Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Travel Tuesday: New Year's Eve in Branson
Francis and I did Branson NYE two years ago and had a blast. Of course, we got obscenely lucky in that it was 64 degrees on December 31, 2011, but hey! It's Missouri! If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes, amiright? That was a gorgeous day at Waltzing Waters, which is a musical fountain spectacular, and one of Branson's longest running shows. The rest of the photos are from that trip (see all of them at Scenes From Branson's 76 Country Blvd.)
We haven't decided on our NYE plans yet, but were I to go back to Branson this year, here are a few things I would put on my list. Being as it's a mid-week holiday this year, I'd probably opt for an extra long weekend, especially since Silver Dollar City is only open until December 30. Silver Dollar City is my favorite place after Disney World, so I can't go to Branson without stopping there. This time of year is Old Time Christmas, which was recently named one of Good Morning America's Top 5 Places to Light Up the Holidays. The whole park is covered in lights and there are holiday shows and a parade every night the park is open (check the calendar for dates/times in December). Don't forget to check out Marvel Cave while you are there!
Nearby is the Shepherd of Hills Trail of Lights, which is the literal definition of awesome. We've been to a couple drive-through light displays in St Louis this year and nothing can hold a candle to the Shepherd of the Hills display. After you drive through, be sure to check out the view from Inspiration Tower. The Shepherd of the Hills is one of my favorite books of all time, and at the top of the tower you can see the various landmarks detailed in the book.
One place I have not visited myself but intend to do so on the next trip is the Veterans Memorial Museum. I am delighted to hear that they were able to reopen, after closing briefly back in August. Branson loves its veterans and military reunions, so a permanent closure would have been a very sad loss for the community. Of particular note is the world's largest war memorial bronze sculpture, featuring 50 life size statues storming a beach, each modeled after a combat soldier from each of the 50 states. It is over 70 feet long and weighs 15 tons! The museum is open from 9am-7pm through the end of December (except Christmas Eve, when they close early, and Christmas Day they are not open).
Unfortunately, Shoji Tabuchi's show closes down early in December, so you'll have to pick another nighttime show. For New Year's Eve, my personal pick would be the Kirby VanBurch Magical New Year's Eve show, which starts at 9 pm and includes dinner, non-alcoholic champagne, party favors, and a balloon drop.
There is so much to do in Branson, from the Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, to shows like Legends in Concert (remember that from Six Flags back in the day?) and the New Shanghai Circus, to activities like the indoor water parks at several resorts and miniature golf and go carts up and down the strip. You can easily fill a long weekend with the activities and shows on Explore Branson's Christmas & New Year's Eve schedule..What we did for NYE in 2011 was an early show (I'll spare them the non-recommendation) and then we went back to our condo on Table Rock Lake and had some drinks while watching televised festivities. At midnight we watched fireworks out on the Lake from our balcony, which I do recommend. If you'd like some tips for lakefront accommodations, free free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!