By Jean Strauber,Travel Editor
One of the finest entertainment venues I have discovered is Branson Missouri. Those of you who have visited there know
that one can go to a show for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between. This year is no exception. Look at what is being offered in Branson during 2011.
• TABLE ROCK DAM AND POWER HOUSE. Now, visitors can take a guided walking tour to see what it takes to operate this massive structure, create hydro-electric power, and maintain the pristine water on Table Rock Lake.
• DOGWOOD CANYON NATURE PARK. Something new is the ATV (All-Terrain Vehicles) guided tour through the backwoods and fields of Dogwood Canyon. You can also experience Segway Tours, Guided Tram Tours, Trout Fishing, Horseback Riding, Walking and Biking.
• BRANSON VARIETY THEATRE is now offering Hooray for Hollywood, which showcases the most famous song and dance movements of the last 60 years of movie history.
• THE WELK RESORT offers two fine productions. First, Louise Mandrell and Lee Greenwood will team up to bring a high energy production to the Welk Resort from September 12 to October 22. Then, Tony Orlando’s Great American Christmas Show will entertain you with all of his career hits and warm our hearts with the true meaning of the season.
• ANDY WILLIAMS MOON RIVER THEATRE. Andy and the lovely and talented Ann-Margaret will perform for you from September 12 to October 22. Enjoy a delicious dinner at the nearby Williams’ Moon River Restaurant before the show.
• THE ICON THEATRE. Branson’s newest theatre is now featuring The Platters,
The Rat Pack-Live * Swing and will also be featuring great Rock N’ Roll star Chubby Check who will be appearing in November and December.
• GOD & COUNTRY THEATRES. This season you’ll hear the great hits of
Alabama and the Deep South. Among the hits you’ll hear will be “Song of the South,” “The Closer You Get”, “Love in the First Degree” and more.
•THE CARAVELLE THEATRE. The Osmonds-Up Close & Personal will host the Tinocos along with the Thomas Brothers for a new and exciting show this season at their new home, The Caravelle Theatre.
• JIM STAFFORD THEATRE. Comedian Todd Oliver & Friends which features amazing talking dogs will appear at the theatre in 2011.
• THE STARLITE THEATRE. A Christmas Snow Live, based on the inspirational film, is the highlighted production this season and will star Muse Watson, Catherine Mary Stewart and Cameron ten Napel.
• THE MANSION in 2011 will feature Tim Conway, Vickie Lawrence, Johnny Mathis, Charlie Daniels Band and Sawyer Brown. Also returning in November and December is Debby Boone and the Gatlin Brothers.
• THE MANSION. The Three Redneck Tenors will join the Liverpool Legends as well as Red-Tom Mullica’s Red Skelton Tribute at the theatre this fall.
• CLAY COOPER THEATRE. Cooper is celebrating his 25 years in Branson with these programs: Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, Buck Trent, Buckets N Boards and Marty Haggard Tribute to Merle Haggard. Exile will be performing June 16 and 17, “Jungle” Jack Hanna on June 19, Michael English on June 17.
• SILVER DOLLAR CITY. Silver Dollar City is a place that I keep returning to whenever I’m in Branson. They have an 1880’s style crafts village, attractions and rides (take the train which circles the entire park) and live entertainment featuring more than 40 shows daily. You’ll see craftsmen demonstrating their skills in pioneer crafts and enjoy seasonal cooking. Silver Dollar City is hosting these festivals:
Bluegrass and BBQ — May 12-30; Kids Fest from June 11-July 24, Moonlight Madness July 23-August 7, Southern Gospel Picnic August 25-September 5, National Harvest Festival September 10-October 29 and An Old Time Christmas from November 5-December 30.
The Branson Airport is now open and has arrangements with low cost airfares with Air Tran Airways, Branson AirExpress and Frontier Airlines. Ground transportation is offered by Enterprise, and Grayline Branson for shuttle, taxi, and limo services. Springfield Branson National Airport is located 50 miles from Branson and offers flights with American, Delta and Untied Airlines.
• For Shopping:
Branson Landing, located on the waterfront of Lake Taneycomo, features eclectic shops, unique dining options, and a 1.5 mile scenic, waterfront boardwalk.
Branson Craft Mall, a 16,000 square foot facility. Here you’ll find arts and crafts for sale seven days a week, year around. Craftsmen will demonstrate their skills with basket weaving, brass engraving, potato bags, decorated shirts and jackets, wood turning, etc.
Grand Village offers unique shopping in a quaint cobblestone setting. Try Mel’s Hard Luck Diner where all meals are served by aspiring artists.
Historic Downtown Branson.
Lots of privately owned shops with goods ranging from clothing boutiques to interesting antiques. But, the best of all is Dick’s 5 & 10 loaded with quite a vast assortment of merchandise and several unique collections.
Like I said there’s always something to do in Branson Besides the theatres you have the Branson Auto Museum, the Branson Landing Cruises, the College of the Ozarks, the Dinosaur Museum, The Hautned House and Monster Asylum.
The Ride the Ducks, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Titanic Museum, the Veteran’s Museum (honoring art and exhibits from all five wars fought in the 20th century and water and white water ride parks.
For more information go to www.bransoncvb.com.