Our most recent mini-trip was to Branson, MO. Branson is just a few hours from us which makes it a convenient destination for a long weekend.
If you're not familiar with Branson, it's a popular tourist destination in Southwestern Missouri. It used to feature mainly Country Music shows, but has a growing selection of diverse entertainment and is quickly becoming a favorite of our family.
The location is beautiful and is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. A lot of people are choosing to do large family reunions there because it's a central location. No matter what age or interest, you're bound to find something that excites and entertains you.
Now, I'll be honest, there are a ton of shows and attractions that are very well known and are probably considered "must sees." I'm sure some will read my Branson posts and be appalled that we didn't visit Dixie Stampede, the Ducks, or Silver Dollar City.
It can be really tempting to go on vacation and stick to the "must sees." And sometimes those are awesome experiences. And sometimes not so much. I learned that the best vacation you take is the vacation that is best for your family. So, if you don't like Country Music, or a popular restaurant doesn't serve food you can eat, or whatever the case may be, then you have permission to skip that and find something that makes sense for your family! So we did a lot of research, listened to the advice of some friends, and created a trip that was perfect for us!
We had a slow start and arrived just in time for lunch at Vaskin's Deli where they had some gluten-free options for us. We try to stick to our diet when we travel, with the exception of a few intentional indulgences.
After lunch, we had just enough time to check into our hotel and then it was time to head over to the Sight and Sound Theater. If you aren't familiar with Sight and Sound, I highly recommend you check it out! The shows are very high quality productions and are one of our personal "must sees!"
At the last show we attended, we had balcony seats and we really enjoyed those because we could see the side stages really well. This year we ended up with aisle seats down at the very front and they were so awesome! Our youngest, Gabe, was able to sit on the end so he had better visibility and he got to see the animals and actors up close whenever they'd come and go down the aisle. It was so fun!
I wasn't sure what to expect from the story because Samson is not who I think of when I think of great Bible heroes. But it was very, very well done. Inspiring and brought us to tears at the end. I love seeing the Bible brought to life!
We ate a delicious dinner at Center Stage where live music was playing and then we finished with a coffee at the attached cafe. After that we went back to the hotel to wind down and tuck in for the night.
Our first day in Branson was perfect: good show, good food, and in bed early!
What you need to know:
Tours are available an hour prior to your show, for a minimal charge! We've yet to experience this, but it sounds amazing and would add a lot to the experience so plan ahead for that.
Shows fill up fast so be sure to nab your tickets as soon as you can. Aisle seats can be really fun to smaller children - as long as they can be trusted to stay seated and keep hands and legs to themselves.
There is an intermission and drinks and snacks are sold in the lobby.
It takes a while to park. Plan to arrive with 30 minutes to spare, if not taking the tour. You'll want time to park, visit the restroom, and find your seat.
Because of the nature of the show, they are particular about not allowing guests to be in and out during show times. Also, while the shows are engaging and entertaining, it's not geared to children, per say. Be sure it's a good fit for the youngest members of your family.