The two attractions most synonymous with the entertainment aspect of Branson, Missouri must be Silver Dollar City and the Branson Belle Showboat. Both are extremely popular, family-friendly attractions that are well worth the investment of time and money.
SILVER DOLLAR CITY
Silver Dollar City amusement park has an 1880's theme. Employees are dressed in period costumes and a Wild West scene is likely to break out on the sidewalks at any given time. Craftsmen -- blacksmiths, candlemakers, glassblowers, candymakers, taffy pullers, and bread bakers -- are on the scene giving regular demonstrations and enticing parkgoers with their wares. I highly recommend the delicious results at Clara Belle's Cinnamon Bread. We sampled both the cinnamon variety and the apple caramel version. Both were amazing!
Hannah's Ice Cream Parlor churns out enticing flavors on the spot. They even offer a signature flavor named after the most popular rollercoaster -- Time Traveler. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!
There are a number of choices for lunch while you're in the park. We chose Rivertown Smokehouse. Teen grandkids declared the mac and cheese to be off the chain. :)
There are at least 5 rollercoasters to provide thrills and chills, and the Mystic River Falls water ride is guaranteed to cool you down -- WAY down. Near that ride are lockers for keeping your valuables safe and dry AND dryers where you can stand -- several minutes for $5 -- to begin the process of drying your clothes back out. I happened to sit in the lucky seat that got the MOST DRENCHED on that particular ride.
Shows are scheduled throughout the day. They are light-hearted, short, and welcome reasons to sit for a bit.
Two factors made our timing very fortunate in terms of sparse crowds on the day we visited. 1)Storms came through in the morning and were predicted for late afternoon, and 2) it was a Wednesday rather than a weekend. None of the lines for rides were long, so Luke and Margaret rode the Time Traveler and the Mystic River Falls TWICE. We enjoyed it a lot.
SHOWBOAT BRANSON BELLE
If you're on the fence about whether to buy tickets for the dinner cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle, let me help you decide. BY ALL MEANS, BOOK YOUR TICKETS!!
Our meal on the showboat was outstanding with attentive service, and the show was professional in every way -- quality of singers, choreography, instrumentalists, costumes, sound!! REALLY, really outstanding! First-class musicians and performers.
It is important to arrive by 7:30 because the boat leaves the dock at 8:00. Basic price is $61 per person, and that includes a downstairs seat, a 3-course meal (the same one is served to everyone downstairs), and the wonderful show. If possible, I would recommend that you upgrade your ticket to the one that costs $91. With that ticket, you get early seating in an elevated viewing area and a menu from which to choose your 3-course meal. Most people I observed were dressed slightly above "casual."
After the meal, a short break is given for walking the outside decks and watching the sunset on the water of Table Rock Lake before the show begins. You'll walk back to your seat in time to enjoy dessert before the downbeat. The evening ends shortly after 10:30 p.m. Steve and I loved it, and so did our teenage grandchildren.