A tiger’s body temperature is 102 degrees so it’s safe to say that a tiger stays a lot warmer in the winter than we do! And with lots of shelter and comfortable habitats, the large cats that call the National Tiger Sanctuary home are up and at ’em and waiting to interact with the groups of visitors that stop by.
Most people spend an hour to two hours at the sanctuary so on a warmer winter day, it’s the perfect way to spend some family time. The sanctuary offers several different guided tours that allow visitors the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet more than a dozen large, wild cats, learn about their habitats, eating habits, personalities and even watch them crunch through bones while they enjoy lunch!
Your knowledgeable guide will lead you through the sanctuary after you watch a brief, informative video at the visitor center near the front entrance. As you travel from habitat to habitat, you’ll be amazed at how intricate this animal species is and how important it is for us to take care of them.
A trip to the National Tiger Sanctuary is truly an eye-opening experience that you and the whole family will talk about for years to come.
The sanctuary is open Wednesday-Sunday with tours at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and is located just 10 minutes north of Branson and 20 minutes south of Springfield.
For tickets or more information, please visit www.bransonshows.com.
Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland is back this year in with more Santa appearances, free crafts, games, activities and more for families all over the Ozarks.
The Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, just north of Branson, will be hosting the always jolly Santa and even more Christmas fun beginning November 15 and lasting until December 24.
Santa’s Wonderland includes free games and activities, festive holiday crafts like homemade ornaments and a free photo with Santa. A Bass Pass will allow you to avoid the long line of people waiting to get a photo with Santa by specifying a specific time for you to return to Santa’s Wonderland for you photo. Until that designated time, you can feel free to browse the store and shop instead of wasting time waiting in line. There are a limited about of Bass Passes so make sure to pick one up while you still can! Mondays through Thursdays are generally the best time to come take a picture with Santa because wait times are shorter.
Springfield is just a 45 minute drive north of Branson, so make it a day trip and head to Bass Pro Shops where Christmas fun awaits you alongside the hottest outdoor supplies, apparel and decor.
Bass Pro Shops is at 1935 S. Campbell, Springfield, on the corner of Sunshine and Campbell Streets.
For more information visit basspro.com or call 417-887-7334.
Branson’s Murder Rock Trail is just one of the many great places to hike in the area. While the name may be alarming, Murder Rock Trail is named so because of it’s interesting history. Located south of Hollister between The Communities at Branson Creek and JJ Highway, the trail is open to the public and makes for an exciting adventure for hikers, bikers, ATV riders and equestrians.
Murder Rock Trail trail boasts some great views of the roaming Ozark hills and delves into some of the mysterious mines and old communities of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It follows the course of a 19th century dirt road that was essential for trading and travel back in the pioneer days. Today, it is a well-maintained gravel trail that’s easily accessible, featuring a picnic area and signs directing visitors to the parking area and trail head.
Murder Rock Trail got its name from the many travelers who were ambushed and murdered by robbers who hid behind the large rocks that line the area. Alf Bolin and his gang were some of the most well known murders of the area and they were said to have hidden in a cave below the road. Rumors circulated after Bolin’s death about a hidden treasure somewhere in the cave and the area became a popular treasure hunting spot but no one ever found any hidden stash of silver or gold.
While you’re hiking Murder Rock trail, you’ll come across several fantastic highlights including the abandoned town of Melva, which was a successful lead mining community back in the late 1800’s. You’ll also cross paths with the town’s three mines: The Silver Moon Mine, The King Solomon Mine and the Josie B. Mine.
Murder Rock Trail is a moderately easy hike although some of the side trails that were old mining roads can be very steep.
Hike the historic 19th century road through the forgotten mines of the Ozark hills and you’re guaranteed to come across some very interesting things!
To see a trail map, click here.
The College of the Ozarks is one of the Branson area’s main attractions boasting much more than just a beautiful campus, and this weekend its prestigious facility, The Keeter Center, will be celebrating 10 years of open doors.
provides luxurious lodging with presidential suites, skyline view suites and loft suites in addition to fine dining from Dobyns Dining Room. The center also provides a large amount of meeting space for conferences, weddings and other events. Most of the operations at the center are run by current College of the Ozarks students.
It took six years to complete the construction of the Keeter Center and 250 supervised students to build it. It features 1,000 copper panels in the dining room, 20 fireplaces in all and 240,000 roof shingles. The center was named in honor of the late Mr. James P. Keeter’s parents, Ruby and Vester Keeter, who played a large role in establishing the character of the physical building and educational program.
Visitors are always welcome to come experience the Keeter Center as well as the many other highlights on campus including:
- The Ralph Foster Museum– a home for thousands of artifacts detailing the history of the Ozarks.
- Edwards Mill– a mill powered by a 12-foot water wheel. Inside, you can buy fresh ground whole-grain meal and flour or visit the weaving studio where students design and produce rugs, shawls and the like on looms.
- Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen– on campus kitchen that sells homemade fruitcakes, jellies, apple butter and other goodies.
- The C of O Greenhouses– a collection of more than 7,000 plants. Visitors can purchase individual orchids and houseplants here as well.
For more information about The Keeter Center and College of the Ozarks, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/pointsOfInterest/CollegeoftheOzarksinBransonMO.htm.
Apple Butter Makin’ Days is one of Missouri’s most popular festivals and it’s back this year for three days of delicious fun.
The Mt. Vernon Courthouse Square will host the festival this year from October 10-12 where visitors will enjoy fun contests, special activities for kids, a delicious variety of foods, live entertainment and of course, apple butter makin’ on the courthouse lawn.
Sweet smells will fill the air as large copper kettles cook a bubbling savory mixture of peeled apples, water, sugar and spices over an open fire to create the yummy apple butter that everyone loves.
Browse the festival for unique craft vendors, taste snacks from local restaurants, attend the Apple Butter Queen crowning or the baby show and maybe even enter one of these unique contests:
- Pet parade
- Bubble gum blowing contest
- Apple pie eating contest
- Apple biting contest
- Nail driving contest
- Fiddlers contest
In whatever way you choose to spend your time at Apple Butter Makin’ Days, you’re sure to have a fantastic time!
Mt. Vernon is an hour northwest of Branson and this popular festival makes for a fantastic day trip for the entire family. Experience the Ozarks with Mt. Vernon’s Apple Butter Makin’ Days in just over one month’s time.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/AppleButterMakinDaysOfficial/timeline?ref=page_internal.
Apples are a welcome fruit during the fall season whether they’re sliced and baked into ooey, gooey cinnamon goodness, warm and simmered with spices in a cider or coated in sweet caramel and nuts on a stick.
At the Marionville Applefest, September 19-21, you can enjoy the best of apples and autumn with a variety of fun events and activities for all ages.
Festival-goers will enjoy an Applefest Beauty Pageant, live music, a carnival with pony rides and other exciting attractions, the Applefest parade, an apple pie eating contest and a community church service on Sunday morning.
The Marionville Applefest will also feature arts and craft vendors alongside delicious fall snacks and beverages.
Just a short drive northwest of Branson, Marionville’s Applefest makes for the perfect day trip this fall.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/MarionvilleAppleFest.
For an interesting and educational day trip visit Copper Run Distillery & Tasting Room, just 15 minutes north of Branson in Walnut Shade.
After the American Revolution the American government placed a federal tax on liquor, resulting in the illegal production of alcohol, also known as moonshining. The practice of moonshining continued when prohibition began in 1920 and the production of alcohol at home became a fairly common occurrence.
Copper Run Distillery is the first legal distillery in the Ozark Mountains since the prohibition ended in 1933 and it’s traditional techniques used to create the spirits date as far back as 5,000 years ago and consist of 140 gallons, direct fire, a copper pot and human hands.
The warm and inviting distillery is nestled in the dense Ozark woods and boasts a wide selection of handcrafted small batch spirits including Ozark Mountain Moonshine, whiskey and rum.
Daily tours allow guests to get a glimpse of the production process as well as taste the outcome with free samples and the onsite shop is filled with spirits to suit any drinker, infusion kits, gift boxes, accessories barrels and more.
Copper Run Distillery is open daily from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. with tours departing at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
It’s located at 1901 Day Rd., Walnut Shade, just off of US-65 N.
For more information visit http://www.copperrundistillery.com/.