College of the Ozarks is known as Hard Work U where students can go tuition free! After inquiring further we were told that about 500 students are on full work scholarships. Most of the students work fifteen hours a week and do pay some tuition. Others also work full time during the summer to help offset costs, but all of the students do in fact work. I found myself wishing I could have attended college there!
After we explored The Keeter Center and ate lunch in Dobyn’s Dining room, we headed to the Ralph Foster Museum. At the front desk in the Keeter Center we inquired and were given a map of the college with all of the points of interest marked, so we knew exactly where to go.
When things in Branson begin to delve too deeply into the pocketbook head to College of the Ozarks! The Ralph Foster Museum is $6 per adult and kids 18 and under are free! There are three floors. This is NOT a dinky little museum! The Ralph Foster Museum is dedicated to the history of the Ozarks region.
Inside and near the entrance of the museum is a Hands On Children’s Discovery Room. It is geared for children ages 4-9, but they let all of us inside to explore as a family. The boys especially liked the animals. They got to pet the guinea pigs and loved looking at the turtles.
The kids loved walking in this cabin set up like it might have been years ago. My husband was reading the sign in the back and proclaimed that the man married his second wife the same day as his first wife’s funeral! My first thought was, “Well this is Ozark history!” But in closer reading of the signs we realized that wasn’t the case. We had a good laugh about the whole thing though!
My children also enjoyed looking at all the animals. This was on the second floor where there are mostly guns. Jason and I walked around commenting on various guns while the children tagged along. Little Jason didn’t say anything until he came upon a high powered tank gun and proclaimed, “I want THIS gun!”
As we were walking around the third floor, the kids began to get a little tired so to help keep their interest we would excitedly say, “Look a…” and explain what it was. Little Jason just followed along wide eyed until he happened on this tree and proclaimed, “Look, Mom, it’s a cut in half tree with words on it!”
Our next stop at College of the Ozarks was the Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen. The day we were there was the first day of the new semester so the new students were in orientation. They weren’t making fruitcake and jelly that day, but someone still walked us through how they make everything. They gave us free samples as well!
There are also many other points of interest to explore at the college. All together we spent about five or six hours there. All us enjoyed the day. I would highly recommend spending some time at College of the Ozarks on your next visit to Branson.