Branson, Missouri has a reputation as a mecca for senior citizens. It’s true, the Live Music Capital of the World does welcome its share of silver haired tourists, but that shouldn’t deter families from visiting. There are also plenty of things to do with teens in Branson.
My husband and I recently had the opportunity to road trip from our home in Ohio to Missouri to spend several days in Branson. Though we were unable to take our teens due to conflicting work schedules, we found some attractions that they would have enjoyed.
Silver Dollar City
Adventurers began to explore Marble Cave (now Marvel Cave) in the 1880s; it opened to public tours in 1894. Popularity grew as more visitors began to explore the Ozarks. In the 1940s, the Herschends added above-ground attractions and the Silver Dollar City theme park was born.
Today Silver Dollar City boasts Outlaw Run, the world’s most daring wood roller coaster, the world’s largest collection of cookie cutters, 100 skilled craftsman, incredible shows, swinging bridges and train rides.
You’ll find your share of waterparks throughout the US, but not every park has the heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping KaPau Plummet. Intrigued? You should be. The KaPau Plummet, brand new in 2014, features a drop-floor thrill slide atop a four-story tower. Riders free fall for two-stories through slides and a spiraling loop, the most daring ride unveiled in White Water history.
Don’t worry, if thrill rides aren’t your thing, White Water offers plenty of other water attractions, including the 800-foot lazy river, and interactive family areas with slides and geysers. There’s even an area called Coconut Cove designed for smaller children.
Branson Belle Showboat
My husband and I differ in opinion on this next attraction. He says our teens would not enjoy it, while I say two of our teens, possible three, would.
My 20- year old son enjoys concerts, comedians and enjoys live entertainment, of all my kids, he’d enjoy the Branson Belle the most. My 19-year old son loves country music and there were plenty of southern tunes in this show, from some of his favorite artists, like Rascal Flatts. My 17-year old daughter is the tough one and could go either way, depending on her mood and how much patience she had left for the day. She bores easily and she’s picky. Not a great combination when you’re trying new things as a family.
While I’m not sure how my kids would react here, there was no shortage of kids and teens on the cruise who looked like they were having fun, so I’ll include the sternwheeler as a suggestion of what to do in Branson with teens.
The Branson Belle offers good food (the dessert is so yum!), is gorgeous, lively and has great entertainment. The Comedian/Magician, Christopher James is hilarious and does an amazing job of interacting and engaging the crowd, the ShowMen provide musical entertainment in a variety of genres and get the crowd clapping with “Happy,” and the aerial violinist, Janice Martin, is something to see.
The boat is propelled along Table Rock Lake so smoothly that you won’t even realize you’re moving and personally, I think it’s one of the best ways to view the lake. Which brings me to….
Ride the Ducks
Ride the Ducks offers a chance for everyone, young and old, to get their “quack” on. Armed with plastic quackers (if you desire), guests board an amphibious vehicle modeled after the machines used in World War II for a tour you’ll never forget.
The captain leads you on a brief tour of Branson, while making his way to Table Rock Lake. Along the way, you’ll learn some fun tidbits, discover a few places you may want to see or eat, drive through an open air museum of military vehicles and finally, drive straight into the lake with a splash. There’s really nothing quite like it.
The Revollutionists Magic Show
The Revollutionists are new to Branson and the show is unlike any magic show I’ve ever seen. Described as hip, bold and edgy, the show is promoted as family-friendly and fun for all ages, though I’d caution that it may be a bit intense for those under 10, due to some of the acts and make-up application of the illusionists. That said, the show contains just the right amount of thrill, intrigue and suspense for teens.
Where to Stay in Branson
My husband and I were hosted at the Grand Country Inn or should I say Grand Country Complex? This hotel has three separate buildings of rooms, an indoor waterpark, outdoor pools, mini-golf, shows, candy, ice cream, and pizza. What’s not to love? Families with younger children would be hard pressed to fit in all the activities that are offered at this resort.
Interested in visiting Branson?
Here are a few ideas from other TravelingMom writers: