an Ozark Mountain Christmas
For several years now my wife has begged me to go to Branson, Missouri. I’m such a lover of the beach that I couldn’t fathom taking a vacation and not getting sand between my toes, the smell of coconut oil, or a sunburn on my bald head. Oddly enough, Instagram has changed all that. When she suggested we go for Thanksgiving this year, I saw a great opportunity for picture taking and finally consented.
Branson is a decent seven hour road trip for us so we chose to drive. We packed the car up Thanksgiving morning and hit the road around 8:30. After checking into our hotel we had Thanksgiving dinner at a great buffet on the strip where I ate entirely too much food. But isn’t that what you’re supposed to do on Thanksgiving? A word to the wise here. If you have a bit more time to plan, I would strongly suggest reservations at the restaurants for Thanksgiving Day as most places had very long lines. I mean like getting in line at 9:30 AM for first come, first served seating because reservations were completely booked.
After dinner was over, we headed to Silver Dollar City, a theme park fashioned after the early settlers in the 1800’s. Starting in November, the park is transformed into a holiday paradise of 5 million plus lights. This is a sight to see for sure. For the price of admission, we saw “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.” Each of the shows were an hour long and very well done. We went back for a second showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Twice each evening, is Rudolph's Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade with musical lighted floats covered in 200,000 lights accompanied by 33 costumed characters. Definitely an Instagram moment.
Branson is ranked one of the best vacation destinations in the U.S. I would probably still choose the beach during the summer but that’s just me. The holidays are a great time to visit Branson in my opinion. It’s considered the Live Music Show Capital of the World so there’s never a shortage of things to do or see. If you plan your trip early enough, be sure to shop around for discounted tickets on the attractions and shows. If you buy a two day pass to Silver Dollar City, you can visit the evening prior to your first two days. It actually works out to be like 2.5 days. And trust me, you will want to be able to go back to the park and enjoy the lights while you’re there.
Part of the reason we wanted to go to Branson in 2016 was to see the show “Moses” put on by Sight and Sound Theatres. This is an epic tale of Moses from The Bible that includes the parting of the Red Sea and the burning bush. The don’t allow photography or I would have taken a pic for you. Each year is a different show and not to be missed. It’s definitely top quality.
When you arrive in Branson, you will immediately take notice of the traffic. You may as well pad your time to get any place important as you are going to sit in traffic almost any time of day. Don’t be frustrated by it, just know it’s part of the experience and plan for it.
If you have difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit after visiting Branson, you truly are a relative to the Grinch. So head to Missouri and enjoy an Ozark Mountain Christmas!