Have you always wanted to visit the breathtaking beauty of the Ozark Mountains with your large family, but don’t have a clue where to start? My big family loves Branson! I’ve compiled my top 10 things to do in Branson, MO to help you start planning your next family vacation to this magnificent destination.
1. Silver Dollar City
My favorite place to visit in the Ozark Mountains is Silver Dollar City. It is a theme park, yes. But it is so much more than that. It has a hometown feel to it, that no other theme park offers. It serves home-cooked meals and has breathtaking views. You will find friendly staff, safe rides, and a clean environment. I have never been to a theme park quite like Silver Dollar City. It is fun for all ages. *Remember this park is in the mountains, so it can be quite hilly walking around. However, there are plenty of places to rest. Truly, a family fun experience is waiting for you at Silver Dollar City.
Tip: Silver dollar city Campground Cabins & RVs offer cabins that sleep six. Amenities include a playground, free wi-fi, and free park shuttle.
2. Marvel Cave
This one goes along with Silver Dollar City since it is located near the entrance. However, Marvel Cave is an experience like no other. You can bring toddlers/babies with you, but the ground is sloped and slippery, and it does get pitch black at times. That being said, I have brought babies and toddlers with me and we all made it out safe and sound. It was tiring, but amazing. Getting to explore a real cave with your family is a fascinating experience not everyone gets to enjoy. This cave is included with your Silver Dollar City ticket, so that saves you some money, which you can use to purchase funnel cake or ice cream!
3. Silver Dollar City’s White Water
If you are visiting Branson, MO between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and want a place to cool off, head over to White Water. White Water is a waterpark owned by Silver Dollar City (you can purchase combined tickets with Silver Dollar City for a discount). It has a lazy river, wave pool, splash pads, and waterslides. No matter what kind of water fun you are looking for, they have it at White Water. Cool off and get waterlogged at this fun waterpark.
4. Dolly Parton’s Stampede
If you or someone in your family loves horses, live shows, and food, then Dolly Parton’s Stampede is the place for you! You will be seated in a huge arena, and eat a delicious filling meal while you watch an amazing live-action horse show. It’s fun for the whole family, and there is not a bad seat in the house. So don’t feel like you have to splurge on premium seats in order to enjoy the show. We brought our family ages 2-adults and we all had a blast. My son (12) still talks about how delicious the food was and how much fun he had at this event. It is well worth the price of the ticket for such a unique and exciting experience.
5. Sight and Sound Theatre
If you love live shows this is one of the best live show productions around. From the acting to the animals, the set designs, and the singing, you will be blown away by the entire performance. There are a variety of productions shown at this theater throughout the year. Currently, they are performing Samson. It is truly an unforgettable experience. If you want to enhance your outdoor theater experience, you may also purchase a behind the scenes tour. This performance will be an unforgettable experience for the whole family!
6. Table Rock Dam
When you picture the Ozarks, I’m sure you imagine beautiful sweeping mountain views. Table Rock Dam is one of those places where the views are just breathtaking. On one side of the dam, you have Dewey Short Visitor Center, where you have (free) interactive water safety exhibits to explore. Drive across the dam and you have the view of the pouring water and the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery (also free). This is a fun place to let the kids run around exploring nature. However, there is no guard rail on the water, so watch little ones very closely. You can take a self-guided tour of the hatchery or just enjoy the sound of rushing water flowing from the dam.
7. Promised Land Zoo
If you have a family of animal lovers, then a visit to Promised Land Zoo is in order. This zoo has walking and driving trails and is open 7 days a week, so no matter when you are in town, this place will be waiting for you (*closed November 28, December 6 and December 25.). It is on the smaller size, but where else can you feed a kangaroo or lemur?
8. Titanic Museum
One thing I love about this museum is that it is autism-friendly. Every Thursday at 8:30 am, the museum opens early for people with autism and their families. You have to make reservations in advance for this activity, but what a wonderful opportunity to offer to families. The Titanic Museum is geared towards older children 8-adults, because of its tragic history. Young children may find this museum boring, so take that into consideration if you visit. There is a lot of reading involved. You are given a character card, so at the end of the tour, you will see if your character lived or died. It is a solemn museum, but an experience you will surely remember.
9. Fritz’s Adventure
This is the place to visit on a cold winter day or a rainy spring afternoon. Fritz’s Adventure is a huge indoor facility full of fun, energy-burning activities for the whole family. Kids 42” or higher, and adults that are kids at heart will have a blast climbing, sliding, and exploring mazes and tunnels. You can bring toddlers, but that is more work than fun for mom and dad! For an extra fee, they have an outdoor skydiving-like experience for ages 4+. You get to experience the feel of free falling without having to jump out of an airplane! If you have a high energy bunch, this is the place for you!
*Shoes are required to visit Fritz’s, no flip flops or high heels allowed.
10. Lambert’s Cafe
This one is not technically inside Branson, per se, (it’s in Ozark, MO about 25 min away) but it is an icon of the Ozarks. Lambert’s Cafe, Home of the Throwed Rolls. Literally. They throw hot, fresh rolls at you! This place gets packed fast, so I recommend arriving when it opens. We arrived at 10:45 am and got seated right away. Within 15 minutes the place was PACKED! The food is delicious and the serving sizes are filling. They come around with all you can eat side items, but the best part is the hot-out-of-the-oven rolls that they throw to you from across the room. My kids enjoy trying to catch the rolls and love eating them even more. This is a restaurant your kids will talk about long after your vacation ends.
I hope this list helps you decide some activities to do the next time you visit the beautiful Ozark Mountains in Branson, MO!