Nestled in the Ozark area of southwestern Missouri, Branson blends the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains with a small town charm. The city offers numerous entertainment options, as well as a thriving musical performance scene. The area welcomes people of all ages with its distinctly family-friendly vibe and activities ranging from relaxing nature experiences to unforgettable theatrical performances. Browse cozy Branson vacation rentals, and book your stay today. Check out the top activities to do in Branson.
1. Enjoy Thrill Rides
Silver Dollar City beckons families with thrill rides, shows, crafts demonstrations, and seasonal festivals. Built around the mouth of Marvel Cave, the park evokes an 1880s theme naturally, creating the feeling of a mining town. You can tour the cave between rides. Silver Dollar City offers rides suitable for all ages. Head to the Fireman’s Landing area for rides even the youngest family members can enjoy. Older kids and the thrill seekers in the family get their fill of excitement on Outlaw Run, a wooden roller coaster with three upside down twists. End your day of rides and entertainment with all the comforts of home in your vacation rental.
2. Watch a Lighted Fountain Show
Freshen up at your vacation rental after a day of activity before heading to Branson Landing for the evening. The shopping and entertainment district sits along Lake Taneycomo near Historic Downtown Branson. A terraced town square area draws kids of all ages with its signature water fountain show. Water, fire, light, and music combine to create a mesmerizing show with 120-foot water geysers, fire cannons, and other dazzling elements in a choreographed display. Shows start at noon, but you get the full effect of the lights after the sun sets.
3. Take a Train Ride
Take in the natural beauty of Branson from a charming vintage train on the Branson Scenic Railway. The trip includes bridges, trestles, and tunnels as you weave your way through the Ozark foothills. Explore the 1905 depot that serves as the headquarters for the railway while you wait for your train. The 40-mile ride lasts almost two hours, so make sure younger kids can handle sitting on a train for that long. Pore over the scenic photos you take aboard the Branson Scenic Railway while you relax on the deck of your vacation rental at the end of the day.
4. Watch a Show
If you need a break from cooking in the kitchen of your vacation rental, head to Dixie Stampede for dinner and a show. Set in a 35,000-square-foot arena, this show features trick riders on horses, pyrotechnics, and theatrical performances that recreate a friendly version of the North vs. The South rivalry of the Civil War. Your ticket includes a meal full of Southern comfort foods. The show involves some loud, sudden noises that may startle young kids.
5. Ride the Ducks
Explore Branson via land and water in one outing when you Ride the Ducks. The tour company offers 70-minute rides on amphibious vehicles that drive from dry land right into the water. Kids can even drive the duck while in the water. Any kids who can handle sitting for the duration of the trip can enjoy the ducks, regardless of age.
6. Explore the History of the Titanic
Branson is far from the ocean, but you may feel as if you’re by the sea when you pull up to the Titanic Museum. The building looks like the ship and features a replica iceberg outside. Your trip through the museum is an interactive experience, starting when you’re assigned the name of an actual Titanic passenger. The museum features 400 artifacts from the doomed ship. Wander through replica rooms, shovel coal, and create your own S.O.S. message as you learn more about the ship. At the end of the tour, you find out the fate of the passenger you were assigned. While a building shaped like a ship may appeal to kids of all ages, some information inside is somber in nature, so the museum is better for older kids who can handle the subject.
7. Get Close to Nature
The Ozark mountain setting offers plenty of opportunities to experience local wildlife, but the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure provides a more exotic experience. Thousands of tropical butterflies fill the aviary, giving you a chance to see them up close. Kids can borrow binoculars and magnifying glasses for an even closer look at the details on the butterflies. See more rainforest inhabitants in the Living Rainforest Science Center. The Emerald Forest Mirror Maze immerses you in a forest exploration experience. Make your way through the maze of rope vines in the Banyan Tree Adventure area.
8. Explore a Cave
Take your adventures underground at Talking Rocks Cavern. It’s a natural stop when visiting The Cave State. You venture through the cave as you learn about how caves form. It’s the perfect combination of excitement and education that helps your kids learn a little more about Missouri. The tour takes about an hour. Leave little ones at your vacation rental with an adult, as you can’t take strollers in this cave. The tour involves several stairs, and younger kids may find the cave a little spooky.
9. Zip Over the Trees
If you visit Branson with older kids, plan a trip to the Branson Zipline, where you traverse zip lines, cross bridges, and experience a controlled free fall. The attraction requires a minimum weight of 70 pounds, so smaller children can’t participate. Branson Zipline’s facility doubles as a nature preserve, allowing you to learn more out the Ozark area as you hike through the preserve. Head back to your vacation rental to rest after your exhilarating trip through the Branson treetops.
10. Plan a Lake Day
A day at the lake is the perfect adventure for kids of all ages. Lake Taneycomo is one Branson option. The cold water reservoir is an ideal spot to catch trout. Fish in the municipal and state parks along the lake’s shores. The nearby Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery gives kids a closer look at the fish. Another popular option is Table Rock Lake State Park, where you can hike, mountain bike, boat, kayak, and fish. Always use appropriate flotation devices in and near water for kids of all ages. Choose a vacation rental near Lake Taneycomo, so you can enjoy the beauty and take breaks from all of the lake activities.
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