by Linda Burlingame
According to my brief Google search, Father’s Day began in Washington State June 19, 1910. Since then, in one way or another, Americans have been celebrating fathers on the third Sunday in June. It’s a day the entire family should enjoy, and Branson offers a vast array of attractions and activities that guarantee fun for all!
First-time visitors to Branson are often amazed once they arrive in this little Ozarks town. “I had no idea there was so much to do here!” Guests who have come with a list of shows to see might be surprised at all the lake fun, the championship golf courses, mountain coasters, and ziplines.
Inspiration Tower at The Shepherd of the Hills gives you a 360° panorama of our little slice of Heaven; and each season offers a different view. It’s a great way to put Branson in perspective — a busy, bustling city in a peaceful mountain setting. Inspiration Tower is 230 feet tall, and on clear days you have a 90-mile view, even down into Arkansas and the Boston Mountains. At the 170-foot level of the Tower is the Vigilante Extreme ZipRider. It’s a gentle ride — I love it! You’re seated and strapped in when you take off, the view is amazing, and it automatically slows as you land. There’s a lot going on at The Shepherd of the Hills this year. The evening outdoor drama is open, and daytime fun now includes ATV rides!
For more riding fun, The Track Family Fun Parks have a high-rise go-kart track, a heavy metal high rise (four stories!), a wooden track — the Wild Woody — and lots more, even a Laser Maze Challenge. Bumper rides, batting cages, laser tag … with four locations, there’s something for “kids of all ages!” In 2016 “The Track” brought Chicago’s famous Navy Pier Ferris Wheel to Branson. The Branson Ferris Wheel is at Track 4, on Branson’s famous “76 Strip.” It’s 150 feet tall, and at night, the lighting is spectacular. Michal Haygood, of The Haygoods, and his team designed the magnificent display, including Electrify, a music and light program that uses the Wheel’s 16,000 LED lights. There are 40 gondolas, the ride is slow, and it’s a wonderful way to get a bird’s eye view of “The Strip.”
If you are staying at Grand Country, you’ll be close to lots of activities. Fun Spot Farm Mini Golf is farm fun inside city limits! The two 18-hole courses have life-sized farm animals. Animated and whimsical, they populate the farm that includes a horse barn, a chicken coop, a windmill, water tower, a milk shed, even ponds. And wait ‘til you hear the sound effects! It’s set up for all skill levels of fun. Grand Country has lodging (including rooms with kids “clubhouse bunk beds”), live shows, dining options (very important when you’re on vacation!), an indoor water park, indoor go-karts, mini bowling … as I said, lots of fun in our little town!
Meanwhile, back outdoors, how about some snow fun in the summertime? Branson Zipline & Canopy Tours at Wolfe Creek Preserve has brought snow to the Ozarks. All year long! They built this country’s largest synthetic tubing run. It uses the high performance snow sports surface Snowflex®. The slope is 400 feet long, what a thrill! I love winter sports, and this is perfect — winter fun without the gloves, boots, and bundling! Stay tuned to find out about more Eco-adventure fun at Wolfe Creek, like guided Photo Safari Tours (You ride to the top in a Pinzgauer Swiss Army Troop Carrier!), ziplines, and canopy tours.
Mom, if you want to do some shopping, you’ll enjoy Branson Landing; and while you’re down there, don’t miss Parakeet Pete’s Steampunk Balloon. You’ll be 188 feet in the air for an extraordinary aerial view of Lake Taneycomo and Historic Downtown Branson. Lots of sky-high fun in Branson! And many dining options at the Landing, too. Perhaps a dinner cruise on the Landing Princess?
Of course, our list of live music shows is long and legendary. Right now Branson Tourism is offering you special deals on some shows. Million Dollar Quartet at the Welk Resort Theatre is one of them. I love that show! (Based on a true story featuring Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis!) Some of the other featured shows are Reza ~ Edge of Illusion, Mickey Gilley’s Urban Cowboy Reunion, The Haygoods, and Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai. With careful planning you’ll enjoy a variety of fun, and you’ll take home memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll want to come back soon, however, to refresh your memory! Enjoy!