Recreation in the Branson Area “Ya-Hu”…
Recreation is a newer development in Branson. As I mentioned on the Entertainment page Branson started out as a Entertainment venue with the first shows being the Presley’s and the Baldknobbers. As the show numbers started to grow the visitor numbers also grew. Then they needed lodging for all these new visitors then the motels grew in numbers. Then Restaurants numbers increased and so on with these elements. Finally some folks wanted other things to do so they went to the nearby lakes and went fishing or water skiing. Then lakeside resorts came to be. I also mentioned on another page that in order to become a more family oriented tourist center and to extend the season in the spring and fall they started adding golf courses, amusement parks, shopping centers, bumper cars turned into mini race car tracks, skating and movie theaters. This town was originally noted as a senior citizen haven but now it is for everyone.
I will get into more detail on this on another page to do with Branson History but early sheep herders that moved about in these wooded Ozark Mountain hills started finding caves. They hunted wild animals for food and one hunter, it is said, tracked a bear and it either fell into, after being shot, or just fell into a open pit cave entrance. Word got around about it and they told how they got ladders and went after the bear and later investigated the While we are on the subject of Caves extensive Marvel Cave later more folks heard about it and wanted to check it out then they set up a little lunch counter and that grew with more visitors and to make a long story short Silver Dollar City now sits on top of that cave and cave tours are still a big part of the theme parks attraction.
While we are on the subject of Silver Dollar City let me say it is probably the Gem of the attractions and recreation possibilities here in Branson. It continued to grow as an early American Village of about the era of 1880 and more older buildings of that era were moved in or replicated and the park continues to grow. It is owned by the Herschend family and they are huge in the Recreation business. They hire hundreds of folks here and many of them seniors that would have a hard time finding employment in most other cities. They have even built a Clinic so their folks can have health care and emergency aid when needed. Many of these folks were unable to have adequate health care before.
There are about 10 different stages where shows and entertainment are going on all through the day and at closing there is a musical show in the huge Echo Hollow outdoor Theater. There is about 6 major theaters within the grounds that have shows at different times of the day so you can go from one to the other. We know the grounds well and have had season tickets there for several years and we have tried to go from theater to theater all day long and you can’t even get them all in on a slow day to say nothing about on a busy weekend day. These shows change several times during the year. The park has about 6 themes during the year and the shows change for each theme. There is the kids theme then the International and Barbecue and Blues, Craft and then I think it is Cowboy/Farmer etc.
You get to do everything within the park including shows and rides for the cost of admission. If you are planning on coming back the second or third time during a calender year the annual pass is a great buy and it only costs about $40 to upgrade your day pass on your exit and be able to come back as many times as you would like and you even get bonus passes to bring friends and reduced rates at other company facilities. If you buy an annual ticket before the end of one year for the next year you get a better price and even better for Seniors. Oh annual pass holders even get food on the grounds at a discount.
Silver dollar City has many rides for young and old alike. They have some of the most challenging roller coasters ever designed. Their newest roller coaster is called Powder Keg and they have several water rides to thrill the kids anytime and the adults during warm weather.
Silver Dollar City and the Herschend family also have extensive Camping and RV parks for their visitors and even cabin rentals. The Herschend family are not only active on Boards and Committees in the area but also own and operate several other attractions such as the Ducks , The Branson Bell Showboat , White Water park and the amusement park Celebration City that just closed the fall of 2008. I also understand they are involved with the operation of Dolly Partons “Dixie Stampede”. I read where they have interest in about 25 different attraction businesses in several states. Their newest business, I hear, is a Cable Car Sightseeing Company in San Francisco.
Branson has a very special place in it’s heart for all The Veterans of all the wars and conflicts. A gentleman by the name of Fred Hoppe had a very special place burning in his heart and took it into his own hands to see that our valued Veterans got the recognition they deserved even though he had been turned down many times for support. Go to our page and read all about his endeavor and how the Veteran Memorial Museum came to be.
Motorcycles and Bikers have known about Branson for a long while but only recently with modern communications and the Internet have these folks been able to get together and plan rallies to Branson and the Ozark Mountain Country. Now the rallies are getting more frequent and larger and on the Motorcycles Page you can get all the details.
I would call the State of Missouri Fish Hatchery just below the Table Rock Lake Dam a special place to visit. You can have a free tour of the facility and learn how they raise millions of Trout to plant in Taneycomo and lots of other lakes and rivers in the state. You can feed the fish and watch them jump out of the water to catch the food. Inside the guest building you can watch a motion picture of how the facility works and what it does. There are lots of reptiles (snakes) and other animals and birds that are from this area to look at. You can look into several large fish tanks where you can see the huge Trout swimming about through the big windows in the tanks.
Lake Taneycomo is probably the top Trout fishing lake in the country and Table Rock Lake holds many Bass fishing contests annually. There is also great fishing in all the rivers and lakes above and below the two mentioned above.
How about a two hour Branson Scenic Railroad trip to fill that gap in your schedule. Click on the link here and check it out.
There are helicopter sightseeing trips available as well as bungee rides, a huge balloon ride and miniature golf. You can tour the Ripley s Believe it or Not building. It looks on the outside like it was hit by an earth quake. You can see all the famous folks at the Hollywood Wax Museum. There is the Stone Hill Winery that give tours and wine tasting and there is another winery or two just opening up.
Every area has it’s folk story and the Ozark Mountain Country has the story called The Shepherd of the Hills and you can read all about it at this link
The Shepherd of the Hills link. The Shepherd of the Hills is really more than just the book. You can go out to their place and see the homestead where the book was written but it is a full day of recreation and entertainment. You should take in the play and tour and enjoy the great dinner and there is even music by the Sons of the Pioneers. A better day just can’t be had here in the Ozark Mountain Country unless it’s raining cats and dogs. Here’s a little secret you can get a pass to the best overlook in the entire area. I am talking about Inspiration Tower. You can buy a reduced ticket at the Shepherd of the Hills box office and if you are really lucky you can get it free with your daily package. If you are a little older, like me, or you have a disability don’t worry the Inspiration Tower has an elevator to whisk you to the observation level high in the Ozark Mountain Sky.
There are hundreds of Restaurants to visit between the other Recreation events. There are several Buffet style Restaurants including the biggest and best Golden Corral anywhere located right here on The Shepherd of the Hills Highway. There are about 10 Malls to shop until you drop and about 6 Craft Malls and a few Antique Malls.
Branson Landing is the newest shopping area and it lies along the shore of Lake Taneycomo and it sports a floating restaurant and a beautiful Bass Pro store. There are about a hundred other shops of all kinds to check out. The guys can hole up in the Bass Pro and the ladies can go through all the Dress and Jewelery shops. Oh Ya I almost forgot to mention the 7.5 million dollar fountain in the center of Branson Landing. This gusher runs by computer and it puts on a show all by itself every so often. There are multiple water jets that shoot up in the air at different times and diffetent heights and it even has a light show after dusk that is very beautiful.
Everyone can meet at the snack and Ice Cream Shops. This mega million dollar expansion is built around the Branson Convention Center and the Hilton Hotel . There are also lots of Condo’s that were mostly snapped up like crazy even before the mall was completed. Just below the Branson Landing is another nice RV/Camping park along the lake and on the other side of the lake is the Turkey Creek Trailer and RV Park If that isn’t enough Recreation for you you can go out on all the hiking trails in the beautiful Ozark Mountain Country. There are Village, City and State trails and parks close by Branson.
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention all the great recreation and sports offered by the Schools. There are many playgrounds with the largest being the new RecPlex located up on the hill behind the new Mall. We just drove by it and we saw Ball Fields, Tennis Courts, Soccer Fields a Indoor Basketball and even an Outdoor Picnic area so you can eat a meal while watching all the Recreation going on around you.
There is something for everyone however everything may not be for everyone. Every effort with businesses hanging on to the edge of Ozark Mountain roads you will see the engineering nightmares they had to make all public areas as user friendly and handy cap acceptable as possible
No matter what type of Recreation you are interested in you can probably find it right here in Branson and the several adjoining villages.
Click on the highlighted links to go to pages for further information.