Branson, Mo. is known today as the Live Entertainment Capital of the World. Featured are more than 100 different shows in 52 theaters, ranging from intimate 50-seat venues to 4,000-seat palaces. There is music for almost every taste and era performed daily live on stage. If you like the music of America, you’ll love Branson.
You will hear pop, rock ’n’ roll, country, gospel, Broadway, patriotic, western, big band, swing, bluegrass, jazz, and more. You can begin your theater hopping in the morning and then see another show in the afternoon and still another at night.
Major stars perform here as well as up and comers. You will not be disappointed. There are serious shows, comedic shows, acrobatic shows and loads of music. You can see such performers as Andy Williams, the Acrobats of China, 3 Redneck Tenors, Jim Stafford, Oak Ridge Boys, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Pierce Arrow, Presley’s Country Jubilee, the Rankin Brothers, Soji Tabuchi, Yakov Smirnoff and dozens of others.
Entire families of entertainers also headline many shows in Branson. There are the Osmonds, The Hughes Brothers, The Duttons, The Brett Family, the Lows, the Horns, the Haygoods and still more. At The Country Jubilee you will see four generations of the Presley family. Some of these shows are state of the art theatrical presentations. There is Broadway, the Twelve Irish Tenors, and Celebrate America, Spirit of the Dance plus memorable magic shows and quite a few variety shows.
There are popular tribute shows that celebrate John Denver, Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, Red Skelton and others.
Branson is located in the middle of the Ozarks with its mountain and lake scenery. A good time to visit is the spring and fall when the weather is moderate.
Pauline Frommer, daughter of noted travel expert Arthur Frommer, named the town a “Top 10 Worldwide Holiday Destination.” The area offers an eclectic mix of nightlife with live entertainment at various clubs, restaurants and lounges. The action usually begins around 9 p.m.
It is the fastest growing live student performance town, with student groups doing their thing on stage at many of the shows. Some come in packaged tours with teacher escorts during school breaks.
There is also the Roy Rogers Jr. Show featuring some of the family of Dale and Roy, as well as Mickey Gilley, Marty Stuart, Opry Legends with Little Jimmy Dickens & Friends, Lee Greenwood & Louise Mandrell, and on and on and on.
Some of the other attractions in and around Branson include the paddle wheeler boat “Branson Belle” with onboard shows, the Titanic Museum which is a 90-minute interactive walk through history, an IMAX theater, family fun parks, Adventure Ziplines, Waltzing Waters, parasailing on the nearby lakes, fishing, Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, Castle of Chaos, Dinosaur Museum, Canyon Nature Tram Rides, gold courses, horseback riding, Haunted House & Monster Asylum, Hollywood Wax Museum, kayaking, Kindwedel Wine Gardens, helicopter rides, Veterans Memorial Museum, white water rafting, lake cruises and that’s not all.
Like trains? The Branson Scenic Railway operates until mid-December using classic streamlined engines and cars. They also operate a dinner train on Saturdays. Phone 1-800-2-train2. The train is called the Ozark Zephyr.
Like water? Rent a houseboat and enjoy time with the family on the lakes. At night you can cram in all the shows possible.
There is almost every possible accommodation available in Branson — RV parks, high-end resorts, hotels, motels, condos and cabins. The choice is yours.
The Branson Chamber of Commerce is located at 269 State Highway 248, Branson, Mo., 65616, phone 1-800-Branson or go online to www.ExploreBranson .com.
Tickets, packages and lodging information are available by phoning: 1-800-785-1550.
A few days ago we drove to Globe and rode the Copper Spike train. It departs from the downtown station at 230 Broad Street at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. for the two-hour adventure. The engine is an EMD E-8, painted in Southern Pacific colors. The two cars are a 1950s full dome car offering lunch and dinner along with a round-end observation car that was once the end car of Illinois Central’s streamlined City of New Orleans. The train is first class, with uniformed crew as in the old days of railroading.
The scenery is not spectacular, but the train is a true reminder of what trains were like in the 1950s streamliner era.
Arizona Eastern Railway must be congratulated for running the train in such a fine, nostalgic manner. The train will run only until the end of April, so plan the trip to Globe soon. Phone 1-866-979-7245 for reservations or go online to www.copperspike .com.
As we have mentioned in previous articles, airfares continue to climb. It’s important to make your vacation plans as soon as possible and book your flights. Once you are ticketed, the fare is locked in.
We’ll visit again next week.