Learn about Branson, Missouri by reading Branson-A
Mountain of Entertainment by Charlie Spence, Aviation Writer. It
features a mini, but thorough tour of the destination, plus all
you'll need to know to plan your trip including getting there,
objective information on places to stay and eat, and things to do.
At the end of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact
information for your easy reference. Enjoy!
Branson—A Mountain of Entertainment
by Charlie Spence, WTA Member and
One thing you will quickly learn about
Missouri, is that the area is a family vacation spot. There is something here
for every age group.
This small community in the Ozarks (the census
in 2000 showed a population of 6,050) has become an entertainment center with
50 theaters, 10 golf courses, more than 200 different lodging facilities,
theme parks, lakes, museums, and whatever else might suit your fancy. The
estimated 7.3 million visitors to the area in 2004 demonstrate the lure of
The Branson Strip shows a few of the many theater places that
welcome visitors to the variety of presentations ranging from country to pop,
from nostalgic to current stars.
Photo courtesy Branson Update Inc.
“Broadway! The Star Spangled Celebration”—typical of the big production
shows at the near 50 theaters in Branson.
Photo courtesy Branson Chamber of Commerce
It began as a vacation Mecca in the early 1950s
when country music legend Red Foley moved to nearby Springfield to host the
“Ozark Jubilee” radio show. By the end of that decade, the Mabe Brothers began
performing twice a week in a converted building by the Lake Taneycomo
waterfront. Other entertainers began putting on shows and in the 1990s Branson
was dubbed the
“Country Music Capital.” Now, however, you can choose not only
country shows, but also pop, swing, rock ‘n roll, gospel, classical, and
Broadway-style productions. There are more than 100 shows and they are offered
at various times of the day from breakfast shows to matinees to evening
performances. Choose current top performers or go nostalgic and see some of the
favorites of decades past.
Although the community is best known for its
variety of musical shows, you will also find shows of magic acts, acrobats,
trick riders, and a diversity to entertain any member of the family.
But shows are not the only attraction to this
delightful area. Outdoor activities abound.
Boating on Table Rock Lake, one of three water
fun lakes in the Branson and Lakes Area.
Photo courtesy of Chateau on the Lake
Three lakes with a trout stream are just minutes
away from Branson.
Lake Taneycomo was originally part of the White River and was
formed in 1913 with the completion of the Powersite Dam. It provides what has
been called one of the best trout streams in the U.S. Water in the lower lake is
considerably warmer than in the upper portion and this difference harbors
different species of fish, providing different challenges to the experienced
angler. Technically a lake, Taneycomo has the look and feel of a river. And, to
make sure you bring in a string of fish, the clear, cool waters are stocked with
about three-quarters of a million ten-twelve inch trout annually.
Other water activities you can enjoy include
boating, jet skiing, snorkeling, tubing, and swimming. In the rolling Ozark
Mountains, the area is ideal for hiking, biking, bird watching, or just lying
back and enjoying the quiet beauty. Some of the nature parks are inside Branson
Kids, and those regardless of age who have the
spirit of kids, will quickly seek out
Silver Dollar City. This 50-acre
1880s-theme park has been voted the number one theme park in the world by the
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. There are 50 live
shows, food, and 60 shops and rides. Even the strong at heart will gasp as the
PowderKeg roller coaster speeds them through a black powder mill of yesteryear
and then launches them from zero to 53 miles per hour in less than three
You’ll find the modern touch at the 20th
Celebration City theme park, which has dozens of rides, including the
Ozark Wildcat wooden roller coaster. The historic Route 66 section sports
1950-60’s era autos with drive-in diners, themed rides and shops.
Family members will enjoy go-cart tracks,
miniature golf, bumper boats, or roller-skating. Take the scenic railway trip
south into Arkansas or north into Missouri for a narrated journey through the
If you have time to soak up more culture, go
through one or more of the nine museums ranging from a
Veteran’s Memorial to
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. There is a toy museum, Hollywood Wax Museum, Roy
Rogers and Dale Evans Happy Trails, and others.
By all means take time to do some shopping. In
Silver Dollar City artisans create heirloom-quality furniture. The area has
three outlet malls with more than 200 stores. There are also boutiques, craft
and hobby shops, antique stores, art galleries, and other specialty shops.
Historic downtown Branson has more than 100 stores, including an old-time five
and dime store.
Branson is a year-round attraction with
different activities for the different seasons and many special events for
Ozark Mountain Christmas or Branson Fest in March. The show season
offerings usually run from Mid-March through the end of December.
As you head for home, you are sure to comment “I
wish we had time to some of the other things while we were here.” That’s just an
indication you will return soon.
Springfield/Branson Regional Airport serves Branson. Four airlines
offer about 70 arrivals and departures daily. Charter, personal, and
business planes use the close-by Clark Airport located at the
College of the Ozarks. Three taxi services provide transportation
within the city.
you are driving, two major north/south highways link Branson with
central Missouri and the eastern side of Springfield to the north
and Little Rock Arkansas to the south.
Where To Stay
Branson/Lakes area has just over 200 different lodging places
offering nearly 18,000 rooms. These range from a variety of Bed and
Breakfast Inns through motels to hotels, offering full-service
marinas, to deluxe spas, health and fitness clubs. No matter what
your budget or taste, Branson has a lodging to fit it. Many of the
facilities have staff members who will gladly assist you in getting
tickets to your favorite shows.
can check rates and book your room and rental car with WTA’s Online
Travel Booking Service,
Where To Eat
From fast food to fine dining, it’s all in the Branson/Lakes area.
There are national chain restaurants, buffets, and fine dining
rooms. Try the barbeques or homemade apple pie. Many of the places
offer sit-down service in their facilities or will deliver your
choice to your hotel or resort.
information is current as of November 2005. It is recommended that you contact
the numbers, and/or visit the web sites above to determine any changes to the