Branson with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Lorri Cardwell-Casey, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 13th 2010 06:06 PM

TEXT SIZE:

AAA

Alamy

Maybe you're planning an affordable family trip with your kids to Branson, or maybe you're meeting your extended family for a reunion. Maybe you have no idea what to expect in Branson. But with numerous theme park attractions, over 50 top theatres, fantastic shopping, hiking opportunities, and three local lakes, there's more than enough to keep everyone in the family occupied and entertained.

Your kids may not be big enough for the roller coasters, zip lining, or music shows, but the best thing about Branson is that you can customize your day or trip according to your interests or your children's ages.
There are many great hotels that cater to families on vacation with kids in Branson. What could be more fun than staying at a hotel with a water park? Kids of all ages love staying at the Castle Rock Resort & Waterpark, which offers several different types of rooms to cater to every traveler's needs. The Tower Suites sleep up to eight and feature internal access to the park. Young children will love sleeping in the unique Kiddy Coves with bunk beds and their own television!

Castle Rock Resort
3001 Green Mountain Drive
888.273.3919

Another great place to stay with kids is the Lodge at Timber Ridge and Splashatorium, which offers two-bedroom units with a kitchen and Jacuzzi and houses the indoor and outdoor Splashatorium, a 10,000-square-foot water park, as well as mini-golf, a playground, and a live theatre.

Lodge at Timber Ridge and Splashatorium
200 Foot Hill Court
800.590.0155


Morning


Begin the day in your hotel's restaurant with a solid, healthy breakfast: milk or yogurt, fresh fruit, 100% juice, oatmeal or whole-grain toast with peanut butter or eggs. Everyone is now happy and ready for a day full of adventure and fun!

Head over to Silver Dollar City for a full day of things to do for everyone in the family. If you have smaller children, head for the Grand Exposition Area, which is home to 10 family rides including the Ladybugs, Wings of Wonder, and the Elephant March. With a parent, older ones will love the Magnificent Wave Carousel and Racing Regatta. Play in the water on Tom & Huck's RiverBlast at Geyser Gulch – but be prepared to get wet! Promise a stop at Brown's Candy Factory for a candy stick. If little ones get tired of walking, stroller rentals are available just beside the entry gates at the SDC Attractions Reservations Center.

Silver Dollar City
399 Silver Dollar City Parkway
800.475.9370
Hours and ticket prices vary; please see website for details


Afternoon


Over a dozen family-friendly restaurants are located throughout Silver Dollar City and include everything from indoor, buffet style restaurants to outdoor cafes. A favorite is the House of Chicken and Fixins, located on Main Street (H6 on the map).

After lunch, follow the squeals and splashes and spend the afternoon at White Water. Take your little ones to Little Squirts Waterworks and Splash Island. For family fun, visit RainTree Island, the Lazy River, and Surfquake (keep tots close-by when those waves start). There will be less stress all-around if kids wear life vests, water shoes, disposable swim diapers, and plenty of sunscreen. Don't forget the sunglasses, hats, snacks, sippy cups, towels, and dry clothes. Consider renting a locker or reserving a Cool Cabana ($100) or Family Cabana ($125) in advance. Special packages range from $120-$165. If time allows, visit Branson Landing and watch The Fountains show, which has water cannons, geysers, lights, and music. Hourly and half-hourly shows are performed noon-10:30PM, and the show was designed by the company that created shows for Orlando's Disney® and Universal, as well as Las Vegas's Bellagio.

White Water
3505 West Highway 76
800.475.9370
Hours and ticket prices vary; please see website for details


If the weather is bad outside, don't fret - there are plenty of other fun things to do indoors when on a family vacation with kids in Branson. Don't miss the Kirby Van Burch Magic Show to see astonishing disappearing acts, huge allusions, and exotic animals! Everyone in the family will enjoy the Amazing Pets show at the Grand Country Music Hall. If you have a dinosaur lover in the family, be sure to visit Branson's Dinosaur Museum to see exhibits including life-size dinosaur sculptures, giant sea lizards, flying reptiles, and replicas of bones, skulls, and skeletons of ancient prehistoric creatures. The museum also has a movie theatre showing high-def educational films as well as hands-on activities (a dinosaur fossil dig!) for children of all ages.

Kirby Van Burch Magic Show
2353 State Highway 248
877.223.7959
Hours and ticket prices vary; please see website for details

Amazing Pets Show
1945 West Highway 76
888.506.6278
Hours: Shows daily at 10AM March, May, June, July, August and December
Admission: $29 for adults, $15 for children 4-17 and free for children 3 and under

Dinosaur Museum
2020 West Highway 76
417.335.8739
Hours: Open daily at 9AM
Admission: $9.95 for adults, $8.95 for children 4-12

Choo-choo! Any train lovers? Ride Silver Dollar City's Frisco Silver Dollar steam-train, where kids will learn how to holler, "Howdy, folks!" Or, you can ride on the Branson Scenic Railway. Heads-up: this 1 hour and 45 minute trip may feel long; think about scheduling during naptime. Even better: November-December, it turns into The Polar Express! Kids wear jammies, meet Santa Claus, sing carols, enjoy hot cocoa/treats, and receive a small gift.

Branson Scenic Railway
206 East Main Street
800.287.2462
Hours vary; please see website for details
Admission: $24.50 for adults 13 and up, $14 for children 3-12


Evening


With so many things to do in Branson with kids, it's hard to decide what your family will love best. But a family vacation here wouldn't be complete without dinner and a show at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, where the meals come without utensils. Kids will find it hilarious that Dad and Mom have to eat with their fingers. Yelling's encouraged here, so kids can be rowdy. The fast-moving show includes horses, riders, wagons, and even pig races! Go before the show and visit the horses and doves outside the Dixie Stampede.

Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede
1525 Highway 76
800.520.5544
Hours and ticket prices vary; please see website for details

If you think this is too much after a long day, hop aboard the Showboat Branson Belle. What's better than riding a huge paddleboat and giggling at talking dogs? Book the kid-friendly tours with Todd Oliver's dogs or Christopher James's magic.

Showboat Branson Belle
4800 Highway 165
800.775.BOAT
Hours and ticket prices vary; please see website for details

Just in Case
24/7 Nurse Advice Line (800.339.1212) or Skaggs Urgent Care/Walk-In Clinic at 545 Branson Landing Boulevard (417.348.8646).
If you are interested in contributing to AOL Travel, join our network of writers and check out travel assignments on Seed.com.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

Don't Miss

Fotosearch

Find the best resorts, wherever you are.

Hit The Slopes
Corbis

Tales of learning to expect the unexpected.

Change Your View
Getty Images

Unexpected encounters and wildlife tours.

Cows, Sharks, Monkeys & More

Travel Careers

amtrak train conductor

See the world and interact with people from different cultures.

flight attendant plane interior

It's as crazy as you think.