A Look Inside the Dewey Short Visitor Center

IMG_6420Table 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.

Step Into the Shoes of a Titanic Passenger in Branson

TitanicThis week I spent a good two hours at the Branson Titanic Museum Attraction and I wish I could have stayed longer. The museum is absolutely packed with informative and interactive exhibits that take you on a journey through the construction of the British passenger liner, provide context within the time period and most importantly, tell the stories of the those lives that became intertwined with the legendary ship that was deemed “unsinkable.”

Immediately upon entering the museum, you’ll be immersed in the experience with the opportunity to touch a real iceberg. Staff will tell you to rub it three times for good luck and those three quick rubs will leave your hand feeling pretty numb.

titanicMy tour through the museum was self-guided but each guest is given a handheld device that is used like a phone. Many of the exhibits throughout the Titanic are marked with a number on a small, circular sign. Each time you see one, you simply punch in the number, hit the green button and hold the device to your ear for additional audio explanations of the current exhibit. It’s a neat way to take in even more information and it’s a good addition for those who’d rather listen to the information than read it.

The museum’s exhibits and authentic artifacts recovered from the ship’s wreckage really make it clear that the focus is on the people who were aboard the Titanic. You’ll see personal items like handbags, authentic boarding passes and dining schedules, jewelry, photographs and one of the nine lifejackets still in existence today. In fact, when you visit the Branson Titanic, you become one of those very people as you receive a boarding pass with the name and story of a real passenger that boarded the ship.

TitanicI became Charlotte Cardeza, a multi-millionaire 1st class passenger with more luggage than any other passenger on the ship. There was even a photo of me in one of the exhibits overseeing the loading of all my possessions onto the Titanic. One of the crew members told me that I occupied the largest suite on the ship, which was similar to the suite that Rose had in the 1997 James Cameron film Titanic. Throughout my whole tour I was anxious to find out if I survived the ordeal or not and according to the final exhibit in the Memorial Room, I did make it. But 1,500 others were not so lucky.

The entire museum makes for a humbling experience that will transport you back in time for a brief moment as you experience first hand what it was like to be a passenger of the Titanic. While I was there I was able to feel the frigid 28 degree water that swallowed the ship, play the baby grand piano in the exhibit dedicated to the musicians onboard, experience the sloping decks of the ship’s stern, shovel coal into the Titanic’s boiler room, walk through the third class corridor, steer the ship from the captain’s bridge and sit in a life size lifeboat while listening to the passengers tell their stories.

An experience at this museum is almost too great to describe with words — it’s one that you need to experience for yourself. And an afternoon aboard the RMS Titanic is sure to educate and entertain all those who take the time to walk through it all while honoring and celebrating the lives of passengers and crew from around the world.

For tickets and more information, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyTitanicTickets.cfm.

The Branson Titanic Museum Attraction is located at 3235 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson, nextdoor to Montana Mike’s Steakhouse and across the street from the Clay Cooper Theatre.


Spend a Day With the Untamed Animals of Branson’s Wild World

Branson's Wild WorldGive your kids the opportunity to experience the animals of the wild with interactive exhibits and fun attractions at Branson’s Wild World.

Use all of your senses to explore the animals of the sea, land and sky as you make your way through the touch tanks and freshwater tanks that are filled with fascinating aquatic life, reach out to touch bearded dragons, snakes and lizards at the hands on reptile display, or press your nose to the glass to get a good look at the majestic pack of British Columbian wolves at the Wolf Woods display.

You and your kids will have so many stories to tell when you get home after you feed Branson Wild World’s kio fish, bull sharks, turtles, lizards and other reptiles.

Branson's Wild WorldWhile you’re there, don’t miss out on all the NEW and exciting things that 2014 has to offer here, including the Wings of the Wild exhibit featuring macaws, cockatoos, eagle owls and others, the cool neon lights during June, July and August, and the totally re-done arcade and Dinosaurs Black Light Mini Golf.

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.bransonshows.com/activity/buyBransonsWildWorldVIPAnimalAdventureEscapeMiniGolfJungleArcadeTickets.cfm.

You can find Branson’s Wild World on the strip right next to Wal-Mart at 2020 West Highway 76, Branson.

Hours are Monday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.