If somebody asked you, “What is the entertainment capital of the world?” — you would probably answer Las Vegas or New York City. The correct answer is Branson, Mo. Branson boasts 100 live theatres and 125 hotels and motels along with resorts. What is there to do there? Branson has golf, lakes, shopping, spas, and visitors can see as many as three live shows in one day.
You can hear pop, rock ’n’ roll, country, gospel, Broadway, patriotic, big band, swing, bluegrass, jazz and more. You can see and enjoy comedy shows, tribute shows that remind you of great stars such as Elvis, Shania Twain, The Blues Brothers, Alan Jackson, The Temptations and George Strait.
For theater reservations phone: 1-800-590-0155 or go to www.bransonshows.com.
The Jim Stafford show is always a hit featuring family fun full of incredible guitar pickin’, hilarious comedy, Jim’s hit songs like “Spiders & Snakes” and “Cow Patti” and surprise twists.
The city of Branson was born in the early 1800s on a broad plain along the White River, just south of its confluence with Roark Creek. Buildings and roads eventually overtook the flood plain, as the city grew westward up a gradually sloping ridge, creating what is now Branson’s Historic Downtown District. The waters of Lake Taneycomo tamed the sometimes-temperamental White River in 1913 and it is now a patchwork of parks, campgrounds, shops and restaurants that line the waterfront and form a thriving shopping district.
Branson is located in the middle of the Ozarks with mountain and lake scenery. If you get there early enough, the area will be in ablaze of autumn colors of red, brown, beige, yellow and green and the weather will be much more temperate than in the summer.
It is said that Branson has more theatre seats than the population of the year-round residents in the city. It is also 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 and Louise Mandrell, and on it goes.
Some of the other attractions in and around Branson include the Paddle Wheeler boat “Branson Belle” and IMAX theatre, 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, horseback riding, Haunted House & Monster Asylum, Hollywood Wax Museum, Kayaking, Kindwedel Wine Gardens, helicopter rides, white water rafting, and lake cruises and even this is not all.
If you are like me, you like trains. The Branson Scenic Railway operates until mid-December using classic streamlined engines and rail cars of the 1950s. They also operate a dinner train on Saturdays. Phone 1-800-2-train2. The train is named the Ozark Zephyr.
You could also rent a houseboat and enjoy time with the family on the lakes. At night, cram all the shows possible in the evenings you have.
The Branson Chamber of Commerce is located at 269 State Highway 248, Branson, MO 65616, phone 1-800-Branson or go to explorebranson.com.
Packages and lodging may be reserved by dealing 1-800-785-1550.
Many visitors come to Branson just for the shows and pack in as many as they possibly can within their time limits. You can attend shows in the morning, afternoon and evening. They are not as expensive as those in New York or Las Vegas. Each performance has a different price so you may check each theater for this information.
As mentioned earlier, there are many hotels and resorts for you to choose from. Examples include Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge, Chateau on the Lake Resort, The Old Southern Inn, Spinning Wheel Inn, Parkview Lodge, Cabins at Grand Mountain to name only a few. Prices will range from over $150 per night down to the $55 dollar range per night. There are also fine RV parks and campgrounds.
How do you get here? The roads are good if you plan to drive and airfares will be lower than for peak summer travel times. You may fly into one of two airports. Only opened two years ago is the Branson Airport or 50 miles away is Springfield where it is possible to book a transfer bus into Branson.
Check the Internet and discover how much there really is to do in Branson, Mo. Give it a try and discover how really entertaining “American” entertainment is.