We had so much fun on our Branson vacation! Here are some tips I learned about enjoying Branson with kids:
1. Lodging–There are so many timeshare condos in the Branson area that you can rent cheaply for a week especially if you don’t go in peak season. We stayed at a beautiful two bedroom cottage for seven nights for $294 total including tax. Ya can’t beat that! These are especially economical if you have a large family. It took us about 7-10 minutes to get to the strip in Branson so it wasn’t far out either. We loved it and hope to go back. If you’d rather stay in a hotel consider Priceline.com. In an area like that where the hotels are so competitive you can get incredible rates by naming your own price.
2. Silver Dollar City–If you’re going to be in Branson for a week with kids, I recommend getting a season pass for both Silver Dollar City Parks. That way you can come and go to the parks when you want to. Also, the Showboat cruise tickets were $25 for season ticket holders when we were there which is a huge discount! As I kept grilling the family about what was our favorite part of our trip at least one of the Silver Dollar City attractions came up for each member of our family. My 7 and 4 year olds both said White Water was their favorite attraction.
3. Plan ahead and arrive early. Explore Branson is a great site to use to help plan your trip. There are coupons, but I love the itinerary planner that shows the show schedules for each day to help choose the best plan for each day. Most of the shows have pre-shows that you won’t want to miss. We didn’t realize how early we needed to arrive and were disappointed to miss a couple of the pre-shows. The strip in Branson where most of the shows are located gets incredibly congested in the evenings around the show times. That’s another good reason to plan to arrive to your show early. Also have a map or GPS handy if you get caught in the jam. We ended up finding side roads that quickly took us around the traffic.
4. Attend kid friendly shows. I think all the shows in Branson are family friendly, but I mean kid friendly. I went for shows that were highly entertaining. With several little kids, I’m here to tell you, if they aren’t enjoying a show it’s going to be tough to enjoy it yourself. We also gave each child a few dollars spending money each day that they could spend on snacks at the shows. We would make them wait until the intermission and then they would have a snack for the second half. It gave them something to look forward to and gave them something to do to keep them busy the second half.
We voted Amazing Pets the best show for little kids. We all loved the show, but my two little boys ages 1 and 4 were enthralled the entire time. It also starts at 10:00 am when they are in a good mood and alert.
For the girls, Jason, and I, our favorite show was Joseph at Sight & Sound Theaters. It is spectacular. We want to go back and see all the shows at Sight and Sound.
The Hamner Barber Show is another one of our favorites. Sadly the last Hamner Barber Show will be December 14, 2013. Make it if you can! Hamner’s Unbelievable begins March 11th. I’m excited to see what is in store for the new show. I’d love to know what is in store for Jim Barber. I LOVED his ventriloquism!
5. Take advantage of free stuff. We visited Table Rock State Park and Lakeshore trail and it was beautiful, but there were many more places like this to go hiking, boating, and fishing that we didn’t have a chance to explore. Tour the College of the Ozarks. No really, I mean it! There are so many neat things to explore there and most are free. There is just a nominal fee for the museum. This is so fun AND educational! Also check out the fountain shows and shopping at Branson Landing.
6. Don’t forget the food! Even if you plan on cooking in your cabin part of the time, you won’t want to miss these three restaurants: Lambert’s Cafe Home of Throwed Rolls is about 30 minutes drive from Branson, but well worth it. At Mel’s Hard Luck Diner be served by famous singers and enjoy their music while you eat. You’ll be sorry if you miss eating at The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks–homemade and homegrown everything, besides the beautiful atmosphere and surroundings. The dinner shows are also so much fun. I already mentioned the Showboat Branson Belle, another favorite was the Dixie Stampede!
I’ve mentioned our best of the best favorites above, but we also enjoyed:
The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead Tour
Sons of the Pioneers Chuck Wagon Supper
The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama
We thought of this as our one time family vacation to Branson, but there is so much to do in the Branson area, and we had so much fun that we want to go back. My husband was dying to go on The Price is Right Live! What else did we miss? Are there other attractions that are on your favorites list?
Just sent this post to a friend who is spending Christmas in Branson! Thanks for the tips.