Things to Do in Branson (with Kids)

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  • Things to do in Branson, Missouri rain or shine for people of all ages from a frequent weekender.

    things to do in Branson with kids

    A couple weeks ago we spent a week at our lake cottage near Branson, Missouri. It occurred to me that while we frequent the area, I’ve never shared anything about it!

    Where is Branson Missouri?

    I grew up going to Branson, a kitschy getaway nestled within just 4 hours of Kansas City, St. Louis, and Tulsa. It’s lined with theaters, over-the-top attractions and restaurants. It’s like a family friendly Vegas – sans gambling.

    Things to Do in Branson:

    There are so many things to do in Branson, that we still haven’t seen and done them all, though I grew up frequenting the area. These are our favorite things to do in Branson with kids on a hot summer day, cold winter day or a rainy day. For any occasion, I hope you enjoy them, too!

    Fish Hatchery {free} – see the fish ladder and trout pens that raise 400,000 pounds of rainbow and brown trout each year!

    Tiger Sanctuary – tour and feed big cats or go behind the scenes to learn about their care. They rescue and release animals into wildlife as well.

    things to do in Branson MO animal park

    things to do in Branson Missouri with kids

    Wild Valley – we had no idea this little gem was hidden near our home until I saw an ostrich one day when parking at the gym I go to. I took the girls and they had a great time feeding camels, llamas, calves and more. Bonus for offering free 80’s video games to escape the heat. This is a new sister attraction to Branson’s Wild World.

    Toy Museum – we haven’t been, but you can see some of your childhood favorites and a million others!

    Dinosaur Museum – we haven’t been, but I can imagine this would make some little kids very happy.

    Bumper Cars – one of my favorite things to do as a child. I always looked forward to visiting one of the many bumper car, mini golf, go cart and bumper boat attractions in the area. There are several to choose from, but all fun!

    branson mo ferris wheel

    Ferris Wheel – of the many can’t miss attractions on Highway 76 lies the ferris wheel relocated from the Navy Pier in Chicago. I told you it was kitschy.

    Ripley’s Believe it or Not – the kids love visiting Ripley’s for it’s oddities and intriguing activities. Perfect for a cold or rainy day.

    Ride the Ducks – view Branson both by land and water by riding an amphibian. Warning, free duck quackers included. The kids will enjoy those along with memories of driving for years to come. (Updated August 1, 2018. This attraction is currently closed. Our thoughts are with the victim’s and their families from the horrible tragedy.)

    Branson Missouri wax museum

    things to do in Branson MO wax museum

    Hollywood Wax Museum – even if you don’t enter the museum, stop by for a photo op. There are several outdoors.

    Speaking of photo ops, if you’ve ever wanted to have your photo taken by a meatball, go to Pasghetti’s. To be honest, I don’t care for the food, but who can resist standing next to a giant fork?

    Dixie Stampede is one of the girls’ favorite things to do in Branson. Get your tickets in advance for this popular show. It includes dinner, if you like to eat with your hands.

    Visit the fountains at Branson Landing {free}. An hourly show of water, fire, light and music starts on the hour from noon to 10pm daily {9 on Sundays}. Find a spot in the plaza or grab a drink on the patio at Cantina Laredo to enjoy.

    While at Branson Landing, walk the waterfront of Lake Taneycomo to feed the fish or peruse Bass Pro.

    Acrobats of China – a truly amazing show filled with incredible stunts {and unfortunately really slow music}. The kids absolutely loved this show.

    Grape Juice Tasting {free} – okay, okay, this is a just a disguise of wine tasting for mom and dad. But after Dixie Stampede, you’ve earned it. The kids will love partaking in grape juice tasting while you enjoy a little wine. Stop by Curling Vine and take a little tour.

    Moonshine Beach {free} – kick back on a hot summer day and let the kids play in the sand and swim at the beach on Table Rock Lake.

    Dewey Short Visitor Center {free} – take a break on a cold or rainy day and enjoy the view and activities at the visitor center. Build a dam, read a book or enjoy one of the interactive activities while learning about the hydroelectric dam.

    Talking Rocks is a beautiful walking cave tour that utilizes light and sound to show off the curtain formations. Once outside of the cave kids can enjoy a fun play area complete with a playground, observation tower, maze, gemstone panning and more.

    branson mo cave

    cave in branson mo

    things to do in Branson, Missouri cave

    Marvel Cave – this National Landmark is really fascinating to see, however, it requires entry into Silver Dollar City. It was Branson’s first attraction bringing tourists from all over. Take a walk down and ride the tram back up for a unique experience.

    grandfather's mansion silver dollar city

    No visit to Branson is complete without spending time at Silver Dollar City. The clean, family friendly amusement park was built to provide activities while guests waited to enter Marvel Cave. Now it’s filled with rides the entire family can enjoy along with glass blowing, blacksmith, and woodcarving demonstrations to name a few. Don’t miss Grandfather’s Mansion. It’s always a favorite.

    I still want to the Runaway Coaster, but have heard nothing but rave reviews! Who can resist a coaster through the woods and area skyline?

    The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest – we have a Butterfly House in St. Louis, but the offerings of nectar to attract butterflies, magnifying glasses and binoculars makes this place unique. The kids love visiting. Bonus points for a mirror maze and mock rainforest for the kids to climb through.

    branson belle

    Take a daytime or dinner cruise around the lake on the Showboat.

    Dicks 5 & 10 – how does a store make my list? Well, it’s a favorite of kids and adults alike and fits right into kitschy Branson. Where else can you buy a unicorn head, old fashion candy, cast iron, pranks and granny panties under one roof? It has just about everything you could ever want – and everything you never thought you’d see.

    You only thought the Titanic was 12,600 below sea level. It’s actually located in Branson, Missouri. View artifacts, take photos on the replica stairway, touch an iceberg, shovel coal and so much more.

    One of my childhood favorites was WhiteWater – a local waterpark. I look forward to sharing it with the girls next summer!

    Feed the fish at State Park Marina. Step out over the water to see carp, blue gill, turtles, minnows and more. Eat on the water at Danna’s BBQ, enjoy a snow cone and the boutique while there. Food is just $1/bag.

    things to do in Branson with kids

    Rent a boat, kayak or paddle boat to enjoy life on the lake. There are several places to select from including State Park Marina, Indian Point Marina, and Big Cedar.

    things to do in Branson Missouri boating

    Take a swim cruise on a catamaran – the Spirit of America takes daily cruises with inflatable swim toys like a trampoline and obstacle course. Cool off and enjoy Table Rock Lake…our home sweet second home!

    top of the rock

    Partake in the sunset ceremony at Top of the Rock – gather on the patio at the Buffalo Bar or on the lawn near the chapel to listen to bagpipes play while a real canon fires off to celebrate another sunset.

    branson mo helicopter ride

    One of my favorite childhood memories was taking a helicopter ride overlooking Branson and Table Rock Lake, which you can still do today! There’s no better way to see the kitschy fun of the Branson strip and beauty of the Ozarks.

    As you can see, there are so many things to do in Branson MO, many of them free! If you have any questions or need additional guidance, please let me know, I’m happy to help!

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