By: Lyla Gleason of Globetrotting Mommy
You may not have Branson, Missouri on your family travel radar but read on to find out why you should. I visited several family-friendly attractions in the Show-Me state and I was blown away by all the fun adventures. If your family likes theme parks, outdoor adventures, delicious food, live entertainment and museums, Branson, Missouri is a must-visit. Here’s what to check out in Branson, Missouri with kids.
Branson, Missouri with Kids
Ride the Branson Ferris Wheel
Get your bearings with a ride on the Branson Ferris Wheel, which was relocated from Chicago’s Navy Pier. This 15-story Ferris wheel is centrally located in the entertainment district near several other attractions and restaurants.
Search for Big Foot
Branson’s Bigfoot Fun Park, is the only entertainment center in the world that pays tribute to Bigfoot. For an Ozarks experience, their Bigfoot Discovery Expedition Tours, offer rugged (and not so rugged) options in custom 4×4 vehicles. Animal lovers will love the Scottish Highland Farm Tour where you feed the cutest Scottish Highland cattle.
Explore the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure
Not your typical butterfly garden, the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure has butterflies and so much more. You’ll find thousands of tropical butterflies, a mirror maze, Great Banyan Tree Adventure, educational videos as well as a Living Rainforest Science Center (lizards, turtles and geckos, oh my). All tickets are good for a 3-day visit and include a complimentary nectar flower to feed the butterflies. Check the events schedule for butterfly release times (you may get chosen!) and wear bright colors for the best photos.
Relive History at the Titanic Museum
Who isn’t fascinated by the Titanic? Branson’s interactive Titanic Museum Attraction captivates adults and kids alike with its lifelike displays, photos and knowledgeable tour guides. Everyone receives a passenger card upon entering and at the end, guests see if they survived or not. Kids will love the interactive area where they can test how it feels to stand on sinking ship decks and see how long they can keep their fingers in freezing water. A special exhibit this year includes the largest collection of Titanic life jackets.
Take in a Show or Two or Three
From country music and Elvis impersonators to acrobats and comedians, the live performances in Branson will wow guests of all ages. We combined a live show with dinner and a Table Rock Lake cruise aboard Showboat Branson Belle and it was great. For families with younger kids, I recommend looking into their Princess & Pirate and Santa’s Pancakes & PJS cruises.
Spend a Day at Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City is pretty much the best theme park I never knew about. This award-winning 1880s themed amusement park has plenty of rides, old school attractions, festivals, yummy treats, shows galore plus a family-friendly cave tour that will make your day. I love that there are plenty of things to do for the whole family so nobody will feel left out. More to come about this fun spot…stay tuned.
Be a Daredevil
Big thrills await daredevil adults and kids in Branson! From go-carts, ropes course and bumper spin cars (and much more) at Fun Mountain at Big Cedar Lodge to the Gravity Bomb and Super Sling rides at Bigfoot Fun Park, there are just some of the many options. For taller thrill seekers (over 52 inches), don’t miss the Skyscraper and if you’ve ever dreamed of sky diving, check out Fritz’s Adventure where the nations first Aerodium, a vertical outdoor wind tunnel is opening this summer.
Savor the Flavors of Branson
Branson Landing features several shops, restaurants and activities in a pedestrian-friendly waterfront setting (don’t miss the fountain light show). Landshark Bar & Grill (of Margaritaville fame) is a great option for casual fare and while Black Oak Grill offers locale fare (the trout was amazing!) and handcrafted cocktails in a cozy lodge setting. For the ultimate family fun dinner, head to Andy B’s Bowl Social where you can enjoy upscale snacks, classic burgers, salads and sandwiches, pizzas and stick-to-your-rib meals as well as specialty cocktails (and mocktails) and beer and wine. The main attraction here is bowling but families can also enjoy escape rooms, karaoke and several table games.
For icy treats, visit Andy’s Frozen Custard Stand where you can customize “concretes” or try their candy-laden signature creations.
For a unique dining option, visit The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks for a farm-to-fork experience. Students work in culinary staff positions and prepare innovative meals under the direction of Chef Robert Stricklin as part of their class load. Much of the produce is farm fresh and our meal here was one of the highlights of my trip. I love that kids are welcomed with mini chef hats and special menus. There is a homemade ice cream shop in the lobby so be sure to stop by before you head home. You’re welcome!
For fine dining with amazing water views, Chateau Grill at Chateau on the Lake is a great choice. The elegant space offers award-winning dining and top service. If you’re in the mood for surf and turf, look no further.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Minutes away from Branson’s attraction district, a slew of outdoor activities await. Families will enjoy hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, bass and trout fishing, hunting, trap and skeet shooting, spelunking, rock climbing and other recreational activities in the Ozarks. If time allows, plan to visit public parks, resorts, campgrounds, forests or one of Branson’s three crystal clear lakes. Water lovers can go water skiing, boating, bass fishing, kayaking and trout fishing.
Go Back in Time at Dicks 5 & 10
If you love picking up one-of-a-kind souvenirs, you’ll love Dick’s 5 & 10, Branson’s famed landmark. For the last 50 years, family owned and operated Dick’s has been selling a little bit of everything, seven days a week. The shop features more than 75,000 different items, including old-time candies and toys, unique Branson souvenirs, quirky gifts, collectibles, craft items, clothing, housewares and so much more. Be sure to notice the decorative collections including White River Arrowheads, WWII Prints and a baseball “Wall of Fame.”
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