Prepare to be Amazed by Branson’s Natural Wonders and Out-of-This-World Entertainment
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We’ve all heard of the Las Vegas Strip and its loud, flashy and sometimes racy shows. An exciting experience, but maybe not ideal for everyone, especially families. Now I want you to picture the excitement, talent and entertainment of the Vegas strip, but far from the Nevada desert and without the more tawdry aspects.
With bright lights and pure talent, tucked away in the mountains of Missouri is a booming natural-wonder tourist attraction — the city of Branson. On the fast track to becoming the entertainment capital of the Midwest, Branson is a hotbed for mature musicians, skilled craftsman and talented stage performers, all vying for your attention.
Flying from Tallahassee, you’ll land in Springfield, Missouri. It’s about an hour’s drive from Branson, so make sure you find some good music to listen to for your ride into town. If you consider yourself a scenic-route lover, you will enjoy just about every ride you take on this trip.
The road curves, up and down through the limestone. Gigantic mountains hover beside you, almost as if you’re slicing right through them with every glide of the next turn. Pine trees replace skyscrapers, and every passerby is a golden ticket away from stardom.
From cozy bed-and-breakfasts to impressive mountainside log cabins, your stay in Branson is guaranteed to be comfortable. I lodged at The Village at Indian Point in a five-person cabin nestled amongst the pine trees on a small lake. A full kitchen and living room really made it a home away from home. A large outdoor balcony overlooking the mountain with chairs for relaxing and a fire pit was an incredible addition; however, the Jacuzzi was my personal favorite touch. The cabin was located about 30 minutes away from all the hustle and bustle of the Branson strip, so it was very much a relaxing retreat.
A Little History
Back in 1869, Henry T. Blow discovered a massive cave in Branson. Nearly 20 years later, another set of explorers entered the cave and thought it was filled with tons and tons of marble. After this initial discovery, people began to migrate to Branson to view this “marble cave,” and from all the activity emerged The Marble Cave Company. Unfortunately, the company would later discover there was no actual marble. No matter. People started to sojourn to the small town to experience the cave. Silver Dollar City purchased the cave another 50 years later and began offering guided tours for visitors, earning it a new name — Marvel Cave. This was the turning point of development and entertainment in Branson.
With more and more traffic coming through Branson, the city began to expand. The burg’s only attraction was the cave, and locals would stand aside its entrance to entertain the tourists in line. This was the birth of the entertainment industry in Branson.
On the Strip in Branson
Fast-forward to today: Route 76 is a booming entertainment cornucopia. Venues are packed next to each other, enormous show halls surrounded by all different types of exhibits, with flashing lights and marquee signs guiding you down the strip. There are 50-plus live shows and exhibits within a 5-mile radius. Route 76 is the new lifeline of fresh talent in the Midwest. It’s hard to believe all this is housed in such a small town, but here lies the mecca of Branson’s entertainment industry.
Within a 24-hour period, I was able to enjoy many different types of Branson entertainment. I started with a chilling exhibit of the Titanic with real artifacts, including actual life vests from survivors of the accident, and moved on to electric live-musical performances cast completely of family members. Another highlight was a duck boat tour through the Ozarks, a local area in Branson, and splashdown into the Ozarks River. The opportunities for fun and excitement are endless.