Looking to stay stateside this year but you’re tired of the usual theme parks and beaches? Here are seven family-friendly attractions and destinations in Branson, Missouri.
Explore the great outdoors at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, where biking, fishing, horseback riding and Segway tours are just a few of the fun options for families. Parents and kids can also join a narrated, two-hour Wildlife Tram Tour in an open-air vehicle that stops at the 1800s-style Hope Wedding Chapel, Thunder Falls Crossing to feed the fish, and the blue-green Glory Hole, home to some of the area’s largest trout. The ride then crosses the Arkansas border to the Bison-Elk Country pasture to get an up-close-and-personal look at American bison, elk, whitetail deer and Texas Longhorn.
Spend an afternoon at Table Rock Lake for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as power and pontoon boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, parasailing and even scuba diving. Can’t get there this summer? The good news is the lake area is also beautiful in the fall.
Go high-adrenaline at Silver Dollar City, a theme park with a menu of rides appropriate to a range of kids’ ages. The way it works is families present themselves at the Official Measuring Station, where staff will advise on the best rides for your children and issue them a color-coded wristband for ride entry. Silver Dollar City also pays homage to its location in the Ozarks with festivals, food and crafts and live entertainment.
Celebrate the fall at Pumpkin Nights, an annual event getting a new look this year. Picture thousands of glowing pumpkins illuminating the park from the Town Square, along the Pumpkin Pathway all the way to The Grand Exposition and stop to greet two new characters, Peter and Penelope Pumpkin and watch master carver Barry Brow create intricately designed pumpkins. Families can tasted seasonal treats like pumpkin spice lattes and funnel cakes and even glow-in-the-dark drinks and enjoy more rides, open until 9 p.m. during the event. Pumpkin Nights run Sept. 25-Oct. 26, Wednesdays through Sundays.
Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at construction on the park’s newest attraction, which has generated a lot of speculation and buzz, even though no one yet knows what it will be about. All we know for sure is the attraction will debut in spring 2020.
Take flight at Fritz’s Outdoor Flying Adventure Aerodium, a giant wind tunnel that lets novices and experts alike do some reverse skydiving. Kids aged 4 and older are welcome, and there are no height restrictions — although expectant mothers should give this a miss.
Go for a spin on the brand-new Skyscraper, a windmill-style attraction that gives you the sensation of a pilot flying a fighter jet. Good for kids 52 inches or taller, the attraction comprises propeller arms that spin riders at up to 60 mph from an 80-foot-tall tower. At night the Skyscraper features LED light, adding to the ride’s wow factor.
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