1. Visit an actual working grist mill at the Edwards Mill at College of the Ozarks where they grind flour and meal used on the campus. Visit the gift shop and there’s a weaving mill, too.
2. The Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and produces both Rainbow and Brown Trout for not only Lake Taneycomo but other state trout fishing facilities. The Visitor Center features a display of wildflowers and plants indigenous to the area as well as a nature display and a short video on the hatchery and the process of producing the trout that makes Lake Taneycomo one of the premier trout fisheries in the nation. There is also a huge aquarium with some “lunker” Brown and Rainbow Trout indicating the size of some of the trout in Lake Taneycomo. The Visitor Center opens at 9:00 a.m. every day except, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.
3. Branson Landing Boardwalk – Although there are many free hiking opportunities in the Branson area, one that is very accessible to everyone, is level and very family friendly is the scenic paved boardwalk running 1.5 miles along Lake Taneycomo. Parking is available right off Branson Landing Boulevard in either the Belk or Bass Pro parking lots. Walk east toward Lake Taneycomo and you can’t miss it. The leisurely and level walk will provide a view of Branson Landing that most people never see, such as the beautiful landscaping between the east side of the landing’s buildings and the lake.
The walk will pass the Branson Landing Fountains. Along the way there will be the opportunity to observe the boat traffic and activity on the lake and an excellent chance to observe various species of ducks, Canada Geese, Grey Herons, Black or Turkey Vultures (buzzards), an occasional Bald Eagle and other birds and water fowl.
4. Branson Landing Fountain Show – Branson Landing’s Fountains are located at the heart of Branson Landing at the foot of the “Town Square” on the Lake Taneycomo Lakefront. The fountains are a part of the spectacular $7.5 million water, fire, and light and music show. Weather and maintenance permitting the show is presented hourly on the hour starting at noon each day. Even during daylight hours, it is truly amazing to see and hear the bursts from the vertical ” fire canons” coordinated with fountains shooting geysers of water up to 120 feet in the air all musically choreographed, but add darkness and the lights and it becomes spectacular.
The Branson Landing Fountain show is an excellent item to combine with numbers 3 and 5 on the list or a simply a walk up and down the Branson Landing Promenade. Although weather and seasonally dependent, Branson Landing also has “street performers,” singers, clowns, etc. entertaining up and down the promenade during the vast majority of the “season.”
5. Historic Downtown Branson’s Discovery Trolley – The red trolleys run a 25 minute loop through Historic Downtown Branson and the length and breadth of Branson Landing. The trolleys stops can be boarded in Historic Downtown Branson at Commercial and Main Street, and two blocks south at Commercial and College Street or at Branson Landing at the Bass Pro Shops parking lot and Belk department store parking lot near the parking lot end of their respective buildings.
The ride provides an excellent way to get an overview of the historic downtown area, Branson Landing, the Branson Convention Center and to see Lake Taneycomo. Along the way you will pass Branson’s first theatre, the Owens Theatre and the spot where the first show in Branson performed, the “Baldknobbers Jubilee” and the grave of the man the city of Branson is named after Ruben S. Branson.
Passengers can get on and off at any stop. With the convenient 25 minute loop the trolley makes, it easy for those shopping down at Branson Landing to take the trolley up to the historic district to experience its unique shopping and restaurants and vice versa. It should be noted that although there is no time limit on parking at Branson Landing there is a two hour limit for the vast majority of the free parking in Historic Downtown Branson.
6. Table Rock Dam – Experience this powerful and massive structure completed in 1958 that holds back the waters of the White River at Table Rock Lake.
State Park Marina offers wonderful lake access for picnics, swimming, or fishing, all on the shores of Table Rock.
7. Take a trip into the past at Dick’s Old-time Five and Dime store in historic downtown Branson.
8. You can see the stars of Dixie Stampede – the horses daily prior to 10 am in their lovely stalls. Stroll down the way and see these beautiful creatures.
9. Lake Taneycomo: Best known for its fishing but there are other things to do such as boating, hiking diving and it’s a great spot for a picnic.
10. Curling Vine Winery – Take a free tour and learn about the wine making process. You’ll get to taste some fabulous wines and the kids can get grape juice!
11. Check out a free show! Many Branson Theatres welcome guests for free for Special Sunday shows full of gospel singing and praise.
12. God and Country Inspirational Gardens is a retreat for people to reflect on God, family and country. The area is full of water baths, ponds, fountains, waterfalls, a small cedar chapel and flower beds along meandering paths.
13. Veterans Memorial Garden has honored American’s Veterans and active duty personal and their families for decades. Under the guidance of Master Gardener Ben Kinel, and with the considerable efforts of many volunteers and benefactors who have given money, materials and a lot of hard work, this beautiful garden serves as a living tribute to our Veterans. Although the beauty of the flowers and plantings will change with the seasons, the beauty and honor of what the garden represents will not.