Etiquette for Kids at the Keeter Center

The keeter center at College of the Ozarks always has a variety of events open to the public and one particularly useful event scheduled for January 24 features an etiquette class for children.

The class, hosted by the College of the Ozarks will begin at 10 a.m. and last until 1:30 p.m. Children ages 8-14 will have the chance to learn proper etiquette including table setting, formal table manners, introduction and proper handshake, proper dress and posture and much more.

The event includes a delicious, filling lunch and a completion certificate and is just one of six etiquette classes for children that will be held on campus throughout 2015.

Reservations can be made online at

The Keeter Center is located on the College of the Ozarks campus at 1 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, Branson.

C of O Honors Missouri Vietnam Veterans

C of OCollege of the Ozarks held a ground breaking ceremony on December 18 for a new Vietnam memorial to be constructed on the Alumni Center Lawn in honor of Missouri Vietnam veterans.

According to a university press release from December 8, College of the Ozarks President, Jerry C. Davis said, “Vietnam veterans weren’t treated properly upon their return from war. Such a memorial is long overdue and represents a proper tribute to those who served.”

The names of 1,400 Missourians who served and died in the Vietnam War will be displayed on the memorial. It will be constructed by College of the Ozarks students and staff and it is expected to be completed by April of 2015.

For more information, please visit

8 Free Branson Activities for the Family On a Budget

On a strict budget? No problem. There are still a variety of fun ways to spend your time in Branson! Check out some of these fantastic (and free!) activities that Branson has to offer for you and your family.

Lake1. Picnic on the lake. Throw your lawn chairs or blanket in the trunk and pack sack lunches from home to bring with you. Park your family at the easily accessible Lake Taneycomo shore for a pleasant lunch complete with beautiful views, plenty of ducks to feed and a pretty backdrop for family photos while still maintaining a close distance to downtown Branson and all it has to offer.

2. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. A visit to the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery is completely free and both self-guided or scheduled tours are available. Hand-feed the fish, learn about the trout production process and bring your fishing rods to catch a few. The hatchery also includes a conservation center that features four hiking trails where you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon hike.

3. College of the Ozarks. With a local farmers market, the Keeter Center, the Ralph Foster Museum and free tours of Edwards Mill, you can easily spend a whole day at the College of the Ozarks. Consider packing lunches or spend your daily budget on a nice meal at the Keeter Center knowing that the rest of your activities will be free.

Geocache4. Geocaching. All you need for this treasure hunting activity is a GPS-enabled phone, some hiking shoes and a few trinkets you wouldn’t mind parting with. Visit to locate a cache in Branson that’s filled with random goodies. Once you track it down, take one object inside the cache and replace it with an object of your own for the next geocacher to find.

5. Branson Landing Water Show. Spend a day window shopping and browsing the Branson Landing. Check out the hourly fountain shows that combine water, lights, music and fire for fantastic free entertainment.

6. Bike the day away. Henning State Forest has many enjoyable trails that can be used for biking or hiking. Many of the trees in this area are marked for identification and there is even an observation tower from which you can see gorgeous views of the Ozark hills.

Stone Hill Winery7. Stone Hill Winery. Take a free tour and witness the step-by-step winemaking process as well as the bottling process. You’ll end your tour in a tasting room where you can taste a variety of award-winning Stone Hill Winery juices and wines.

8. Dewey Short Visitors Center. Browse the educational, interactive exhibits at the Dewey Short Visitor Center or bring your swimsuit and fishing rod so you can fish and swim along the shore of Table Rock Lake. The center is located right at the end of Table Rock Dam which is also free to explore.

C of O Attraction Guidebook: W. Alton Jones Dairy

I’ve come to the conclusion that the College of the Ozarks has just about everything on campus, including a college dairy!

The W. Alton Jones Dairy has produced milk from a Holstein Herd since the early 1940s and students regularly milk the 60 cows that call the college dairy home.

Both students enrolled at C of O and visitors benefit from this onsite dairy. The fresh milk is used in several different areas on campus including the student dining center and Dobyns Dining Room at the Keeter Center. The milk is also sold to faculty, staff, students and at the campus Farmers Market.

Students working at Nettie Marie’s Homemade Ice Cream at the Keeter Center also use the farm fresh cream from the college dairy to create delicious ice cream that visitors can enjoy. The ice cream parlor is located in the lobby of the Keeter Center and boasts at least a dozen different flavors of ice cream including mint chocolate chip, vanilla bean custard, bobcat crunch and more. The waffle cones are homemade too!

As it seems, all good things come from the W. Alton Jones Dairy, so definitely check it out!

Thanks for following our C of O Attraction Guide blog series. If you missed any or want a recap, click on one of the links below.

College of the Ozarks attractions

The Keeter Center

Williams Memorial Chapel

Ralph Foster Museum

Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen

Edwards Mill

C of O Greenhouses

Gaetz Tractor Museum


C of O Attraction Guidebook: Gaetz Tractor Museum

A little museum tucked away in the Branson area just happens to house some very fascinating historic machinery.

The Gaetz Tractor Museum is located on College of the Ozarks campus near the college dairy and is often overlooked. An interesting display of agricultural history, the museum is free to visitors and offers a nostalgic look into the evolution of farming equipment over the years.

The exhibit features a 1935 John Deere B, a Canadian 1919 Massey-Harris, an antique Marseilles-Adams cyclone feed power corn sheller and a 1930 Rumley 6A, among others.

Although small, the Gaetz Tractor Museum is a great stop in the Ozarks for anyone interested in history, antiques or agriculture. (Curiosity was my main reason for stopping by.)

The museum is free and open to the public during normal business hours, so stop by next time you’re in town and take some time to browse this impressive collection!

Check the Branson Shows Blog tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the next blog in the C of O Attraction Guide series on the W. Alton Jones Dairy.

C of O Attraction Guidebook: C of O Greenhouses

Plant lovers will thoroughly enjoy the C of O Greenhouses on campus at College of the Ozarks. Just adjacent to Edwards Mill, this beautiful collection of orchids and houseplants is in it’s peak during the summer months.

Obviously, when I headed there this past week, the greenhouses weren’t open but I’m anticipating heading back sometime this coming year to check out the collection of plant life.

The campus greenhouses house the Clint McDade orchid collection which totals more than 7,000 plants! McDade was one of the college’s first students and he donated the beginnings of the collection.

Visitors can stop by and just browse the beautiful plants or they can purchase one for their home. Either way, it’s quite the pretty pit stop and just a few feet away from Edwards Mill.

For more information about College of the Ozarks, please visit

Check back tomorrow night at 6 p.m. for the next blog in the C of O Attraction Guidebook series and read about the Gaetz Tractor Museum.

C of O Attraction Guidebook: Edwards Mill

Skyline_Drive_Gristmill_1938Traditional gristmills in America were powered by water and used by local farmers to grind their grain into ground meal or flour. Back in the day, many communities had their own mills, much like this one from 1938 pictured on the right, and were dependent on them for the production of bread and their survival.

Today, most people just pick up their bread from a local supermarket so gristmills aren’t frequently seen in communities around America anymore. But College of the Ozarks features a traditional water-powered mill right on campus, where whole-grain meal and flour are produced. It was built in 1973 with wood harvested from other mills in the state of Missouri.

edwards millEdwards Mill is not just a productive campus element, but a beautiful sight to see. During the spring and summer months, the area is filled with lush green grass and lively trees, visitors, students and a host of ducks and geese that relax on nearby Lake Honor. During the winter months,  Edwards Mill is a peaceful, serene location with quiet waters that visitors can still enjoy.

Edwards Mill was built with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Hubert C. Edwards (hence the name of the mill) and it’s powered by a 12-foot water wheel. The wheel is turned with the runoff water from Lake Honor, which is right across the road. The wheel makes for a great photo op and is a fantastic display of what once was a large part of traditional American communities.

Inside, visitors can enjoy a display of homemade goods produced right there at the mill including small bags of whole-grain meal and flour, hand-woven rugs, shawls, placemats and baskets. Upstairs, students work in a weaving studio to create the products sold on the main floor and downstairs, students hand-weave baskets. There’s also an interesting display of antique milling equipment downstairs that visitors can browse freely.

IMG_6325College of the Ozark’s Edwards Mill is a fascinating place to visit, so definitely stop by! There are always student workers at the mill who are friendly and more than willing to chat about the work they do. For more information about  C of O, visit

Stay tuned to the Branson Shows Blog for the next article in the C of O Attraction Guide series on The C of O Greenhouses.