Friday, May 23, 2008
Branson and Silver Dollar City
This post will document our recent trip to Branson Missouri and 2 days at the amusement park...Silver Dollar City. We went on May 15th and 16th (Thursday and Friday). Make a note of the dates because it was a great time of the year to visit this sometimes very congested area. Branson is one of the main tourist spots in the State of Missouri and gets large bus loads of kids and other tour groups throughout the busier times of the year. We picked these dates because we knew kids would still be in school and the weather would already be fairly warm and pleasant.
Crowds were extremely light. Show lines were short, ride lines seemed even shorter. If you like to ride rides and hate having to stand in 1 to 2 hour lines, consider planning trips to amusement parks during this time of year.
Silver Dollar City is one of the most pristine and scenic amusement parks we have ever visited. Flowers and trees lined every walkway throughout the park. The shops are all themed in the time period of the old time settlers with somewhat of a "Hillbilly" look and feel (I mean that in a good way). It was one of the cleanest parks I have ever been to outside of Walt Disney World.
I cannot stress enough how this park is devoted to promoting a family atmosphere. Foul language of any sort or any obscene gestures will get those who use such escorted from the park. I have never seen such attention to maintaining a certain environment in all my life. It was refreshing.
A few years ago you would have never used the phrase "thrill ride" in conjunction with talking about Silver Dollar City. The two now go together. They have recently added several thrill rides including 2 top notch roller coasters; WildFire and Powder Keg. One drops and twists and turns through the Ozark hillside while the other launches you from 0 to 60mph in around 2 seconds and sends you on a blast over bumps and through turns. Other rides of note is the huge swinging ride called "Barn Swing" and another spinning ride call "Electro Spin." Needless to say my thrill quota was met for a while. For more details about this park and its offerings visit: www.silverdollarcity.com
One more mention goes out to Silver Dollar City. I have to tell you about the food. Now there is the standard amusement park food offerings; hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes etc. Then there is the food that really raises the bar for amusement parks elsewhere. I had some of the best barbecue around right there inside the park. It was high quality at even a reasonable price. In fact, the food prices seemed lower and more in line with normal restaurant prices versus what you normally pay for eating inside of an amusement park. And if you have a sweet tooth, they have some of the best candy and chocolate makers and bakers right there inside the park as well. We were highly impressed with the food and snack offerings so go hungry and enjoy!
Now on to where we decided to stay for the one night on this trip. I made arrangements for us to stay at Marriott's Horizon Vacation Club Resort. If you have a large family and want a place to stay where you can bring your own food and even cook if you want, this is the place to stay. Unlike most cabin or condo offerings that are outside the town area, this resort is close to everything while also being off the main street that runs by all of the different show venues. The grounds were beautiful and the rooms well appointed. You can choose to stay in one of the studio style rooms that comes equipped with a kitchenette or you can book one of their 2 bedroom, 2 bath villas that comes with a full size kitchen, living room area and even a washer and dryer. I was very impressed with the accommodations and can recommend this resort without hesitation.
You cannot go to Branson without trying to get in a music show or 2 while you are there. The concierge at the Marriott made mention of a new show that just started this past March. It is a musical walk through time from the 50's all the way through the 90's. These 2 brothers, The Rankin Brothers, do some of the best impressions of certain musicians that I have ever seen. If you were to have closed your eyes while they were singing, you would have bet your life that Buddy Holly, Simon and Garfunkel and even Elvis was on stage singing and performing. The crowd was light due to their "newbie" status in Branson, but well worth the money and I would make it a point to try to hear them again the next time we make it to Branson.
If you are interested in taking a trip to Branson and need help planning any of these activities, don't hesitate in sending me an e-mail and I would be glad to help with any or all of your plans.