Looking for something to do this weekend? Or a place to spend several days relaxing, enjoying good food and fun? Branson, Missouri should top your list. Exceptional lodging options, delicious dining destinations, shows and attractions everyone will enjoy … it’s all waiting for you in Branson.
Exploring the delights and surprises of the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure is a remarkable journey. It’s a self-guided tour with friendly, knowledgeable staff along the way. Your first stop: Living Rainforest Science Center, an interactive area where you meet beautiful and incredible inhabitants of the rainforest – water dogs, fish, frogs, salamanders, geckos — about 40 critters!
The aviary, the tropical butterflies’ rainforest area, is enchanting. This tranquil area is a botanical garden, full of lush greenery, towering palms, a waterfall, orchids and other exotic plants, and about 1000 butterflies flittering about … some might even alight on you! There are 50-60 different species.
Because of the butterflies’ 2-3 week life span, the Butterfly Palace imports hundreds of Chrysalis (pupa) stage each week, from farms in countries like Ecuador, Philippines, El Salvador, Kenya. The farms are a vital part of the rainforest, in some smaller countries their only way of life. This promotes sustainable rainforest economy as well as rainforest preservation. In the wild there is a 7% survival rate for a butterfly, but at a butterfly farm they achieve a 70-90% survival rate. Farmers release a percentage back to the wild to support species preservation.
The Banyan Tree Adventure is a maze-like journey through a rainforest, getting tangled in the roots of Banyan Trees. The destination is worth it — the rainforest pond, with floating flowers, fish, lily pads. You walk on water — when you step on it, the water ripples, fish scurry. It’s a beautiful illusion, a wonderful excursion!
Titanic Museum Attraction: “Permanent Interactive Family Experience” Add to that description state-of-the-art, enthralling, educational, unexpected. And there’s always something new in the more than 20 galleries. Each is unique, with different floorings, different configurations, different sounds. In the Shipyard you’ll hear clanking construction sounds, see room-sized photographs of Harland and Wolff’s Queen’s Island North Shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. Thousands of Belfast residents worked there on Titanic. An original pub sign, where some gathered at day’s end, is just one of more than 400 artifacts on display throughout. The full-scale replicas of a First Class Cabin and a Third Class Cabin are astonishing.
The Musicians Gallery is a fascinating tribute to the eight musicians aboard. The band was actually two groups, a trio and a quintet. The eight musicians had never played together on Titanic until the night the ship was sinking. Steinway & Sons was the “official” Titanic piano. (Find out how many were on board!)
In the Interactive Gallery you can sit in a full-sized lifeboat or try to climb the steep inclines, set up to demonstrate how Titanic listed as she sank. Titanic collided with the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. At 1:50 a.m. she was sloping 12°. At 2:05 a.m. it was 30° and her bow was sinking, the deck under water. By 2:18 a.m. the angle was 45°. The “lights blinked once and went out.”
From entering Titanic at the iceberg, all through the ship to the Memorial Room, you’ll experience a range of emotions. The poignant stories of Titanic’s passengers are told remarkably well.
A tribute to the record-breaking (including 11 Oscars) Titanic movie will be presented in a new gallery this year, March 12–June 13. Museum co-owner Mary Kellogg Joslyn says, “Many never-before-seen elements from the movie will be showcased — costumes, set pieces, props, signed scripts, and more.”
The Ralph Foster Museum, on the campus of College of the Ozarks is a three-story facility dedicated to preserving and interpreting Ozarks history and culture. There are thousands of objects of fine arts; archaeology; history; antiques; numismatics; geology and mineralogy; firearms. Rural Missouri magazine says the Ralph Foster Museum has ” one of the Midwest’s finest firearms collections.”
A favorite part of the museum is the music room. And much of it has to do with Si Siman. Born in Springfield, MO, he became an integral figure in radio and music. The museum is named for radio pioneer and philanthropist Ralph D. Foster. After serving in the Navy in WWII, Siman rejoined Foster’s Springfield radio station KWTO, which produced nationally syndicated shows. Siman “discovered” Chet Atkins and Porter Wagoner in the early 50’s.
There are also items on display from outside the Ozarks. The Ralph Foster Museum is definitely fun for the entire family. It’s educational, too. (Shhh, don’t tell the kids.)
Grand Jubilee, the evening show at Grand Country opens January 12, and Comedy Jamboree opens January 13 (other shows soon after). Both these outstanding shows feature a stage full of some of the very best musicians and entertainers anywhere! Splash Country Water Park there is fun for kids of all ages, and there are five (count ’em, five!) dining choices at Grand Country. Minnie’s Camper is Grand Country’s newest dining experience, with favorite fair-style foods like funnel cakes, hot dogs, and frozen custard, under the glow of the neon lights at this 1950s inspired, vintage food camper. Grand Country Inn includes rooms with kids’ clubhouse bunk beds.
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction opens February 24 with a new feature, “Dogs Gone Wild,” an action-paced exhibition of man’s best friends! Rescue animals specially trained entertain with a relay event that includes an agility course, head-to-head competition, and Fly-Ball racing. Dixie Stampede serves a fabulous four-course feast while you enjoy other features like Stampede of the Buffalo, Racing Pigs, and of course, 32 magnificent horses and a cast of top-notch riders. It’s guaranteed fun!
The National Tiger Sanctuary is open year ’round; during winter months tours are given Wednesday thru Sunday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Global Resources for Environmental Education and Nature (DBA National Tiger Sanctuary) was established in 2000 to “create a safe and protected environment to connect with the diversity of creation.” It was built and is maintained through donations from individuals and membership support. The Sanctuary also provides interns from around the world the opportunity to study. It is a rescue organization that provides a home for exotic and domestic animals. It is a beautiful, clean, and neat environment, with room for the animals to roam, climb, play hide and seek. Everything is visible and it’s exciting to watch tigers, lions, white tigers, panthers … to watch these big cats play like kitty cats. But they also display the proud, regal persona that lets you know who’s king of the jungle! Branson often offers pleasant winter weather, with days perfect for a visit to the National Tiger Sanctuary.
Legends in Concert opens February 3 with a “star” studded lineup of performers. Talented vocalists perform as The Temptations, George Strait, Dusty Springfield, The Blues Brothers, Elvis, and special guest Prince. A live band and backup singers and dancers fill the stage at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater with some of your favorite entertainers and their songs.
The King’s Castle Theatre opens February 16 with Dublin’s Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies. New on stage there this year will be Broadway’s Greatest Hits. Puttin’ on the Ritz and New Jersey Nights round out the lineup. Shows there are always well produced, with casts of talented vocalists and dancers.
Branson offers a wide range of lodging and dining. The Welk Resort, Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa, The Keeter Center, Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel all offer luxurious accommodations as well as excellent dining. Hotels and cabins on the lake, motels on the “Strip,” cafes in Historic Downtown Branson … shopping downtown! (Dick’s 5 & 10 is a must-see while you’re in Branson.) There is so much to do … don’t forget to spend some time relaxing! We always look forward to your visit, and we know you’ll enjoy your stay in Branson.