Things to do in Branson, MO

My wife and I are meeting my daughter and my 6 year-old grandson in Branson in August for a short vacation. It will be hot as heck there so a day at the local water park is likely going to happen, but where else should we go while we are there? He’s pretty well behaved for his age, but he gets bored so sitting for hours, especially outside in the heat, is not going to be fun for anyone. Any thoughts? We’ll only be there for 3 days.

I won a trip there about 15 years ago. Seemed the only activities then were theaters featuring washed up artists and hiking in the woods around Branson.

My understanding is that Branson has become quite a family-friendly tourist area with a number of attractions. I’m just curious which ones we should see and which ones we should avoid, for whatever reason.

It’s been a while since I’ve been up there. There’s Silver Dollar City, which is a theme park and has rides (it claims 40) and fun stuff, including some water ones. Though it also has a lot of sit-down places–though you don’t have to stay very long in any of them. Unfortunately, the Childfest of years past (which had stuff from Nickelodeon and Lego) seems to be gone, and they just have a Star Spangled Summer from July 8-22. Going there is basically an all-day thing.

Outside of that, I remember go-carting and bumper boating, which I adored, but I’m not sure those are particularly special. I always liked the Ripley’s Believe It or Not at that age, but it might be boring to your kid, so I don’t know. (It’s kinda like a museum of historical oddities and weird illusions.) I think there’s a more ride-oriented theme park in the area, but I’ve never been there, and I did hear of it having financial troubles, so I don’t know if it’s still around.

There’s also the landing, which is nice to visit at night for the water light show. There used to be a place called Waltzing Waters which had a pianist playing two pianos with an awesome light show, but that apparently closed in 2013. I adored it at his age, despite having to sit still, and I was a hyperactive kid. The Landing, on the other hand, just has a lot of shops. Still, even if you don’t stay very long, I think the water and lights are neat to see for a kid.

Found that other park: seems they redid it in 2018. It’s basically the rides you might have at a fair, according to their website. It’s free to enter, and $20 for a day-pass to ride all the rides.

Also, I guess I should link the Silver Dollar City website.

When I went through there years ago, it seemed like it had more bumper cars and waterparks per capita than anywhere else on Earth. And Yakov Smirnoff.

I was last there 10 years ago, but I really liked Silver Dollar City (mentioned and linked above) and the Titanic Museum.

Take him to the ‘The Butterfly palace’ Kids love it. If you go wear bright colors, the butterflies will land on you.
Go to Springfield and see the ‘Wonders of Wildlife’ aquarium. It’s about a hour away from Branson but very well worth it.
We didn’t like Silver Dollar city. It was expensive and not worth it.

It’s been about 15 yrs since I was forced to go there. But there are (were) a whole bunch of go-cart tracks that seemed fun, but i was unable to enjoy. Also, ride the ducks!

I was there recently, and was really impressed with the town. Here are some of my suggestions.

The Branson Veterans Musuem. Ever been to the Vietnam memorial wall in DC? They have a similar wall (room) for every war since WWII. Every name of every casualty is inscribed. The WWII wall goes on forever. And Korea. And Vietnam. And Desert Storm. It’s very disturbing to realize just how many names are there, but impressive too.

The Branson Scenic Railway. They have an entire train from the 50s and 60s, complete with those open view cars (lots of overhead windows). There’s also a dining car where you can get a simple lunch (Cheeseburgers, etc.). The train ride is surprisingly interesting, as it includes a lot of the history of the tunnels, and actually goes well into Arkansas. I was really impressed by it. You can wander through all the cars while enroute.

The Branson Auto and Farm Museum. Trust me on this one. I thought I’d see a few cars and found myself in acres of them. All restored, all (I think) drivable, and all for sale. It was an amazing place that ranged from original Model T (-ish) farm trucks, to 1957 Chevy’s.

And if you have time, the Table Rock Lake Dam tour. This was a very interesting museum and diorama of the native area. It included a fascinating film about the horrible flooding in the area along with explanations of the history of the dam, etc. It’s way more interesting than it sounds.

Those are the things that stood out for me. I hope you enjoy your visit. It’s a fascinating place if you look past the touristy stuff.

Ride the Ducks! They have Duck boat tours that are really fun for kids and adults alike.

There is an outdoor mall with a Bass Pro in it, (can’t remember the name of it, but it’s not the outlet malls for sure). Anyway, the mall has a big fountain that is set to music. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, the fountain is pretty neat and free.

There is a theme park called Silver Dollar City that has a kids area…kind of pricey, but if you like theme parks, it’s pretty much in line with others.

I might add you can get a season ticket for Silver Dollar City for less than two single days. If you go two or three times during a stay you come out ahead.

Yeah, totally forgot about the Ducks. He might even get to “drive” it in the water, assuming they still do that. The only concern is that it does mean sitting still for a while–I don’t remember how long the trips are.

And, yeah, I forgot to mention the kids area at SDC. It even has some water stuff.

Um…after recent events, I hope you didn’t ride the ducks.

God, that’s a eerie thought.

There are Mountain Coasters and Zip Lines to ride.

Especially when you consider the original post recommending it with their user name (Emergency911).

In their defense, the vast majority of time it looked like riding them would be a lot of fun.

Silver Dollar City is FANTASTIC but ------ they just opened a new super-coaster this spring (Time Traveler - look at it on YouTube - on an empty stomach if you are not a coaster person) and crowds have been a little heavier than last year. Mostly its the super-thrill rides and with a 6 year old that may not be an issue. But be prepared and check with a local before you make it a firm plan.

Yeah, I have never ridden the ducks, and now I have even less motivation to do so.

(By the way, the term “duck” apparently comes from the bureaucratic designation DUKW, which apparently is not an abbreviation for a phrase that starts with the letters D, U, K, and W. —