Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.
Exciting theme parks, outdoor recreation and over-the-top family entertainment? Might sound like ever-popular Orlando, but it’s actually the Midwest’s lesser known, kid-centric family destination, Branson, Missouri. This all-season destination in the Ozark Mountains has so much going on, you’ll run out of days before you run out of things to do. From family-friendly dinner shows to thrilling zip lines to mind-boggling mini-golf, here’s a list of the top 10 things your entire family will love, sharing good times and making lasting memories.
Escape to Silver Dollar City, the ultimate family destination
Don’t miss the granddaddy of all amusement parks, Silver Dollar City. This 1880s-style theme park lets you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Hop on more than 40 thrilling rides, enjoy award-winning live shows, and watch artisans demonstrate America’s heritage crafts like furniture-making, glass blowing, and woodworking. Best part is, you can even bring home that really cool souvenir you watched them create. If you dare, ride the new Mystic River Falls water ride with the largest drop in the Western hemisphere. The fun is rounded out with down home dining and specialty shopping.
Catch the fun at Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure
Kids will love exploring this interactive and educational habitat as they head into a magical indoor rainforest. At Butterfly Palace, tropical plants, birds, and reptiles surround more than 1,000 live exotic butterflies. Give the kiddos an opportunity to help live butterflies get released for their first flight. Other learning activities include the 3D Video, “Flight of the Butterflies, ” Great Banyan Tree Adventure, Mirror Maze, and Rainforest Science Center.
Go wild at the Branson Promised Land Zoo
Discover the many ways to see and interact with the animals at Branson Promised Land Zoo. In this 9-acre park, you can drive through in your own vehicle, take a tram tour, or walk the paths on their Foot Safari. No matter what you decide, you’ll experience lions, tigers, antelope, kangaroos, and lemurs—oh my! Get the thrill of a lifetime as you get up close to feed a giraffe or sloth.
Explore the Shepherd of the Hills for outdoor drama and family adventure
Imagine an outdoor playground filled with exciting rides, a historic farm, and live theater at Shepherd of the Hills. Showcasing a stage as large as a football field, the main event is a live, under-the-stars production of its namesake novel. The show stars a cast of more than 90, along with horses, donkeys and other live animals. Share the memories at dinner theater shows, ziplining off Inspiration Tower, navigating the ropes course, and other activities as you gaze out on the spectacular Ozark Mountains. Little ones will love Lil’ Pete’s Playland with a classic petting zoo, treehouse, rope bridge, and mini-golf.
Encounter the natural beauty of the Ozarks at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Enjoy the great outdoors with myriad adventures at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Go trout fishing, hiking, biking or choose your own horseback riding adventure. Experience what the early settlers saw in this pristine wilderness. Don’t miss the Wildlife tram tour where you’ll spot American bison, elk, whitetail deer, and Texas longhorn.
See the Bible come to life at Sight & Sound Theatres
Those of the Christian faith, as well as anyone with an appreciation for good storytelling, will enjoy one of Sight & Sound Theatres‘ memorable performances. Watch dramatizations of Bible stories that make you feel like you are experiencing ancient stories firsthand. With incredible technology, live animals walking through the aisles or on stage, as well as impressive surround-sound speakers, the show will engages audiences young and old alike. Now through the end of the year, the theater presents the inspiring life of “JESUS.” Each show is two-and-a-half hours with a 15 minute intermission.
Take flight at Fritz’s Adventure/Fritz’s Aerodium
Get your adrenaline pumping as you experience more than a dozen exhilarating activities designed for both adults and kids at Fritz’s Adventure. Indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls, a ropes course, laser maze, and underground tunnels let you take the challenge. Scale up their building for exquisite views of the Ozarks, or get suited up for a unique flying experience at Fritz’s Aerodium where you’ll feel the thrill of skydiving in a safe, protected environment.
Touch a real iceberg at the Titanic Museum
Take the self-guided Titanic Museum tour and see more than 400 artifacts that showcase the journey of the ill-fated luxury liner. This interactive, hands-on experience lets you follow the fate of an actual passenger, try to stand on the deck as it becomes a sliding slope, feel the 28-degree water, and admire the grandeur of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase. The highlight is sitting in a lifeboat as you listen to haunting stories of real passengers.
Step lively at Dolly Parton’s Dinner Stampede
Come hungry because this four-course feast is just the start of your memorable evening at Dolly Parton Dinner Stampede. Before the show even begins, visit the Horse Walk and pick your favorites from the 32 magnificent horses. Ooh and aah at the skilled riders who tell an All-American story. Be amazed at the stunts, special effects, and musical numbers in this exhilarating production.
Go BIG at Bigfoot Fun Park
Mini-golf is king in Branson with more than a two dozen courses at resorts and amusement centers. Bigfoot Fun Park takes it up a notch with a whole day of fun and excitement. At Bigfoot Adventure Golf, search for footprints through a giant cave that glows and see animals that light up. Players even have to follow the trail on stairs. Thrill to a 200-foot drop on the Bigfoot Gravity Bomb, or navigate the maze in the Yeti Fun Zone & Monkey Jump. Get game with 3D glasses and interactive movies in the 8Di Action Cinemas.
All photos courtesy of Explore Branson.com.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.