Branson’s Best Things to Do: Live Music, Shopping & Spas

Judy Antell Avatar

The writer was hosted.

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.

Branson Attractions for Young Children

You feel like you are underwater at the Brandon Aquarium. Photo credit: Judy Antell

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

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.

Child with butterfly - the Butterfly Palace is one of branson things to do
Kids love watching the butterflies. Photo credit: Explore Branson

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.

branson things to do - Promised Land Zoo (girl with parakeets)
Parakeets at the Promised Land Zoo. Photo credit: Explore Branson

Promised Land Zoo

The Promised Land Zoo has a new Drive Thru Safari, included with basic admission. You can see and feed animals 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. 

The view from our Captain’s Club seats. Photo credit: Judy Antell

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. 

TMOMTip: Captain’s Club tickets include early boarding, prime seating in the balcony, and upgraded menu. 

branson things to do - Titanic Museum (teens in front of museum)
Teen grandkids outside the Titanic Museum. Photo credit: Connie Pearson

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.

Incredibly detailed set at Sight & Sound Theater. Photo credit: Judy Antell

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.

Train robbers at the Sliver Dollar City theme park – all part of the family-friendly fun. Photo credit: Judy Antell

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.

Marvel Cave is a historic landmark. Credit: Judy Antell

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.

Inspiration Tower at Inspiration Point. Photo credit: Judy Antell

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.

Old and new: the Branson Scenic Railway Depot, next to the Hilton Convention Center Hotel. Photo credit: Judy Antell

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.

branson things to do - Hollywood Wax Museum (child with Clint Eastwood's wax figure)
Hanging out with Clint Eastwood’s wax figure. Photo credit: Explore Branson

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.

branson things to do - Branson Coaster (women laughing on roller coaster)
Fun on a sled at Branson Coaster. Photo credit: Explore Branson

Branson Coaster

The gravityfed 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.

branson things to do - Fritz's Adventure (boy about to climb)
About to climb at Fritz’s Adventure. Photo credit: Explore Branson

Fritz’s Adventure

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 views 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.

Judy Antell Avatar
Judy Antell is an empty-nester mother of 3 who spends a lot of time visiting her daughters. Why don’t they live in Brooklyn? Judy and her husband love to travel, by bike, car, or plane, whether to see their kids or have friend or couple adventures, mostly centered around vegetarian food.
Read full bio