Meet the Cats at Branson’s National Tiger Sanctuary

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.

Experience the Magic of the Festival of Lights

The holidays are full of fun family activities, especially in Branson, and the Branson Area Festival of Lights is one of those activities you don’t want to miss.

This annual drive-through lights display is a popular production that has guests coming back time and time again. Families love the magical displays featuring favorite Christmas characters and holiday scenes and there’s more than 300 displays throughout the one mile path, so you’ll have plenty to look at!

The Cat’s Pajamas Vocal Band is also back again this year presenting their “Frosty Follies” for all guests.

Visit www.bransonchamber.com for prices or more information.

The Branson Area Festival of Lights is located off Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Roark Valley Road, across from the entrance to the Sight & Sound Theatre.

See Eureka Springs’ Snow Train Village

While you’re in the Branson area, if you take the time to visit Eureka Springs anytime now until December 23 and you’ll experience the largest privately owned Snow Train Village in the United States!

The village is made up of more than 300 buildings, three Lionel 0 scale trains, a Lionel 0 scale trolley and a Polar Express Train. The Snow Train Village is reminiscent of small-town America of the 1930s and 50s and serves as a fundraiser for the Eureka Springs Historical Museum.

A great holiday activity for kids and families, this village full of tiny, snow-covered homes and businesses is a delight to see.

The Snow Train Village will be located at the Gaskins Switch Village at 2051 East Van Buren in Eureka Springs.

For more information and hours of operation, visit www.eurekaspringshistoricalmuseum.org or call 479-253-9417.

Spend the Day Painting at Big Cedar Lodge

Looking for a fun girl’s day activity? Or maybe you and the kids want to try something artistic. Try a Paint and Pour class at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson!

One of the resorts most popular activities, this class is open to the public, so you don’t have to book a stay at Big Cedar to participate or enjoy the beautiful scenery and rustic decor of the lodge.

The Paint and Pour classes are family friendly and a professional art instructor will provide step-by-step instruction so you don’t have to worry about not having any painting experience. Learning is half the fun!

You’ll be provided with all the supplies you need like easels, a canvas, brushes, paint and even an apron that you’ll get to take home with you. All you need to bring is your enthusiastic effort.

Each class participant gets water and soda as well as Big Cedar’s famous Chex Mix to much on while being creative. Participants over the age of 21 will also receive up to two glasses of wine.

Classes have a minimum of six participants required so make sure to grab your family or a group of friends and make it a fun day activity for everyone in Branson!

Make a weekend of it and book your stay at the conveniently located Thousand Hills Golf Resort Condos, just a 20 minute drive from Big Cedar Lodge and right smack dab in all the action of Branson, Missouri.

For more information, visit www.big-cedar.com.

Plan for the 66th Annual Adoration Parade & Lighting Ceremony

Branson has a variety of annual holiday events that both residents and visitors look forward to each and every year, the 66th Annual Adoration Parade & Lighting Ceremony being one of them.

This year’s parade and lighting ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, December 7 at 5 p.m. The Christmas celebration will begin in downtown Branson with the lighting of Branson’s Adoration Scene on Mt. Branson, across Lake Taneycomo.

Afterward at 5:30 p.m., the parade will take over the streets as it fills Branson Landing Blvd. and makes its way along the shore of Lake Taneycomo past the Branson Landing fountains.

You’ll love the festive floats, colorful characters and joyous celebration that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas so don’t miss out on one of Branson’s most anticipated parades of the year.

For more information, visit www.downtownbranson.org.

View the Christmas Lights from a Horse-Drawn Carriage

Grab your honey and the kids and get bundled up for an iconic horse-drawn carriage ride through Big Cedar Lodge’s beautifully landscaped property.

Big Cedar’s carriage rides are the perfect way to soak up the sights of Christmas as you ride by the twinkling lights that light up those cold, winter nights.

You can even customize your ride by adding a bottle of J-Roget Champagne, delicious Big Cedar chocolates and two Big Cedar champagne flutes. Just ask about the special romance package for your special proposal, anniversary or date night carriage ride.

There’s something magical about a horse-drawn carriage ride that evokes the feelings of eras past and makes it a novelty. So this year, start your own family holiday tradition, treat your love to a special evening they’ll remember for years to come, or just try something new!

Call 417-335-2777 ext. 7107 for more information or to reserve your very own carriage ride at Big Cedar.

Big Cedar Lodge is at 612 Devil’s Pool Road, Ridgedale, just fifteen minutes south of Branson.

Check Out Branson’s Wild World for a Wild Adventure

This week I stopped by Branson’s Wild World and checked out some amazing animals from all around the world.

The attraction, located right off the strip next to Wal-Mart, is actually a three-in-one family adventure, featuring an indoor animal safari, black light mini golf and a Jungle arcade.

I started off my visit with a walk through the animal exhibits which house hundreds of interesting creatures from lizards and snakes to wolves, stingray, parrots and more.

I moved rather quickly through the section with the huge, furry spiders and snakes but I loved seeing the wolves! The smaller ones were so curious. As I approached the exhibit, they ran right up to the glass stared right at me. It was really neat to see them up close.

Branson’s Wild World also boasts a great opportunity to hold and touch many of the animals. Staff will let you safely hold a huge lizard, feed bull sharks or reach into the waters of the touch tank to touch stingray and other aquatic animals.

The parrots are especially neat as well. While I was there, three of them were perched outside of any enclosures and one either really liked me or hated me because she kept squawking at me every time I walked by. It was pretty loud and two of the staff members thought it was pretty funny. I wasn’t sure what to think!

After I explored the animal exhibits, I walked through the 3-D mini golf course which was pretty awesome. Upon entering the indoor course area, golfers are immediately enveloped in a dark, jungle filled with black-lit trees and live animal exhibits.

The Jungle Arcade was just as neat if you are a video game lover. Kids would have a blast in there and the room is filled with dozens of different arcade games, purely for their entertainment.

Branson’s Wild World also has a very nice gift shop area complete with a snack shack, just in case you get hungry.

You should definitely stop by and bring the family. Let me know what you think next time you visit Branson’s Wild World at 2020 W. Hwy. 76, next to the Wal-Mart on the strip.

For tickets or more information, click here.