as a short video about the importance of Table Rock Dam to watch.

Each display features interesting historic items and photographs like the original cash register of the Owen family’s drugstore on the corner of Main and Commercial in historic downtown Branson. (For those who don’t know, the Owen family played a large part in the development of the city of Branson.) The antique cash register was discovered in the basement of the “If The Shoe Fits” shop on Commercial Street in downtown Branson.

One of my favorite exhibits was a timeline that highlighted some of the important historical dates in the city’s history. I learned a lot reading through it and loved looking at all the old photos. It was fun to compare pictures of Branson 150 years ago to the way it looks today. The timeline also told the story of the very first permanent residents of the land that is now downtown Branson. The land was owned by 15-year-old teenage Calvin Smith Gayler and his 14-year-old wife. They moved to their White River property back in 1839 and began farming the land and harvesting fruit from their large garden. And today it’s a popular location for shopping and dining in Branson.

History buffs will love the Branson Centennial Museum as well as those who are just curious about the tri-lakes area and its humble beginnings. Visitors will also enjoy the small gift shop and large collection of books about Branson for sale.

The museum is at 101 Veterans Blvd. in historic downtown Branson, just up the road from The Landing. Hours are 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and admission is free.

For more information, please visit www.wrvhs.org.

Ballparks of America in a Nutshell

Perhaps you’ve heard of Ballparks of America, coming to Branson soon? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat, especially if you have kids involved in baseball.

Many families all over the country travel cart the kids around all summer to baseball tournaments and give up time spent the water parks, amusement parks and attractions that the whole family loves.

Well, an innovate group of men decided to give families another option. Ballparks of America is made up of baseball dads who have spent years going to baseball games and tournaments all around the country. They realized that many of the baseball fields they visited were not up to par and they decided to change that.

Ballparks of America decided to create a youth sports complex to replace the Factory Merchants Mall (or Red Roof Mall) that closed back in 2012. The sports complex will feature two-thirds scale replicas of famous stadiums like Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium and Fenway Park. Each field will feature state-of-the-art lighting and turf to improve the ground’s consistency. Lavish team lodging will also be available onsite, boasting major league-style locker rooms, private bathrooms, air-conditioning and flat-screen TVs.

Graphic from www.ballparksofamerica.com.
Graphic from http://www.ballparksofamerica.com.

But the complex isn’t just for the baseball players; it’s designed to accommodate everyone involved, including families and coaches. Developers have included more than 18,000 hotel rooms in the design to provide a variety of lodging options as well as Baseball Village, a shopping center filled with retail shops and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Ballparks America is expected to be completed by summer 2015 and will have a fantastic location, perfect for families visiting the area. The complex will be built near the entrance of White Water and within one mile of several other big attractions like the World’s Largest Toy Museum, The Track Family Fun Parks 4 and Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! Museum. Just down the road are several theaters including the Mickey Gilley Theatre, The Dutton Family Theater and the Hughes Brothers Celebrity Theater.

For more details, please visit www.ballparksofamerica.com.

Caving in the Ozarks

Talking Rocks CavernMissouri is know as “The Cave State” because it contains the most caves of all America’s states, only second to Tennessee. Even so, Missouri contains 6,300 known caves that invite visitors to delve into an enchanting underground world of delicate wildlife, beautiful rock formations and striking colored minerals.

Spelunking and cave tours are a year round activity, especially for those in the Ozarks. If you’re new to the area or have never explored the underground caverns that span Missouri’s beautiful landscape, here are some answers to the questions you might be asking yourself.

Why does Missouri have so many caves?

The thousands of Missouri caves are a direct result of what’s known as Karst topography. Watersheds.org defines it as, “a landscape created by groundwater dissolving sedimentary rock such as limestone.” This kind of topography typically results in caves, sinkholes and tunnels but also makes for a strikingly beautiful landscape. Have you ever noticed the beautiful hills in Branson? That’s Karst topography for you!

Marvel CaveHistorically, what were caves in the Ozarks used for?

Over the years, the many caves of Missouri did not remain empty but were rather filled with inhabitants of all kinds. Bears found them particularly inviting for hibernation, native Americans used them for shelter from harsh weather and moonshiners were able to maintain a covert operation under cover of the land. Today, some of these caves may be blocked off for the safety of the public and the wildlife within it but many of them are open for public tours, especially in the Branson area.

What kind of wildlife will I find inside a cave?

Some animals just use the entrances of caves for hibernation, safety or reproduction but don’t actually live underground. Mammals like raccoons, wolves and bears are examples of that. But there are many animals that actually thrive inside caves like snails, blind cave fish and spiders. Much of the wildlife inside caverns are almost too small to see but one microorganism you might be able to spot is actually a bacteria called actinomycete. If you happen to spot a group of florescent, shiny rocks, don’t think you’ve hit the jackpot and discovered diamonds. Because in reality, you’ve spotted actinomycete!

Marvel CaveWhat caves in the Branson area can I go into?

The Branson area offers a variety of cave exploration opportunities that are perfect for the whole family. Check out one of these great options, all in Branson or within 45 minutes of the city limit.

Fantastic Caverns 

Located in Springfield, Missouri, these caverns offer the only ride-through cave tour in America. Perfect for young children or older guests who prefer to sit instead of walk through the caverns, you’ll hop on a Jeep-drawn tram and explore the beautiful rock formations beneath the Earth.

Marvel Cave

The foundation for the popular family-oriented amusement park Silver Dollar City is actually Marvel Cave. Long before the rides and attractions of Silver Dollar City were even built, visitors were flocking to the Ozarks to venture 500 feet below the earth’s surface. Today, you can still explore Marvel Cave when you visit Silver Dollar City. Just be prepared to climb nearly 600 stairs back up to the cave entrance.

Crystal Cave

Just 45 minutes north of Branson lies Crystal Cave, a fascinating historic underground structure. You’ll see colorful rock formations, Native American markings and some of the interesting wildlife that thrives in the dark corners of the underground.

Talking Rocks Caverns

This cave got its name because of a statement made by Waldo Powell that noted how the evidence and characteristics of the cave told him a story about how it was formed. Located in Branson, the sparkling crystals and comfortable year round 62 degree environment make this cave a popular tourist destination.

Next time you’re in the Ozarks, make it a goal to experience some of the beautiful caves of the area. I assure you, it will make for an experience the whole family will remember for a lifetime.

See “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” at Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas isn’t just one of the most elaborate Christmas celebrations in the area, but it’s also a hub for excellent performances from musicians, actors, actresses and dancers.

This holiday season, An Old Time Christmas presents several different Christmas productions that the whole family will enjoy, including the traditional “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol.”

Silver Dollar City’s special hour-long rendition of “A Dickens’ Carol” is performed in the Opera House and features 15 talented performers, a phenomenal live band, special effects, Victorian holiday scenery and intricate period costumes.

Come out to Silver Dollar City and enjoy all the fantastic rides, Christmas decorations and this amazing Broadway-style show adapted from the classic by Charles Dickens.

For your tickets or more information, please visit www.bransonshows.com.