It wasn’t on our travel “bucket list,” but after spending a week as a guest in my sister and brother-in-law’s time share Stormy Point condo, we developed a magnetic attraction to this beautiful area.
Getting to Branson, Missouri is simple and quick. From Des Moines, we took I35 to Kansas City where we overnighted with relatives in their remodeled Santa Fe Trail home. Next, a 3 and a half hour drive south on Interstate 71 and east on Highway 44 to Springfield. Then we drove the last leg on Highway 65.
The area’s tree-covered hilly scenery is spectacular. visiting in late October, we viewed the oak trees in full color. Our condo was nestled in a tree-topped valley and there were plenty of hiking trails in the nearby oak and pine woods.
Despite a glitzy main drag, the Branson strip offers some interesting options. We toured the Titanic museum which showcases the the passengers and crew of the ill-fated 1912 sinking of the deluxe ocean liner. The museum’s $25 entry fee was well worth it; we were given an atmosphere that explained the enormous loss of life in the tragedy. The museum is strong in replicas and interactive exhibits. We walked up the ship’s grand staircase and experienced the actual water temperature of the surrounding waters. The museum was generous with live guides who expertly explained the exhibits.
Numerous music theaters line Route 76 in Branson, each touting live musical performances. While not being big fans of country music, we wondered if we would find a show we’d like–and we did! “A Tribute to the Eagles” was a two-hour well-produced show that offered film clips of the original Eagles and showed excellent renditions by the reenactment Eagles group. And at the RFD TV Theater, there was an outstanding performance of Brule, a Native American song-and-dance extravaganza showcasing the Sioux. show producer, Paul Laroche, shared his personal story with the audience–a touching tribute to is parents–Lakota Sioux from the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. Laroche built a show that celebrates his Lakota culture with active dances and beautiful music, featuring his daughter on the steel flute and his son on the guitar. Laroche offers a powerful message of reconciliation to the audience.
There’s a whole lot more in Branson: rebuilt army Ducks to ride out on the lake for a narrated tour, interesting restaurants where customers dine aboard a cruise ship, and outdoor fun activities like zip-lining. Whether going to Branson for the shows, or for nature appreciation, or for the combination of both, you really should put it on your bucket list.