Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
A trip to family-friendly Silver Dollar City amusement park in Branson, Missouri can be all fun and games if you have a game plan before heading back in time (and through the gates) to the 1880s. If you’re visiting Silver Dollar City with younger kids, one of our Traveling Moms has the full scoop on how to have a great family outing, such as which thrilling rides and attractions to skip. Want to have a successful and fun visit to Silver Dollar City with little ones in tow? Read on!
Silver Dollar City Made Simple: No-Cry Survival Guide
Branson, Missouri, is the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World,” a nickname that is sometimes also referenced when speaking about Las Vegas. But unlike “Sin City,” Branson is a bustling little town with wholesome family fun around every bend in the road. Silver Dollar City is second only to Disney if you ask me, but we, of course, encourage you to go find out for yourself! But don’t go without a little pre-planning, starting with these handy tips on how to make it a fun experience–especially if you have really young kids in tow. This is your unofficial official survival guide to the ins and outs of surviving (and enjoying) the park with kids.
Park Basics – Visiting Silver Dollar City with Kids
First of all, try to designate at least one FULL day of fun to Silver Dollar City exclusively. You can do it in a half-day, but you won’t see it all. You’ll just skim the surface really. This includes naptime in the park if you can swing it. Bring your stroller if possible, if you have kids five and under. Even if they normally hang ten with the grown-ups and can hike with the best of them, between the heat, sun, waiting, hills, and expansive nature (over 61 acres) of the park, they’ll tire faster.
Stroller rentals are available in Silver Dollar City. Singles are $15 per day and doubles are $20 per day. I recommend advance reservations because there’s no guaranteed availability without one.
Just as it’s a good idea to get to Disney for “rope drop,” I recommend getting parked and being ready at the gate when Silver Dollar City opens. Check the website and plan accordingly, as Silver Dollar City has many seasonal elements. Traffic on the road in is quite heavy around 10 a.m. so plan to be there early.
Please note COVID-19 may impact operating hours and guest experiences. TravelingMom recommends calling or visiting the Silver Dollar City website in advance of your visit.
If you live nearby or plan to spend time in the park more than once in a calendar year, season passes may be the most cost-effective for your family. Then you’re free to enjoy the summer fun as well as the world-class festivals during Christmas. Another reason to invest in a season pass it to enjoy some of the yearly events at Silver Dollar City, such as the Old Time Christmas Festival and the Bluegrass & BBQ Festival.
If you enter the park your first day after a certain time (depending on the season, sometimes it’s 3 p.m. sometimes it’s 7 p.m., so make sure to check) the next day is free. This is a great deal for families with younger kids who can’t handle a full-day visit.
There is a ton of free parking at Silver Dollar City. Preferred parking is $14. This is the option we went with, thinking that we’d save ourselves when we were tired in the afternoon sun with a little shorter walk back. We were wrong. The only way this option would be worth the money is if you get to the park late in the day. We were there around 9:30 a.m. and the free parking spots that were closest to us were only a hundred yards (if that) from our $14 spot.
Some of the basics for life with kids have been handled by the fabulous folks running and planning park operations and logistics. For instance, there are four nursing stations located throughout the park, which are featured on the Silver Dollar City map (pick one up when you come through the gates.) Nursing stations are located by the washrooms at the Hospitality House, Red Gold Heritage Hall, Geyser Gulch and The Giant Swing. They all offer a quiet, air-conditioned place to nurse, change diapers, rock sleepy babes, or attend to other motherly needs.
Stroller parking is available near every major ride or attraction in the park. We did not have any trouble with theft as we left our stroller many times unattended during our day at Silver Dollar City. Strollers will not fit easily through many of the shops in Silver Dollar City. We learned quickly that we were going to have trouble with some areas of the park due to the stroller.
You can bring your own food
Unless you are interested in run-of-the-mill “fair-style” food, bring a small cooler and some sandwiches or snacks. The park food is not anything real unique and all it really does is eat up your time and money. Turkey legs are probably the most bang for your buck behind the all-you-can-eat places when it comes to quantity of food.
Rides at Silver Dollar City – Recommendations for Parents
Although there is much to do at Silver Dollar City besides riding rides, the rides are going to be the main draw for any families visiting a theme park. Here are my family’s picks on what to ride and what to skip when you’re visiting with younger kids.
The best rides for kids at Silver Dollar City
Our favorite Silver Dollar City attraction was Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast. This ride is often overlooked for the American Plunge or Lost River of the Ozarks water rides. We got head-to-toe drenched on RiverBlast. The others left us with only damp rear ends from sitting in puddles from the last rides’ splashing.
The Frisco Silver Dollar Steam Train is a family-friendly roll through the entire park. One thing to keep in mind with this one that we were not aware of is that there is a skit in the middle of the ride that lasts ten or so minutes. The train comes to a full stop and it was difficult to keep our youngest son (then six months old) entertained during the skit, which has mild gun violence that might scare your little ones. All in all this was a nice way cool down and rest your feet while seeing the layout of most of the park.
TravelingMom Tip: Don’t miss checking out the demonstrating craftsmen! Take time to visit the resident craftsmen (over 100 of them), they will educate your kids about blacksmithing, candle making, glass blowing and so much more! You’ll feel like a time traveler that stepped back into the 1800’s as you watch these demonstrations.
Rides to Skip at Silver Dollar City if you have younger kids
Have your kids measured at the The Official Measuring Station when you first get to the park. They’ll measure your child’s height and give you a free wristband with contact information should you get separated. You also get a little printout that says which rides are off-limits for their size so you can avoid those (and avoid meltdowns.)
Rides that your younger child (preschool age) could be eligible to ride based on height might still be too much for them to handle. Our brave and adventurous four-year-old was tall enough to ride Thunderation. It his first-ever full-size roller coaster ride. It may also be his last for a long time! He was pretty petrified. The measuring station might say it’s OK but that doesn’t mean it is an appropriate thrill ride for your child.
I also recommend skipping Outlaw Run, Powder Keg and Fire in the Hole. They’re fun roller coasters but probably best-suited for older kids.
Though Silver Dollar City is surprisingly shady, Branson is pretty warm and humid in summer. Being in line for long periods, on your feet on dark asphalt adds up to overheating.
Make sure to bring a water bottle or two for each person in your group and refill them at the water fountains. The bottled water sold is expensive. There are also several misting machines around the park that can provide temporary reprieve. You can always cool off on the water rides, too.
We’re excited about the new ride Mystic River Falls (white water raft ride) scheduled to open summer of 2020. Keep in mind most of the unique shops around the park are air-conditioned, so browsing is a nice way to cool down. If you need a sit down break, you can also check out one of the live shows.
Entrance into Marvel Cave is free with your admission fee, although reservations are required. Silver Dollar City is built on a cave and Marvel Cave is a fun place to explore. However, there are lots of steep steps and some darkness involved so use your best judgement when taking your kids. Children under eight must be accompanied by an adult.
Using some or all of these tips, you can provide for some of the little details that can make or break a trip that you might have otherwise forgotten to attend to. We learned firsthand that these little details are worth noting and planning ahead to avoid mid-day meltdowns.
TravelingMom Tip: While visiting Branson, Missouri try booking tickets for the Showboat Branson Belle show. Seeing a music show while sailing on a real riverboat is another fun experience for the entire family!