Friday, April 19, 2024

I Was Thinking... Going to Branson

On a five-day trip to Branson, Missouri recently, we were able to revisit fall. While in Minnesota, we’ve already had snow and freezing temperatures, southern Missouri was still in the midst of fall. Before we left, most of our trees had dropped their leaves and I’d taken four truckloads of leaves to the landfill. As we left Minnesota, traveled through Iowa, and entered Missouri, things looked much the same as home.

But when we reached mid-Missouri, we noticed that most of the trees still had their fall foliage, and the woods still exhibited a show of color. We also realized we were now nearing what we called “the south” because the McDonalds offered “sweet tea” as one of the beverage choices.

As we entered the Ozarks, we seemed to have gone back a month in time. The grass was still green, most of the trees still held their leaves, and we no longer needed to wear our jackets. Some leaves had begun to fall but many of the oaks with their brownish tinge and maples with their orange hues hung on to still create a canopy in much of the forested area.

We soon realized we had packed clothes suitable for a Minnesota fall, but too warm for southern Missouri. However, the low 80s were not common in November here either and a couple of temperature records were broken.

Branson is definitely not like other places. Nestled in the wooded hills of the rocky Ozarks, it is an anomaly. Surrounded by the natural settings of lakes, hills, and forests, Branson is 100% commercialized. The smell of cedars and the showy color of oaks, maples, and aspen are in sharp contrast to the neon, flashing signs, and light shows of the entertainment center of Branson. What started out as a showcase for Ozark and country western music, has morphed into crass commercialism.

The shows are what have drawn the crowds into Branson for years and the many top-notch performers offer choices for people of a variety of tastes. The Sights and Sounds Theatre puts on unbelievable elaborate shows of a religious nature with scenery and costumes that is out of this world.

For those seeking a country or Ozark theme, Clay Cooper, the Presley Mountain Music Jamboree, or the Grand Country Music Hall fit the bill. Family entertainment is available from the Duttons, the Hughes Brothers, or Dolly Parton’s Stampede. But if you want to revisit your youth, you can find groups performing the music of the Beach Boys, Elvis or other legends like Elton John, Reba McIntire, Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson, or Johnny Cash. And if all else fails there is still a Welk Theater.

But because people are coming, other entrepreneurs try to reach out and get their share of the tourist’s cash.

You can keep busy and spend your money in the Branson area and never see a show. You could go to an aquarium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, visit the Titanic Museum or a wax museum of Hollywood Stars. If you are more active, you could ride a zip line, go to an amusement park, race go carts, ride bumper boats, or play miniature golf. You could ride a jet boat, take a helicopter ride, or get aboard a scenic railroad or paddle-wheeler.

There are unique attractions like Ballparks of America, a Toy Museum, or the Butterfly Palace. In addition, there is a wide variety of eating establishments, and every business has an attached “gift shop” for that souvenir every visitor really needs to remember their trip.

Branson probably has something for everybody, but it also can be an overwhelming experience with thousands of choices of things to see, roads crowded with cars and tour buses, and everybody with a plan to get their share of your vacation money. Still, for four days, it was worth the long drive.


Did You Ever Wonder? — Why does Goofy stand erect and talks while Pluto remains on all fours and barks if they are both dogs?




Dodge County Independent

Dodge County Independent
Dodge County ADvantage
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

Monday-Thursday 10a.m.-3p.m.