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Branson, Missouri is a Midwest entertainment destination for all ages, especially for families visiting with children from toddlers to teenagers. The setting in the Ozark Mountains is beautiful year-round, and thrill rides, museums, outdoor adventures, dozens of restaurants, and a full schedule of musicians, acrobats, magicians, and murder mysteries ensure there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
The writer was hosted.
Branson Attractions for Young Children
Branson Ferris Wheel
The Branson Ferris Wheel has no age limits but does require at least one adult for every two children under 12 years of age. It is in continuous motion but goes slowly enough to easily step on and off.
The Ferris wheel is extremely sturdy and proudly claims to weigh more than 65 space shuttles. It offers a great view of Branson and can be seen from many angles as you drive around town.
Read More: Best Branson Resorts for Families
Branson Dinosaur Museum
The Branson Dinosaur Museum features 45 life-size dinosaurs crafted by specialists who used authentic dinosaur bones to form the molds.
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Here, you will want to plan ahead and wear red or bright colors to attract butterflies in the Exotic Butterfly Aviary.
In the Living Rainforest Science Center, kids will have fun petting a lizard, and in the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, adults should go with the youngest visitors to help navigate what could be somewhat disorienting.
This, as well as the vast majority of Branson attractions, is family friendly.
This zoo is spread out over 75 acres and is ranked among the Top 25 Zoos in the United States. You can observe the animals during a Foot Safari, a Drive-Thru Safari or in the Parakeet Paradise.
TravelingMom Tip: Upgrade your ticket to a VIP+ Experience so your kids have the opportunity to touch and feed several of the animals during the guided tour.
Over a million toys are on display at the World’s Largest Toy Museum. With so much nostalgia on the shelves, this is a great place to share the toys of your own childhood with your kids or grandkids.
Teenager-Approved Things to Do in Branson
Silver Dollar City is a must-visit theme park in Branson suitable for the whole family. There are a number of rides for the younger set, but our teenage grandkids headed straight to the rollercoasters and water rides.
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Time Traveler is arguably the most intimidating, but Thunderation, Mighty Galleon, PowderKeg, and Outlaw Run also got two thumbs up from my teenage grands.
We all rode Mystic River Falls together, and they loved it when I (Grandmomma) got drenched.
The shops, eateries, craftspeople, and live music shows are attractive and fun, but the rides are where the older grandchildren want to spend their time.
This amusement park has an 1880s theme, there’s lots of shade, and it provides a great multigenerational getaway. It is the undisputed top attraction.
Traveling Mom Tip: Be sure to take advantage of the lockers near the water rides for keeping purses, wallets, and cell phones safe. Also, once you are soaking wet, you’ll be happy to spend $5 for several minutes of intense, warm air blowing from the dryers where you stand and happily begin to recover from the hilarious ride.
Food at Silver Dollar City
The World Famous Cinnamon Bread at Clara Bell’s is incredible. Devour a loaf on the spot and take another back to your condo for later. You’ll thank me for this suggestion.
White Water at Silver Dollar City
TravelingMom Heidi Gollub says her kids burned off steam running from water slides to wave pool to lazy river at White Water, Silver Dollar City’s 13-acre water park.
Three-day passes are available, allowing you to squeeze in a few hours of tubing, racing or splashing, whenever you have time to spare.
This charming experience can best be enjoyed by adults and grandchildren at least 12 and older. It is a wonderful way to spend an evening.
For one price, you are served a three-course dinner and two and a half hours of world class entertainment in a professional quality live show. The boat itself is beautiful, as is the scenery on Table Rock Lake.
Check the website for cruises. Some seasons offer lunch cruises or two different dinner schedules.
Traveling Mom Tip: Upgrade to the Captain’s Club tickets for early boarding, prime seating in the balcony, and a menu to choose the dishes for your three-course meal. We had those tickets and appreciated feeling pampered and special.
This museum is full of artifacts salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic, as well as many informative displays and exhibits. Headphones allow you to move through the museum at your own pace.
The passengers on board and the events of that fateful night come to life in this moving, educational, interactive experience. The gift shop in this museum has many items that are perfect souvenirs of your visit.
The college is a short drive from Branson. If your teens are beginning to think about choosing a college, a tour of the campus and lunch at the Keeter Center could well steer them in this direction. Our teen grandchildren declared their meal at the center to be the best of the trip.
It is a small but very impressive place, and the students on campus are friendly and eager to answer questions. The Ralph Foster Museum on campus is a treasure trove of information about the Ozarks region.
Traveling Mom Tip: Order ice cream for dessert. Cows are grown and milked on campus, and the resulting ice cream is exceptional.
There are not enough superlatives to describe a production at Sight & Sound Theater. The focus is on bringing Bible stories to life, and the sets, costumes, staging, acting, lighting and special effects top even the grandest show on Broadway.
The entire audience sat spellbound for the entire performance. It is an absolute must-go experience when you’re in Branson.
Fun for All Ages in Branson
If you travel to Branson with children ranging from toddlers to teenagers and even have a grandparent or two in your group, there are still other places to visit that cater to multiple ages.
Branson Scenic Railway
The Branson Scenic Railway is a great way to spend a couple of hours. You will begin at the depot near Lake Taneycomo.
The scenery outside is captivating but wandering through each of the refurbished cars on the train is equally entertaining. Be sure to check the website for schedules, which vary by season.
This museum provides a great backdrop for photos with figures who look remarkably like famous people.
Inside the museum, the Castle of Chaos is fun for ages 4 and up, Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors will help you find your best side, and Shoot for the Stars mini-golf will bring out your competitive spirit.
Branson’s Alpine mountain coaster is a thrill ride where you can have two in one sled, such as an adult and a child, or choose to go solo as you careen through the forest, somewhat in control of your own speed.
This indoor adventure park offers a ropes course, a climbing wall, and scavenger hunt, and much more. In fact, 19 of the areas are specifically geared to young children, while others have a height requirement of at least 48 inches.
The Track Family Fun Parks offer go-karts, arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars and more depending on which of the tracks you visit.
Check the website to find the one that has activities your group will most enjoy.
Traveling Mom tip: Fuel Fresh American Grill at Track 4 has great kid-friendly food. The burgers are exceptional.
More Ways to Have Fun in Branson
Other possibilities for fun and entertainment include:
- Dinner and live entertainment at Dolly Parton’s Stampede
- The Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama and Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery
- Outdoor activities such as biking and hiking at Table Rock State Park and Lake Taneycomo
- Hitting the links at a golf course
- Exploring Marvel Cave and Talking Rocks Cavern,
- Checking out Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Window-shopping and sightseeing in downtown Branson
- Cooling off at one of Branson’s seven water parks
- Playing hard at Bigfoot Fun Park on Highway 76
- Hiking a nature trail to the spectacular waterfalls
- Kayaking the white water rivers and streams
- Determining what‘s inside the Wonderworks Upside Down Museum
- Delving into history at the Veterans Memorial Museum.
Shopping and many restaurant options are also available at Branson Landing, which is in itself a notable Branson attraction.
Family-Friendly Branson Restaurants
If you want someone else to do the cooking, Branson has plenty of great restaurants that cater to families. My grandchildren especially liked catching (and devouring) rolls at Fall Creek Steak & Catfish House, also known as the “home of the tossed rolls.” Every 10 minutes or so, a server comes out with a large bowl of rolls, hot out of the oven. Patrons raise their hands to get the server’s attention and prepare to catch their delicious prizes.
At Grandma’s Café on West 76 Country Boulevard, pancakes are the size of dinner plates. On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, Grandma’s is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but on the remaining four days, the restaurant closes at 3 p.m.
Billy Gail’s Cafe was Heidi’s family’s go-to restaurant while in Branson. Her kids begged to go back each morning and she was happy to oblige. The portions are humongous—the pancakes are so huge they don’t fit on your plate—and the coffee is flowing. There’s almost always a wait, but it’s worth it. The restaurant is only open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where to Stay in Branson
Accommodation options in Branson range from resorts to standard hotel rooms to cabins, condos, B & Bs, and vacation homes. Whatever the size and the preferences of your family, Branson has what you need, but be sure to make your reservations as early as possible for the best selection.
My husband and I visited Branson with two teenage grandchildren. It was great to find a condo that had enough bedrooms and bathrooms to give all of us space and privacy. I can enthusiastically recommend Pointe Royale Resort. You can book accommodations and rentals through the website or by going to Airbnb.com or Vrbo.com.
Feeding hungry kids is also a primary consideration. By booking a condo, cabin, or house, you can bring groceries from home or buy them in Branson, eat without having to dress up and save some money in the process.
My grandchildren and I only had three days in Branson but could have easily been happily entertained for a week or more. I highly recommend this city for a wonderful family vacation.
Use this interactive map to help you find a place to stay in the area.