If Missouri is the Show Me State, Branson should be the capital. Visitors to the city can get up close and personal with animals from tigers to butterflies, ride roaring roller coasters or vintage railways, climb aboard the Titanic, pose with Elvis, explore a cave, and attend any one of over 100 live shows—all in an afternoon. With so much to check out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t worry, we’ve done the legwork for you. Check out our list of places you can’t miss while you’re in town:
- The Titanic Museum The Titanic Museum offers visitors to learn more about the passengers of the ill-fated ship (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
Landlocked Missouri may seem an unlikely destination for those seeking to climb aboard a 442-foot-long passenger liner, but the city of Branson doesn’t let small details like the absence of an ocean get in the way of entertainment. Here (bobbing atop a slightly smaller body of water) you’ll find a half-scale replica of the RMS Titanic, complete with over 400 artifacts and close biographical sketches of the ill-fated travelers. Make sure to pay close attention to the latter: when visitors enter the museum, they are assigned the role of an actual passenger aboard the Titanic, and only when they leave do they discover if they escape the disaster alive.Branson’s Titanic Museum is housed within a half-scale replica of the ship itself (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
- Live Shows 76 Country Blvd offers over 100 live shows, including the Acrobats of China (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
No trip to Branson would be complete without taking a stroll through the neon glow of 76 Country Blvd entertainment district, home to Branson’s famous theater scene and a jaw-dropping menu of over 100 live shows. With everything from Acrobats of China to hoop-jumping poodles, light shows to country comedy, and concerts featuring original scores, a capella groups, and legendary tribute bands, it’s no wonder that Branson has been named the Live Entertainment Capital of the World.
- The National Tiger Sanctuary The National Tiger Sanctuary provides a safe-haven for twenty-five big cats, including this African Lion, Merlin (photo courtesy of the National Tiger Sanctuary)
When was the last time you were three feet away from an African Lion? Don’t leave Branson without stopping to check out the National Tiger Sanctuary, a safe-haven for over twenty-five exotic cats (and a few, slightly cuddlier, domestic ones) including Bengal and Siberian Tigers, leopards, and lions, and more. Here, you can visit (and even feed!) a fantastic array of felines, all while supporting a good cause; the Sanctuary’s tenants are rescues, taken from unfit living conditions. The National Tiger Sanctuary allows visitors to get within three feet of panthers, tigers, and jaguars (photo courtesy of the National Tiger Sanctuary)
- The Hollywood Wax Museum The Hollywood Wax Museum is home to some of Hollywood’s biggest names (photo courtesy of Mike D)Elvis lives!—along with John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and Charlie Chaplin—at Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum. This 15,000-square-foot wax emporium is filled with meticulously rendered representations of some of the most famous folks in entertainment history, providing ample opportunity for fans to snuggle up next to their favorite actors, profess undying devotion to childhood idols, or snap a selfie with a film legend.
Each of the characters in the Hollywood Wax Museum takes about three months to make (photo courtesy of the Hollywood Wax Museum)
- The Ozarks Branson, Missouri is nestled in the middle of some of the prettiest country our nation has to offer (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
It’s easy to get lost in the bright lights of the theater district; fortunately, those looking for a bit of quiet don’t have to go far to find it. Branson lies in the heart of the Ozarks; travel just a few miles down the road, and you’ll find yourself in some of the prettiest country our nation has to offer. Hike the trails to find clear, spring-fed rivers, brilliant swaths of wildflowers, and rocky bluffs, or make your way to Table Rock Lake to spend the afternoon swimming, skiing, or fishing in the sun-dappled waters. Visitors to Branson can paddle-board, kayak, fish, or swim in the numerous rivers and lakes (photo courtesy of The Missouri Division of Tourism)
- The Butterfly Palace Branson’s Butterfly Palace hosts over one thousand tropical butterflies (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
If indoor gardens are more your style, make sure to stop by Branson’s Butterfly Palace, a 7000-square-foot, fully-immersive natural environment where you can walk beneath the rainbow flutter of over one thousand live tropical butterflies. Closer to the ground, you’ll find a colorful collection of reptiles and amphibians–frogs, geckos, and even scorpions–ensuring that there is always something to catch the eye. Branson’s Butterfly Palace gives visitors the opportunity to view a rainbow of tropical butterflies in their natural habitat (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
- Talking Rock CavernTalking Rock Cavern was discovered in the late 1800’s, and continues to awe visitors today (photo courtesy of Nikonian Novice)
When Truman Powell first stumbled upon Branson’s Talking Rock Cavern in the late 1800’s, he dubbed it a “subterranean fairy land,” and there’s little wonder why. The same breathtaking formations–glistening arcs and mounds, bottomless hollows and great, arching ceilings–that inspired Powell still await anyone willing to descend the steep incline into the caves. Fortunately for us, tour guides ensure that we have more than a candle to light the way.The caves of Talking Rock Cavern are a “subterranean fairy land” (photo courtesy of Nikonian Novice)
- Branson Scenic RailwayBranson’s Scenic Railway offers visitors the opportunity to see the natural splendor of the Ozarks from the cabin of a vintage train car (photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau)
Set against the brilliant green carpet of Missouri’s foothills, Branson’s Scenic Railway offers visitors the chance to indulge in the breathtaking beauty of the Ozarks from the comfort of an antique railcar. Pick up the Ozark Zephyr—a vintage, diesel-powered locomotive—at the Historic Branson Depot, make yourself comfortable in the cozy 1930–60’s cabins, then sit back, and enjoy the ride.
- Check out the Wine SceneBranson’s Stone Hill Winery offers visitors the opportunity to sample their unique wines (photo courtesy of Stone Hill Winery)
Though Missouri might not be the first state to come to mind when you think about the country’s viticultural hotspots, the late 1800’s found Missouri producing more wine than any other state, and the memory of those vineyards lives on today in Branson. With long, hot, humid summers, the area is perfect for the cultivation of Norton, Concord, and Catawba grapes, all of which find their way into small-batch bottles from dry and bold to thick and sweet. Stop in for a quick tasting or a relaxing tour; you won’t be disappointed.
- Silver Dollar City Silver Dollar City is modeled after an 1880’s mining town (photo courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism)
Don’t let appearances fool you: Silver Dollar City is far more than roller coasters and water rides. The theme park began accessory attraction, an authentic “mining village” for visitors to explore, while waiting to tour Branson’s Marvel Cave. As Silver Dollar City’s popularity grew, so did its size, until it came to be the 100-acre, 1880’s themed wonderland that it is today. With over forty rides, forty shows, live demonstrations with artisans from glassblowers to candymakers, and culinary and craft schools, Silver Dollar City is the perfect destination for those who like their thrills with a side of history. Silver Dollar City hosts a wide range of artisans, including blacksmiths, potters, and furniture makers (photo courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism)
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