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The family friendly Branson, Missouri is an entertainment mecca for all ages. Whether you like animals, thrill rides, every chain restaurant under the sun, live music or virtual reality, something here will float your boat. Oh yes, you can also go on a boat – to fish, see a show, or paddle a kayak.
If you are on a budget, check out the free things to do in Branson.
Branson Attractions for Young Children
Branson Aquarium at the Boardwalk
The immersive Branson Aquarium has a jellyfish room, colorful coral reefs and tubes with fish swimming overhead and alongside you. You walk through a kelp forest and can get close to marine animals at the touch tank.
Branson Ferris Wheel
The Branson Ferris Wheel, relocated from Chicago’s Navy Pier, has no age limits but does require at least one adult for every two children under 12 years of age. Gondolas hold up to six people. The continuous motion Ferris Wheel goes slowly enough to easily step on and off.
Read More: Best Branson Resorts for Families
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Branson Dinosaur Museum
The Branson Dinosaur Museum features 45 life-size dinosaurs. You can touch an actual dinosaur bone, go on a scavenger hunt, and watch a short film about dinosaurs.
Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure
Attract lots of butterflies at the exotic butterfly aviary by wearing bright colors. With admission, you get a free nectar flower to feed the flying specimens.
The complex, called the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure includes the Living Rainforest Science Center, the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze and the Banyan Tree Adventure. Kids can see live reptiles and amphibians and even pet a reptile. The walk-through mazes are a great way to experience different environments.
Promised Land Zoo
The Promised Land Zoo has a new Drive Thru Safari, included with basic admission. You can see and feed animal from your car. In Parakeet Paradise, hundreds of birds fly freely. Feed them with your free parakeet stick. Exhibits include owls, nocturnal animals, ruffed lemurs and reptiles.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Upgrade your ticket to a VIP+ Experience so your kids can touch and feed several of the animals during the guided tour.
World’s Largest Toy Museum
There are over a million toys on display at the World’s Largest Toy Museum. These include 19th century tin toys, trains, Barbies and Disney toys. Interactive elements at the toy museum
Teenager-Approved Things to Do in Branson
White Water at Silver Dollar City
The seasonal water park, White Water, has huge drop slides, mat racing and tube rides and a wave pool. There is also a lazy river.
Showboat Branson Belle
The Showboat Branson Belle combines a variety show with a meal. During a two and a half hour cruise on Table Rock Lake, we had a meal, interspersed with live music, comedy and magic.
SheBuysTravelTip: Captain’s Club tickets include early boarding, prime seating in the balcony, and upgraded menu.
Titanic Museum Attraction
The Titanic museum honors the 135 children who were on board the ill-fated ship. The museum is full of artifacts salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic, along with informative displays and exhibits.
Sight & Sound Theater
Sight & Sound Theater brings Bible stories to life. The current production, Queen Esther, is from the Old Testament. It has an immersive set and both animals and actors roam the aisles.
Fun for All Ages in Branson
If you travel to Branson with children ranging from toddlers to teenagers, these places cater to multiple ages.
Silver Dollar City
The G-rated 1880s Silver Dollar City theme park has rollercoasters for thrill seekers, kiddie rides for young kids and a giant water raft ride where the whole family can get soaked. There are more than 40 rides. And there are shows, like a variety show in the saloon (where no alcohol is served. Silver Dollar City is an alcohol-free theme park).
The train ride incorporates a ride AND a show. Halfway through a trip on a steam train, we encountered ‘train robbers’ who had an amusing shtick.
There are also craftspeople working throughout the park, from woodcarvers to glassblowers. You can also watch bread bakers at work – and buy the finish products of everything made on site.
If you aren’t claustrophobic, head to Marvel Cave. This is how Silver Dollar City got its start. I don’t do well in confined spaces, but my friends who went raved about it. They were also terrified. The cave is 60 stories deep.
Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park
Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park features Copperhead Mountain Coaster, a zip line, and Inspiration Tower at Inspiration Point. The scenic spot, the highest point in Southwest Missouri, is a great place to catch a sunset.
Branson Scenic Railway
The Branson Scenic Railway is a great way to spend a relaxing couple of hours. You will begin at the depot near Branson Landing.
Hollywood Wax Museum
Th Hollywood Wax Museum encourages visitors to take selfies with movie and pop stars. Mt. Hollywood includes sculpted faces of old time stars John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis Presley
Next door, the Castle of Chaos is a 5D ride, Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors sends you on an adventure through a maze and you can play Shoot for the Stars mini-golf.
The gravity–fed Branson Coaster has sleds for one or two. You control your speed on this alpine coaster. Passengers must be at least 38 inches tall and accompanied by someone 16 years old or older; no letting our preteen take our kid while you watch.
There is also a new ride, The Branson Buzzsaw. The 123-foot high swing guarantees dizzying rides.
This adventure park has the world’s only indoor/outdoor TreeTops course, with 45 obstacles,17 ziplines, eight suspension bridges, and a crow’s nest with great view for miles. There is also a multi-story ropes course, laser maze and climbing wall.
Track Family Fun Parks
The Track Family Fun Parks has 12 different go-kart tracks including a kiddie course and a 4 story race track. There is also laser tag, batting cages, bumper boats/cars, mini golf, and arcade games.
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
- Outdoor activities such as biking and hiking at Table Rock State Park and Lake Taneycomo
- Exploring 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
- Bigfoot Fun Park on Highway 76
- Kayaking the white water rivers and streams
- Wonderworks (with the upside down building) has unique interactive experiences
- Delving into history at the Veterans Memorial Museum
- Shopping and strolling the car-free Branson Landing
Where to Stay in Branson
Accommodation options in Branson range from resorts to standard hotel rooms to cabins, condos, B & Bs, and vacation homes. I stayed in the Branson Hilton Convention Center which had amenities for all: seasonal outdoor pool, indoor pool and hot tub, gym with a Peloton, and free coffee at the restaurant in the morning (even if you weren’t eating there).
The bar had a surprising selection of artisan spirits, and 4 kinds of Hendricks gin! With blue cheese olives! Gotta love that.