By Ammie Bryant and Jefferson Bryant
As much as we love Stillwater, and are fans of a good staycation, it can be difficult to vacation in your hometown. If you are looking for something different than the usual trip to Tulsa, OKC, or DFW for a few days, the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World,” is a getaway that the whole family can enjoy.
If you have not been to Branson in the last ten years, you might not think of it as a destination, but you should. Adventure and thrills abound in this otherwise cozy little town nestled in the Ozarks.
We recently visited Branson with our teenagers. Our itinerary was the perfect mix of live entertainment, adventure, and fun to keep everyone in the family entertained!
Branson is a short four hour drive from Stillwater, so we left early in the morning. (Pro-tip, if you can visit in the middle of the week it really helps cut down on the crowds!) This allowed us to arrive just after noon to our first destination.
Bigfoot on the Strip
Bigfoot on the Strip offers a variety of attractions, all themed around Bigfoot and designed to appeal to various ages. While we waited for our tour, the whole family explored the Yeti Play Zone and Monkey Jump featuring a maze with tunnels, towers, and passageways. A few of us even took the plunge from the Monkey Jump, a ten foot tall jump into an inflated airbag. There is also an arcade, mini golf, and some thrilling rides for daredevils.
Next we boarded the 4×4 safari truck for the Bigfoot Discovery Expedition™. On this tour we traveled to Bigfoot Farms, where we experienced the beauty of the Ozark Mountains and interacted with Scottish Highland Cattle.
Our favorite from the herd was Frenchie. Click the video to watch and we think you will figure out pretty quickly why they call her “Frenchie.”
Along the way you’ll hear some tall tales and experience a few surprises.
Visit Bigfootfunpark.com to learn more about the Expedition and Bigfoot on the Strip.
The Village at Indian Point
After Bigfoot, we checked in at our resort, The Village at Indian Point. Located on Table Rock Lake, the resort’s atmosphere fosters rest and relaxation. Just a few minutes from the pool, our two bedroom (King sized beds!) two bathroom (both with jacuzzi tubs!) condo had a large balcony overlooking Table Rock Lake. Upon peering over the railing, we saw an otter scamper into the treeline!
Because the condo had a full kitchen, we brought breakfast fixings so that we didn’t have to worry about finding a place to eat before our first activity the next morning.
Make sure you schedule plenty of downtime to enjoy this location, or you will wish you had!
For more information visit TheVillageAtIndianPoint.com.
After a quick dinner, we went to see “The Haygoods.” These siblings have been performing together for twenty-six years. Billed as Branson’s most popular show, the Haygoods’s talent is apparent in their harmonies, choreography, and skill playing more than twenty different instruments. We particularly enjoyed the The show’s special effects combined with a broad range of musical genres appeal to all ages. You won’t be disappointed by this entertaining family’s performance.
Visit TheHaygoods.com for more information.
Branson Ferris Wheel
When the show was over, we had time to go ride the Branson Ferris Wheel located at Branson’s Track 4. When you go, we recommend that you ride at night. The slow moving Ferris Wheel stands 150 feet tall and allows you to enjoy Branson’s skyline in a way that you can’t see anywhere else.
We had some extra time before closing, so we rode the go-karts, bumper cars, and played some games in the arcade before heading back to our lodging for the night.
For details on pricing and locations, visit Bransontracks.com.
Silver Dollar City
We were glad to have breakfast at our condo before heading to Silver Dollar City first thing the next morning. We were close by, so we didn’t have to fight long lines to get into the park.
Our first priority was for the coasterheads in our family to tackle “Time Traveler” before the wait times got long. This last spring, Silver Dollar City introduced its newest roller coaster, making it the fastest, steepest, tallest complete-circuit spinning coaster in the world. It goes 50.3 mph, has a ten story, 90 degree vertical drop, and is 100 feet tall! According to Silver Dollar City, Time Traveler is the first and only coaster with three inversions: a dive loop, a vertical loop, and a zero-G roll. It is the first and only coaster with a vertical loop—95-feet tall! And it is the first and only double launch roller coaster. With over a half a mile of track length, the ride lasts almost two minutes in a vehicle that spins 360 degrees with adjustable magnetic spin control. These are NOT like spinning tea cups; it’s a smooth controlled ride.
Our adventurous, thrill-loving teens declared Time Traveler their new favorite ride of all time!
With more than 40 rides and attractions, great food, and crafts demonstrations, there is more than enough to keep your family entertained and spending quality time together all day long.
Learn more about all that Silver Dollar City has to offer at SilverDollarCity.com.
Showboat Branson Belle
A great way to follow up a day of fun at Silver Dollar City is with a dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle. Inside the beautiful three story dining theater, the show includes a variety of genres from multiple decades. The food is excellent. On the Captain’s Club level, we were able to order from a variety of premium cooked-to-order options including steak, chicken, and fish. Save room for dessert–you won’t want to miss it! You will also have time to explore the ship and view the beautiful vistas offered by Table Rock Lake.
Visit ShowboatBransonBelle.com for more information, ticket pricing, and availability.
Wolfe Mountain Zipline and Snowflex Park
To end our trip in Branson, we visited Wolfe Mountain Zipline and Snowflex Park. Perfect for the adventure-lover and the kid-at-heart, Snowflex tubing is accessible to nearly any age and fitness level. (Some exceptions will apply, please consult Wolfe Mountain for that information. You will have to sign a waiver to participate.)
Located on the east side of Highway 65 as you are headed north towards Springfield, it is easy to get to Wolfe Mountain as you are headed north out of Branson. Like dessert, save this one for last!
The park’s slope is covered in a synthetic tubing run called Snowflex®. Up to six tubes at a time can go down the 400 foot long, 60 foot wide slope. There is a “magic carpet” (like a conveyor belt) that takes riders to the top where attendants help riders mount their tube and start their descent.
Snowflex tubing was a fantastic way to end our trip in the Branson. Put it on your bucket list. You will not regret it.
To learn more about the adventures that await you at Wolfe Mountain, visit WolfeMountainBranson.com.
Our family has traveled to twenty-six states together. We are always looking for new things to see and do. Without question, our most recent three day getaway to Branson, MO was one of the most fun and relaxing that we have experienced together. We encourage you and your family to explore Branson to find the adventure that is right for your family.
Disclosure: The writers were hosted by these venues and the Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The opinions expressed belong to the writers based on their experiences.